Monday, November 23, 2020

Be a Bridge Builder

‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” – John 8:11

You probably don’t know this, but I love a good poem. And one of my favorites is a very inspiring one: “The Bridge Builder,” by Will Allen Dromgoole. It tells the story of an old man who came to a vast chasm while traveling on foot on a cold, gray evening. To cross it, he had to wade through a “sullen tide.” Although “the sullen stream had no fear for him,” once the old man had safely reached the other side, he turned around and built a bridge back the way he had come.

A fellow traveler asked the old man: Why, when his journey was nearly over, would he build a bridge he would never need to use? The old man explained that on his journey, he had seen a “fair-haired youth” who would be traveling the same way after him. The chasm that had been no problem for the old man, he said, might be a pitfall to the young man who would follow. The old man concluded: “He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

There are two types of people in this world: those who build bridges and those who burn them. Which type are you? There’s no doubt that Jesus Christ was a bridge builder. One clear example of this can be found in John 8, when some Pharisees bring a woman to Jesus who was caught committing adultery. They said to Jesus, “‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’” (vs. 3-5). As usual, the Pharisees were trying to trip him up. But as usual, Jesus was way ahead. His simple way of dismissing these charges was to doodle on the ground for a few moments before standing up and saying, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7).

That got rid of the crowd quickly. But that’s when Jesus’ ministry to the woman really began. He stood and asked her, “‘Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’“ (vs. 10-11).

You’ve probably heard it said that God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. This account in John 8 illustrates this truth beautifully. Jesus built a bridge of mercy and compassion to this woman who didn’t deserve it. Why? Because he loved her. She was one of his most precious creations, and he didn’t’ want to see her die in her sin without God and without hope.

But in that love, Jesus didn’t ignore her sin. He didn’t overlook her adultery. He told her, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” With those words, Jesus demonstrated the perfect balance between compassion and speaking the hard truth. Usually you and I focus on one or the other. Sometimes we’re very compassionate to those who have messed up royally, but we don’t correct them. We don’t point them to the truth about their sin, so they end up doing the same stupid thing over and over. And at other times we’re quite good at spewing truth all over someone who’s goofed up, but we do it with very little compassion. The truth hurts by itself; we don’t need to beat people over the head with it.

Remember what the Apostle John writes about Jesus in John 1:17: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” In John 8, Jesus shows us the perfect balance between grace and truth, between mercy and justice. He speaks the truth in love—building a bridge of grace and truth to a broken woman who was lost and dying in her sin. And Jesus has called you and me as his followers to do the same.

When’s the last time you reached out to someone who felt they didn’t have a friend in the world and you showed them the compassion and love of Christ? Jesus was a bridge builder. He came to build bridges to sinners and save them. He built bridges to fishermen, lepers, prostitutes and tax collectors; he built bridges to those who were sick, hurting and hopeless. And, thank God, he built bridges to you and to me. So, if you and I are serious about following him, we need to put down our matches and lighter fluid and start building bridges instead of burning them.

As I shared in last week’s column, 2020 has been a pop quiz given to us by God to prepare us for tougher tests up ahead. And honestly, many Christians haven’t been doing very well on this quiz, especially in regard to building bridges to people who desperately need God. Many Christians have very strong opinions about COVID, and at times this year we’ve burnt bridges with friends and family who believe differently. And if you haven’t noticed this in the past few months, many Christians have some VERY strong opinions about politics. At times this year we’ve carried out a scorched-earth policy on friends and family who hold different political views.

It’s easy to forget that the clock is ticking. We don’t have much time to reach those around us who are lost and dying without Jesus Christ. Two weeks ago I did a funeral for a 19-year old man who found himself in a very dark place and took his own life. Last week I assisted with a funeral for a young woman whose life ended tragically on her 24th birthday. Friends, life is so short. We don’t have time to burn bridges with those who need to hear the good news of Christ’s hope, peace and healing. Let’s finish 2020 strong—building bridges for people who need both grace and truth.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Has 2020 Been a Pop Quiz?

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” – Hebrews 10:25

Last week I heard some bad news: During this COVID pandemic, thousands of churches around our country have closed their doors … for good. As millions of Christians have stopped attending church, many churches lost the majority of their attenders and saw their offerings plummet by more than 50%. And they couldn’t sustain their ministries. According to the Barna Research Group, 1 in 5 churches is at risk of closing within the next 18 months. That number breaks my heart. But THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE IN CHRIST. If you doubt me, just see what God has for us in Daniel 3.

In Babylon around 600 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone in his kingdom to bow down and worship a huge gold statue he had erected. Disobedience came with a hefty penalty: “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (v.6). But three of the king’s servants who worshipped the Lord—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—stood firm in their faith. When the king’s herald commanded everyone to bow down before the statue, they stood tall in the crowd.

King Nebuchadnezzar told them furiously, “If you do not worship [this statue], you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace” (v. 15). But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego responded with one of the most courageous statements of faith in the whole Bible: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  

The king ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual. And when soldiers dropped Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego into the furnace, the soldiers were killed by the intense heat and flames. But from a safe distance, Nebuchadnezzar peeked through the stoke-hole in the side of the furnace and saw four men walking around in the fire, and the fourth one looked like “a son of the gods.” (I think that it was Jesus. But at the very least, it was an angel sent by Jesus.) The king opened the furnace doors, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out, unharmed, and Nebuchadnezzar praised the one true God.

The fiery furnace was a huge test of faith for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But it’s important to see that it wasn’t their first test. God had prepared them by giving them smaller tests of faith—pop quizzes—along the way. First, they were torn from their comfortable homes in Jerusalem. Then, against their will, they were hauled 800 miles across the desert to Babylon. And when a court official ordered them to eat forbidden foods, it was yet another important test of faith that God used to prepare them for the final exam in chapter 3. As we know, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego passed all of their tests with flying colors.

But what about you and I? Without a doubt, 2020 has been a very strange and difficult year. And our faith as Christians has been tested. But has this year been a pop quiz of your faith and obedience, or has it been your final exam? I believe that for most of us, this year has been merely a pop quiz. In all likelihood, it hasn’t been your FINAL test of faith. God has been preparing you for something bigger, something more challenging, something more difficult than you would have been prepared for had you not endured this glorious year of 2020.

Remember that with every passing day, we draw closer to the Great Tribulation—that seven-year period when our world will experience the greatest turmoil since the days of Noah. I don’t say this to depress you. I say this so that you can be prepared to stand firm in your faith when the harder times of testing come. So, let me ask you: How are your faith and obedience holding up during this pop quiz? And more importantly, how will your faith and obedience hold up during the tougher tests that come down the road?

The truth is that COVID-19 is child’s play compared to what’s coming. So, if we can’t figure out how to open businesses, schools and churches during THIS pandemic, we’re going to be toast when a worse pandemic comes our way. I believe that our lockdown approach to COVID is unsustainable. At some point the government is going to have to say, “Despite the risk of COVID rates increasing, we HAVE to get our communities back to work, to school and to church, because the consequences of NOT doing so are much greater than the consequences of COVID.” As millions of Christians around our country have stopped attending church, and as thousands of churches are closing their doors, I ask you to make sure that your church isn’t one of them.

Online services are good, and for those who can’t physically make it to a live service, or those at high risk, they are the best option. But online church is NOT the best option for most of us. Most of us need to be in weekly fellowship with other Christians—serving and being served. If you’re physically able to be at church and you choose not to come, I feel led to tell you: Doing what you’re doing long-term is unsustainable. You cannot consistently grow in your faith while in isolation. You need the church, and the church needs you. I hope and pray that you and I will come back to church and lead many, many others to join us. Let’s ace this pop quiz together, so we’ll be ready for tougher tests that are coming down the road.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Pray For Your City

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” - Jeremiah 29:7 

About a month ago, my family and I adopted a sweet little Welsh Corgi puppy named Finley. In this turbulent year, he’s been a breath of fresh air. For many of us, 2020 has been one of the hardest years of our lives. And honestly, some of us have been freaking out. But Finley doesn’t have a care in the world. Finley’s not worried about COVID. He’s not worried about paying the bills or keeping food on the table. And he won’t be any more stressed out on November 3rd than he’ll be on November 2nd. He doesn’t CARE who wins the Presidential election. He’s oblivious to all of it. At times I’ve found myself thinking, “It would be kind of nice to be Finley.”

Wouldn’t it be great to be oblivious to all of the problems and stressors in our world today? Of course it would. But you know what? God has something even better planned for you and me: Peace and prosperity without needing to be oblivious.

In Jeremiah 29, the people of Judah had been exiled to Babylon where, basically, they were prisoners of war. It was the hardest thing they’d ever endured, they felt as if God had abandoned them. But through Jeremiah, God gave His people a fresh perspective on their captivity. They felt their situation was hopeless, because they had taken their eyes off of God and were instead focusing on their problems. All they could think about was how to get out of Dodge as quickly as possible.

But God wanted His people to understand that they were in Babylon because He had PUT them there. And He had put them there for a reason, a reason that was going to take a number of years to carry out .... 70 years, to be exact. So, God tells them in verses 5-6 to “build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too my have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.” While 70 years in Babylon must have sounded like a downer, it was actually a message of true hope, because it was part of God’s master plan. And God’s plan is always the BEST plan for us.

In verse 7, God urges His people to get on board with His plan: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” It would have been natural for the exiles to feel bitterness and unforgiveness toward the Babylonians, because those are all parts of our old sinful nature. But the Jewish exiles were God’s people, and as such it was high time for them to stop living according to the flesh and start living according to the spirit. And the same goes for you and me.

When we have the Spirit of Jesus Christ living inside us, there is no room in our lives for bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness. There is no room for blaming everyone else for our problems. Instead of criticizing and blaming those who have made our lives difficult, God calls us to pray for their peace and prosperity. Some of us are harboring bitterness and resentment toward family members who have treated us like crud. Others of us are harboring bitterness and resentment toward political leaders who make decisions that we passionately disagree with. But let me ask you: Are you praying for them?

If you aren’t praying for them, why not? And if you’re praying for them to be arrested, or to get sick and die, that doesn’t count. Those are terrible prayers! God says, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

You may not be crazy about the city you live in, whether it’s Victorville, Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia or Phelan. But it’s where God put you, so you need to pray for it. If our hometown prospers…we too will prosper. Like many, I’m not too jazzed with California's Governor, Gavin Newsom, right now. I think he should declare all churches as “essential” and let churches in the High Desert get back inside their buildings. But regardless of how frustrated I am with him right now, that doesn’t change God’s command to me to pray for him and to seek his peace and prosperity. Because if Gov. Newsom and California prosper … we too will prosper.

Who ends up in office is important. But how Christians RESPOND to who ends up in office is even MORE important. It is both in our best interest and in God’s best interest that we seek the peace and prosperity of our city, our state, our nation, and the leaders who lead them. If America and its leaders prosper, we too will prosper. So this Tuesday, when new city council members and state and federal leaders are elected, there will be some new leaders you’re not crazy about. Who cares? Whether you like them or not is irrelevant. It doesn’t change God’s command to you to PRAY FOR THEM and seek the peace and prosperity of our city, our state, and our nation. Because if they prosper, you and I will also prosper.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, October 23, 2020

What a Wonderful World

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”  - Isaiah 11:6

In 1968 our nation was in the midst of the Vietnam War, and two men—Bob Thiele and George David Weiss—wrote a song that was recorded by the great jazz musician Louis Armstrong. You’ve all heard it sung many times. The song was “What a Wonderful World.”

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. 

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?” 
They’re really saying, “I love you.”
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself…what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself…what a wonderful world.

The world Louis Armstrong imagined was, without a doubt, a wonderful world. But Jesus’ world will be…EVEN…BETTER.

I don’t know about you, but after the past six months of COVID, social unrest and constant political squabbling, I’m ready for a better world. Sometimes it seems impossible. But the Bible tells us a day is coming that will be like Christmas, our birthday and the 4th of July all rolled into one. Jesus Christ will touch down on planet earth once again, and this time he will set up his throne here on earth for 1,000 years. Under his leadership, we will finally experience perfect righteousness, justice and peace. I can hardly wait for this wonderful new world!

We can read about it in the Book of Isaiah, written by the great prophet who lived about 700 years before Christ was born. Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh is salvation.” That’s the perfect name for him, because many of his prophecies highlight the salvation that Jesus Christ will bring to Israel. Like most prophetic books, the Book of Isaiah speaks of judgment. But Isaiah’s prophecies don’t just talk about judgment. Like most prophetic books, they also speak of blessing.

Some of the most encouraging prophecies in the Book of Isaiah are those that deal with Jesus’ second coming—when he will set up his earthly kingdom and reign for 1,000 years. Isaiah 11:6-10 describes what Jesus’ earthly kingdom will look like: “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (vs. 6).

Finally … perfect peace here on earth. No more pandemic lockdowns. No more religious persecution. No more ruthless dictators. No more constant bickering between Republicans and Democrats. No more abortion, sexual perversion, poverty or racism. We won’t need to lock our doors, because nobody will steal our stuff. During that thousand-year reign of Christ, it won’t quite be heaven. There will be a certain amount of temptation, difficulty and pain. There will be death. But without a doubt, it will be BY FAR the best this world has ever been since the Garden of Eden.

At long last, our government will be perfectly right and perfectly just. And all creation, which for several thousand years has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, will let out a sigh of relief and rejoice with us as we—for the first time since the Garden of Eden—experience true rest and peace on earth. I can hardly wait!

But remember, the same Lord who will one day bring peace to this world is living inside of you. He wants to speak through you and work through you to bring peace to our broken world—today. People around us need to be at peace with God and with others. And we can bring them peace—because we carry with us the Prince of Peace.

Until that day, here are some things you and I can do: #1: Although Jesus isn’t yet king of this world, make sure that he is king of your heart. #2: The righteousness and justice that you long for in our world should be lived out in your home. #3: Since Jesus’ kingdom is a kingdom of peace, you as Christ’s follower must be a peacemaker.

Passages like Isaiah 11:1-10 leave us thinking, “What a wonderful world it will be!” But because Jesus lives inside us, every single day of our lives, we have the ability to bring much of that wonderful world into this broken world. So, let Jesus Christ work through you to make the lives of those around you a little more right, a little more just, and a little bit more at peace. Jesus is with you, so go and make this world a little more wonderful!

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service tomorrow at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Monday, October 19, 2020

How Would Jesus Vote? (Part 2)

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” – Psalm 89:14

Since Jesus isn’t running for office, when it comes to voting, followers of Christ have to do the next best thing: determine the heart of Christ on the issues, and prayerfully determine which political candidate, party, and propositions are most in sync with his heart.

Above all, remember this: As Christians we are called to lead people to Christ—not to an elephant or a donkey. However you decide to vote, don’t allow your politics to sabotage your witness to unbelievers or your fellowship with believers. Our loyalty must be to Christ, not to a political party.

In Psalm 89:14a, the psalmist summarizes God’s perfect government this way: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” When God rules, He always does what is right. And He always does what is just. Looking at the two party platforms, Republicans tend to identify with Christ’s heart for righteousness: for example, the sanctity of human life and the importance of marriage and family. Democrats tend to identify with Christ’s heart for justice: for example, the goals of ending poverty and achieving racial justice and equality. Both parties have some admirable goals. But now, let’s look at two areas where each party is Biblically wrong.

Democratic Policy Position #1: Promoting abortion. The Democratic party platform makes it clear that the party wants to expand access to and funding for abortions. They use the terms “reproductive health” and “reproductive justice,” even though 99% of abortions have nothing to do with the mother’s health and 100% of abortions are “unjust” to the innocent child. And statistics show that more African-American lives are lost to abortion each year in the U.S. than every other single cause of death combined. Make no mistake about it: Abortion is evil, and the face that the Democratic party supports it is inexcusable.

Democratic Policy Position #2: Promoting LGBTQ+. Throughout the Democratic party platform, you will see the term “LGBTQ+” used over and over again. The Bible is very clear in Genesis 1 and 2 that there are two genders, male and female. These chapters make it equally clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, and sex is to take place only between a husband and his wife. But over the past few years, the Democratic party has been obsessed with normalizing, promoting and celebrating sexual perversion. And that grieves the heart of Christ.

The great sin of the Democratic party is calling evil “good” and good “evil.” On the other hand, I believe the great sin of the Republican party is HYPOCRISY. James 4:17 describes that sin very well: “Therefore, anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Here are two examples:

Republican Policy Position #1: Speaking out against abortion but not being fully pro-life. Being pro-life isn’t just about speaking out against abortion. It means reaching out to and mentoring young women BEFORE they get pregnant, compassionately providing them with necessary supplies and health care AFTER they become pregnant, and helping women PROVIDE for their children once the child is born. Yelling “Abortion is murder!” is easy. But we must be willing to put our time and money where our mouth is. Many churches do this very well, but the Republican party … not so much.

Republican Policy Position #2: Speaking up for traditional marriage and two-parent families, but doing very little to support them. The Republican party platform states: “Every child deserves a married mom and dad, and our laws and government regulations should actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society.” The party correctly identifies the breakdown of the American family as the #1 cause of poverty, drug abuse, crime and teenage pregnancy. But it’s not enough to IDENTIFY the problem. Leadership is about implementing solutions to FIX the problem. And too often, the Republican Party has talked the talk without walking the walk.

Regardless of whether you are a registered Republican, Democrat or Independent, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, he has called you to take a stand for righteousness and justice in your political party. Even if you are outnumbered, speak up for the issues that matter most to your Lord, and pray for God to raise up leaders who honor Him.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service tomorrow at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.


Monday, October 12, 2020

How Would Jesus Vote? (Part 1)

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” 
– Psalm 89:14

Two ladies met at church one day. We’ll call them Mary and Mabel. They struck up a great conversation after the church service and talked about getting together for coffee later that week. But as they made their way to the parking lot, each of them got the shock of her life.

Mabel was beside herself when she looked at the back of Mary’s car and saw a bumper sticker that said “Biden-Harris”. Mabel thought, “How on earth could this sweet Christian lady be a Democrat?” Meanwhile, Mary glanced at the back of Mabel’s car and almost blew her top when she noticed a Trump sticker. She shook her head in disgust and thought, “How could ANY Christian support Donald Trump?”

This scene repeats itself in some form or another every week across America. And there’s a reason for it. If you didn’t know it already, let me be the first to tell you: Jesus isn’t running for President. Neither is Moses, King David or the Apostle Paul. Instead, we have two flawed men running for president, and each one has certain strengths and certain weaknesses.

If Jesus was a registered voter in the United States today, I’m convinced that he wouldn’t be a registered Republican. I’m also convinced that he wouldn’t be a registered Democrat. You see, Jesus was NEVER one to join political parties. In 1st Century Israel there were political and religious parties: The zealots, the Herodians, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. Which one did Jesus join? None of them! Jesus represents only one governing body—the kingdom of heaven.

Since Jesus isn’t running for office, when it comes to voting, followers of Christ have to do the next best thing. 1) Determine the heart of Christ on the issues, because Jesus DOES care about many issues that our government leaders deal with on a daily basis. 2) Prayerfully determine which political candidate, party, and propositions are most in sync with the heart of Christ. Now, let’s see how both the Republican and Democratic party platforms measure up to some issues that matter most to our Lord.  

In Psalm 89:14a, the psalmist summarizes God’s perfect government this way: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne.” When God rules, He always does what is right. And He always does what is just. So, any leader who is going to please the heart of God must also do what is right and just. When it comes to choosing our political leaders, every Christian should ask: “Will this candidate do what is RIGHT in God’s eyes?” And, “Will this candidate do what is JUST in God’s eyes?”

If you, like Mary and Mabel, have ever wondered how committed Christians could vote differently than you, consider this: Christians who vote Republican tend to identify with Christ’s heart for righteousness, while Christians who vote Democrat tend to identify with Christ’s heart for justice. If you keep this in mind, it will help you better understand your Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the aisle instead of judging them.

Here are two policy positions in the Republican party platform that are Biblically RIGHT:

Policy Position #1: The sanctity of human life. The Republican party platform states, “the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.” The party supports state and federal efforts “against the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.” On the other side of the life cycle, the Republican Party also stands strongly against all forms of euthanasia including physician-assisted suicide.  

Policy Position #2: Marriage and family. The Republican party supports traditional marriage. Their platform says, “Every child deserves a married mom and dad, and our laws and government regulations should actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society.” Although the Republican Party has largely caved to public pressure to accept gay marriage, their party platform supports biblical marriage between one man and one woman.

On the other side of the coin, here are two policy positions in the Democratic party platform that are Biblically JUST:

Policy Position #1: Ending poverty. The 2020 Democratic platform states: “Democrats remain committed to ending poverty and enabling all Americans to live up to their God-given potential.… Directing more federal investment to the communities most in need will help create jobs; improve and expand housing; modernize and expand transportation, clean water, wastewater, energy, and broadband infrastructure; and promote shared prosperity.” This is, without a doubt, a Christ-honoring, just goal.

Policy Position #2: Achieving racial justice and equity. The Bible is very clear that God does not show favoritism, and neither should his followers. So, there is no place for racism in the church OR in America. The Democratic Party is absolutely just in standing strong against racism in America. Now, personally I think that some of the Democrat’s policies for eliminating racism are not biblical at all. But the fact still remains: The basic policy position is biblically just.

As the election approaches, remember: As Christians we are called to lead people to Christ, not to an elephant or a donkey. Don’t allow your politics to sabotage your witness to unbelievers or your fellowship with believers. Our loyalty must be to Christ. So, do some research, and vote in line with the heart of Christ. Let’s do our best to vote for right and just leaders, and to pray for righteousness and justice in the hearts of those who are elected.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service tomorrow at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Power of Prayer

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16

Back in the 1950s and ’60s, Dr. Helen Roseveare served as a missionary to The Congo, Africa. She told this true story. "A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So, we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister.

“One of the girls responded. 'Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely.' That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so boldly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, 'If God sent that, I'm sure He also sent a doll!' And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child's sincere requests, and five months earlier He had led a ladies' group to include both of those specific articles.

Our God hears and answers prayer. As the Book of James tells us in chapter 5, “Is anyone among you in trouble? He should pray” (v. 13). From the very beginning of his message to Christians, James made it clear that much of our spiritual growth comes through trials. In the first chapter, he wrote: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Now, as he closes his letter, James once again shines the spotlight on our trials.

James doesn’t tell us what kinds of trials and hardships he has in mind. It really doesn’t matter, because this principle applies to all troubles and all hardships that Christians face. Regardless of what trouble comes our way, we need to pray. If your marriage is falling apart, you need to pray. If your kids are driving your crazy, you need to pray. If your boss or coworkers are acting like jerks, you need to pray. If your bills are due and you have no money, you REALLY need to pray. If your doctor says he doesn’t like the results of your blood work, you need to pray. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, when you are in trouble—no matter what kind of trouble you are in—you should pray.

Now, you may have heard that God answers our prayers in one of three ways: He answers with a “Yes,” a “No” or a “Wait.” But when does God give us each of these three answers? Pastor Pastor Bill Hybels answers that question this way: If the request is wrong, God says, "No." If the timing is wrong, God says, "Slow." If you are wrong, God says, "Grow." But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, "Go!"

At the end of verse 16, we read these life-changing words: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” It goes without saying that this verse doesn’t just apply to men. After all, most of us have known God-fearing women whose prayers were powerful and effective. James points to Elijah in verses 17-18 as an example of a godly man whose prayers were powerful and effective. He prayed that it wouldn’t rain in Northern Israel, and it didn’t rain. Three and a half years later, he prayed for rain, and guess what happened? Surprise, surprise! It started raining again.

Can prayer be just as powerful and effective today? Your answer to that question will largely determine whether or not your own prayers will be powerful and effective. We’re told in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. That being the case, without faith it is impossible for your prayers to be powerful and effective. But with faith…the prayers of a righteous man or woman, or teenager or child, are powerful and effective.

James ends his message to Christians with this final thought in verses 19-20: “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” When we lead a backsliding Christian back to Christ, it could literally save their life here on earth. And when we lead a nonChristian to Christ, it will literally save their life in eternity.

The greatest mission ever given to men by God was our mission to lead lost and dying sinners to Christ. But James reminds us that it’s not just about winning the lost. God also calls us to win the saved. There are millions of backsliding Christians out there who need to return to Christ. If you’re one of them, I urge you to return to Christ with your whole heart. Or, if you have a backsliding Christian in your life, God is calling you to urge him or her to return to Christ with their whole heart.

It’s been over six months since the start of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. So, don’t you agree that—one way or another—it’s time to get back to church? This Sunday at Impact Christian Church, we’re celebrating Back to Church Sunday. So, it’s the perfect time for you and your family and friends to return to the house of the Lord. Join us for our Live Outdoor Service at 9 a.m., or for our Online Service at 10 a.m. If my prayer for you is “powerful and effective,” I’ll see you at church Sunday.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service this week, on Back to Church Sunday, at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.