Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas at the Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life

“They saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him…. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” 
– Matthew 2:11-12

Our church family’s favorite Christmas movie of all time is the original Christmas classic: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The movie tells the story of a dreamer named George Bailey who feels cooped up in his sleepy little town of Bedford Falls. George manages a small Building and Loan company founded by his father. But since childhood, George has dreamed of shaking the dust of his crummy little town off his feet and seeing the world! George Bailey wants to do big things with his life. And he does…but not in the way he expects.

Some of the best stories and movies have a hero and a villain. In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is the hero, and Mr. Potter—the most powerful man in town—is the villain. In Matthew 2, after Jesus Christ has been born, there are several heroes and a villain. The heroes of the story are the magi. And the villain is King Herod.

We don’t know much about the magi who visited Jesus, but we do know they were experts in astronomy and astrology. And around the time of Jesus’ birth, these magi noticed a new star they had never seen. Somehow, the magi concluded that the star had been placed in the sky to announce the birth of the King of the Jews, so they formed a caravan and traveled over 1,000 miles to see and worship the newborn King of the Jews.

Historians tell us that the Roman government gave Herod the title “King of the Jews,” and he wore that title proudly. These historians also tell us that Herod was an extremely jealous, paranoid ruler who murdered anyone who he suspected of trying to steal the throne--even his own family members. It’s safe to say that Herod was a psychopath. He must have become insanely jealous when the magi strolled into town asking where the newborn King of the Jews was. “A new king?” Herod must have thought. “I’M THE ONLY KING OF THE JEWS!!”

Herod set out to destroy the child he believed was after his throne. And in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Mr. Potter tries repeatedly to defeat George Bailey—the young upstart who, with his crummy little Building and Loan, defies Potter’s efforts to control the town. One of the saddest moments in “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes when George goes to visit Mr. Potter and asks him for an $8,000 loan. George’s Uncle Billy had misplaced $8,000 in cash, and the bank examiner is bearing down on the Building and Loan for an accurate account of their finances. What neither George nor his uncle realize is that Mr. Potter found the missing $8,000 and kept it for himself. Mr. Potter knew who the money belonged to, but he stole it so that George Bailey would be arrested and out of his hair once and for all.

George is at the lowest point of his life. Facing jail—but with a $15,000 life insurance policy in-hand—Mr. Potter’s taunting words keep running through his mind: “You’re worth more dead than alive.” So, after getting drunk at Martini’s Bar, George walks to a bridge and prepares to jump into the river and end his life. But he’s rescued by an angel named Clarence, who jumps into the river first and yells for help. Clarence knows that George will jump in to save him. And when George saves Clarence, Clarence can save George.

Afterward, God lets Clarence show George what life in Bedford Falls would be like if he’d never been born. And it’s ugly. George’s friends and neighbors live in Potter’s slums. The downtown area is riddled with crime. George’s brother is dead. His kids don’t exist. And his beloved wife Mary is an old spinster. Jail or no jail. George ends up begging Clarence to give him his life back. And next time you watch the movie, notice something: George is given his life back ... but only AFTER he stops crying out to Clarence for help and starts crying out to God.

When it comes down to it, George Bailey isn’t the greatest hero of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Clarence is more of a hero that George. Clarence saves George’s life so that George can save others’ lives. But there’s even a greater hero than Clarence: God Himself, who sent Clarence in the first place. And in the same way, the magi aren’t the greatest heroes in Matthew 2. God placed the star in the sky and set their course for Bethlehem. And God shone heaven’s spotlight on heaven and earth’s greatest hero: Jesus Christ—born to save the world. 

So many Christians gripe about Victorville without considering the “wonderful life” that God has given us in our own “crummy little town.” God does some of His greatest work through his followers who live in “crummy little towns.” George Bailey thought that Bedford Falls was a crummy little town. Many in Israel thought that Bethlehem and Nazareth were crummy little towns. And I bet that some of you think that Victorville is a crummy little town. Well, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But regardless, I believe that God can and will do some of His greatest work right here in the Victor Valley. Some of you, like George Bailey, can’t wait to get out of the desert. Well, might I suggest that God could have other plans for you. Don’t underestimate God’s ability to work through you to do some amazing things right here in your “crummy little town.” God has you here for a reason. And His plans for you here might be much, much better than your own plans for you somewhere else.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for church every Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas at the Movies: Elf

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all thing things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” – Luke 2:20

This month, our church has been going to “Christmas at the Movies”–taking a look at some of the most-loved Christmas films of all time, based on a vote from our attenders. Our second-place vote-getter tells the story of a baby boy named Buddy who is raised at the North Pole by one of Santa’s elves. That movie, of course, is “Elf.”

Buddy the Elf didn’t really fit in. He was twice as tall as all the other elves, so the chairs he sat in were too small, the doorways and ceilings were too short, and when it came to making toys … he was A LOT slower than the other elves. Now, Santa’s elves liked Buddy. They thought he was a nice guy. But at the same time, they thought he was a lousy elf. He was a round peg in a square hole. Have you ever felt like Buddy–like you didn’t belong?” Well, you’re not alone.

Take a look at Luke 2:8: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” But everyone else was in town, registering for the big census. What’s up with that? Well, at the time Jesus was born, shepherds had become outcasts in Jewish society. Because they worked with dirty sheep, they were considered ceremonially unclean, and they were banned from entering any Jewish synagogue. They could not testify in a court of law, because the ruling class thought that they were liars who weren’t trustworthy. They were basically considered to be less than human, so why count them in the census?

Jewish society looked at the shepherds and decided that they just didn’t measure up. In a similar way, the North Pole elves looked at Buddy and decided that he didn’t measure up. And, honestly, many of us have had our families, friends, teachers bosses look us over and decide WE don’t measure up either.

Finally, at the age of 30, Buddy learns the truth: He’s a human in an elf world. He decides to leave and search for acceptance somewhere else. So, he sets out on a bold adventure to New York City to find his biological dad. Buddy dreams of being accepted with open arms. He envisions days filled with sipping hot cocoa, eating spaghetti with syrup, ice skating and snuggling with his dad. But when he gets to New York City and find his father’s office in the Empire State Building, Dad has him thrown out of the building. Poor Buddy! He doesn’t fit in at the North Pole, and he doesn’t seem to fit in with his dad either.

But instead of sulking, Buddy takes the security guards up on their snarky suggestion and walks across the street to Gimbel’s department store. He finds the toy department—labeled “The North Pole”—and that’s where Buddy the Elf really stands out. Surrounded by bored, grumpy store employees who have absolutely NO Christmas spirit, Buddy’s childlike enthusiasm and joy are off the charts. But when their fake Santa arrives the next day, Buddy confronts him … and ends up getting assaulted and slapped with a restraining order.
Do you know who the workers at Gimbel’s remind me of? They remind me of some Christians on a Sunday morning. The manager, the fake Santa and all the other elves weren’t really excited about Christmas. They were just going through the motions to get their paycheck. But for Buddy, Santa’s visit was personal. And in a worship service, far too often, we aren’t really excited about Jesus, are we? We may go through the motions with very little enthusiasm for singing to our awesome God, for communion, prayer or studying God’s word. Imagine if we were as excited for Jesus as Buddy the Elf is for Santa. Let me encourage you, church, to be a little bit more like Buddy as you worship and serve Jesus Christ.

In Luke 2:8, the Bethlehem shepherds were a few miles outside of town watching their smelly, dirty sheep. It was a normal night. Until suddenly “an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.” And the angel made those shepherds the first messengers of the ultimate good news: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (v. 11). Then hundreds of angels filled the night sky and sang praises to God. The angels announced “good news of great joy,” and the shepherds embraced that “good news” and that “great joy” and they ran with it.

They couldn’t believe it! They were nobodies in society. But evidently, God thought they were somebodies. No matter what people thought of the shepherds, they mattered to God. And so do you! What matters most is not whether or not people think you matter, but whether or not God thinks you matter. And here’s some good news: God thinks you matter.

Why did God choose to announce Jesus’ birth to shepherds? Why didn’t he choose priests or rabbis? Why didn’t he choose some other prominent citizens? I believe God chose shepherds, in part, because He knew they wouldn’t just get the message right—they would get the enthusiasm and joy right. Verse 20 tells us, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all thing things they had heard and seen.”

Let’s take a lesson from the shepherds, from Buddy the Elf and from our own kids. Let’s get excited about Christmas! God has brought us good news of great joy. Are you going to celebrate and share that good news with enthusiasm? God has chosen to bring this good news of great joy to YOU! Don’t squander it. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with enthusiasm and joy!

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for church every Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas at the Movies: The Polar Express

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”  – Luke 1:45

The Polar Express is a classic children’s book that was made into a 2004 movie starring Tom Hanks. You’ve probably seen it. If you have, you’ll recall that it tells about a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. It’s well past bedtime on Christmas Eve, and as he lies in bed, he longs to hear the sound of reindeers’ sleigh bells, which would prove to him that Santa is real. But the boy doubts that he’ll ever hear that sound. Although he really wants to believe, the honest truth is … his belief in Santa is hanging by a thread.

Of course, we know what happens next. The young boy climbs on board The Polar Express, where he and about 10 other children drink hot cocoa and embark on a thrilling, rollercoaster-like ride down a steep canyon and across a frozen lake. Eventually, they make it to the North Pole none the worse for wear. And throughout their long journey north, this young boy continues to wrestle with his doubts. He hopes that his midnight train ride will lead to a rekindled belief in Santa Claus. But he fears that it’s all just a dream.

I wonder if Mary had a similar reaction when the angel Gabriel appeared to her in Luke 1. Did she pinch herself to see if she was dreaming? Did she rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things? I don’t know. But I do know that she was shocked, scared and confused. Yet despite all that, she listened intently to every word as the angel told her: “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (vs. 30-33).

Mary responded to this astonishing news in verse 34 by asking only one simple question: “How will this be since I am a virgin?” Compare that to her cousin Zechariah’s reaction when Gabriel appeared to him a few months earlier. Gabriel told Zechariah that his barren and now elderly wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son named John (who would grow up to be John the Baptist). Like Mary, Zechariah responded with a question: “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years” (v. 18). At first glance, Zechariah’s question seems very similar to Mary’s. But there’s a BIG difference. Zechariah asked, “How CAN this be?” Mary asked, “How WILL this be?” Zechariah responded with UNBELIEF. Mary responded with BELIEF.

On The Polar Express, our main character continues his journey of faith. The young boy comes face-to-face with his own unbelief when he meets a mysterious hobo who has some doubts of his own. The hobo tells him, “Seeing is believing.” Is that true? For many people, the answer to this question is a resounding “Yes.” Their belief is limited to what they can see with their eyes, what they can hear with their ears, and what they can touch with their fingertips. In other words, if they can’t personally experience it with their five senses, they don’t believe it.

But then, about 15 minutes or so after the hobo scene, the little boy is talking with the conductor. In just a few words, the conductor offers him what I believe is the greatest nugget of wisdom in the entire movie: “Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we CAN’T see.”

And he’s right. We can’t see God the Father. We can’t see Jesus Christ. We can’t see the Holy Spirit. We can’t see heaven. We can’t hear eternal life. We can’t taste forgiveness. We can’t touch love, grace or forgiveness. But we know that they are even more real than the clothes on our backs. They are more real than the car you drive, more real than the chair you’re sitting in, more real than the screen you’re reading this on. For many people in this life, seeing is believing. But if you have chosen to follow Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have chosen the path of faith. And on the path of faith, NOT seeing is believing. As Jesus said to Thomas after showing his doubting disciple the proof of his resurrection, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

When the Polar Express reaches the North Pole, the kids are surrounded by thousands of tiny elves. But the little boy still struggles to believe. He realizes that he needs to come to a point of belief, not after he sees Santa with his own two eyes, but before. As he stands in the village square, one of the reindeer’s sleigh bells is flung into the air and lands just a few feet from him. That is the moment he has to decide once and for all whether or not to believe in the one he cannot see. He picks the bell up and shakes it. Eyes shut tight, he whispers, “Okay … I believe. I believe!” And in that moment of faith, when he shakes the bell, its beautiful sound chimes out.

Zechariah responded to God’s word with unbelief. He was a “Seeing is believing” kind of Christian. Mary responded to God’s word with belief. She was a “walk by faith and not by sight” kind of Christian. Which kind of Christian are you? You’ve asked God to forgive your sins. Do you believe He has? Jesus said he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do you believe His words? Jesus said he’s going to heaven to prepare a place for each of his followers, including you if you truly follow him. Do you believe him?

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth proclaimed in Luke 1:45: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” So too will you be blessed as you believe the word of the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I believe! I believe!

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our holiday message series, “Christmas at the Movies,” Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas at the Movies: Home Alone

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” – Isaiah 53:6

For the Christmas season this year, our church is having some fun by taking a look at a few favorite holiday movies. Our attenders voted on their favorite Christmas films, and my job is to find a lesson from God’s word that applies to each of them. First up, we highlighted the movie that tied for third place in our congregation’s vote. Released in 1990, for 28 years it held the record as the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time. The movie? “Home Alone.”

The film tells the story of the 8-year-old troublemaker Kevin McCallister, who is accidentally left home alone while the rest of his family flies to Paris for Christmas vacation. At the beginning of this movie, let’s just say it: Kevin is a spoiled brat. He starts out by complaining, “Why do I always get treated like scum?” Through his actions, he answers his own question pretty fast. He calls his mom a “dummy.” Then he tells her, “I don’t want to see you again for the rest of my whole life.” And then he tells his whole family, “I hope I never see any of you jerks again.”

In short, Kevin is behaving like a little jerk, lashing out in anger, disrespecting his parents and rebelling against their authority. And do you know who Kevin reminds me of? He reminds me of you and me. Isaiah 53:6 comes to mind: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Eight-year old Kevin, like you and me, is a little sheep that went astray; like you and me, he’s turned to his own way. In the movie, Kevin’s mom is the unappreciated dumping ground for his bad behavior. In real life, Jesus Christ is the unappreciated dumping ground for ours. 

Eventually young Kevin is banished to the attic, thinking to himself, “I wish they would all just disappear.” Then overnight, a storm rolls in and the power goes out, causing everyone’s alarm clocks to stop working. The next morning Kevin’s family flies out the door to catch their plane while Kevin sleeps like a baby in the attic. Later Kevin wakes up, casually walks downstairs, and is surprised to discover the whole house is empty. He decides his wish caused some kind of Christmas miracle, and he gloats: “I made my family disappear!”

Kevin wastes no time jumping on his parents’ bed while shoving popcorn in his mouth. He runs around the house like a crazy man. He eats whatever he wants. He watches whatever “rubbish” he wants to on TV. To Kevin, being home alone is a dream come true! He feels so free!

Let me ask: Why do you and I sin? Why do we rebel against God’s laws and ignore His commands? Because it’s fun, right? Don’t deny it: Sin can be a LOT of fun. When you’re in the moment, getting drunk can be fun. Gossiping can be fun. Having premarital sex or an affair can be fun. But the fun of sin is short-lived, isn’t it? As Paul writes in Romans, 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.” In other words, sin might be fun in the moment, but it’ll end up killing you.

For the first 24 hours or so that Kevin is home alone, he has a blast. He can say anything he wants. He can do anything he wants. But after the first day, it starts to get old … especially when he finds himself in the crosshairs of two burglars who wanted to loot his house while his parents are gone. Kevin thought life with his family was just horrible. But within about 48 hours he discovers the truth: Life WITHOUT his family was what was truly horrible.

Can’t we say the same about life without Jesus? Life without Jesus ends up being really horrible. Sin seems fun for a while, but it never really satisfies us for any length of time. Only Jesus satisfies. He alone is the living water who quenches our spiritual thirst. He alone is the bread of life who answers our soul’s hunger for meaning and purpose. Only Jesus satisfies.

By Christmas Eve, Kevin is feeling pretty empty. Being home alone isn’t working out the way he imagined. And as he walks home in the dark, he passes a church and goes inside. I’m not sure we can say that Kevin has a “religious experience,” but this short church visit becomes a defining moment in Kevin’s life. As he leaves the chapel, he’s determined to stand up to the burglars and fight for his home. And even though he never says so, his wish has changed. Instead of wishing his family would disappear, he wishes they’d come back—especially the mom he dumped on just a few days earlier. And about 12 hours later (with two crooks severely beaten up and on their way to jail), Kevin’s wish comes true.

By the time his family comes home, Kevin has come to his senses. He realizes that he unfairly dumped on his mom. Deep down he loves her. He needs her. And Christmas without her is empty. I hope and pray that you’ve come to the same conclusion about your family. At times, you’ve taken your parents, your spouse or your kids for granted, and you’ve unfairly dumped on them. But deep down you realize you love them; that Christmas without your family is empty.

And Christmas without Jesus Christ is even more empty. We’ve taken Jesus for granted and dumped on him far too often. But the truth is: I need Jesus Christ in my Christmas celebration. You need Jesus Christ in your Christmas celebration. In fact, not only is Christmas empty without him—LIFE is empty without him. So, open your heart’s door and invite him back home this Christmas season. In the long-run, it’s no fun being home alone without Jesus at Christmas.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our holiday message series, “Christmas at the Movies,” Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Rewards—and Sacrifice—of Faith

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” - Hebrews 11:39

One Sunday morning a little girl went to church, and her Sunday School teacher had a little craft for all of her students to do. Each of the kids made a little plaque with the words, “Have Faith in God.” Well, the little girl took it home, and she was so proud of it, she decided that she was going to put it in her backpack and take it to school to show her friends.

The next morning she woke up late, got dressed in a hurry, and managed to board the school bus just in time. But when she found her seat and looked inside her backpack, her plaque wasn’t there. The bus driver had already started down the street. In a panic, she jumped out of her seat, ran up front to the bus driver and shouted: “STOP THE BUS! I lost my Faith in God!”

In Hebrews 11, the Bible talks about many heroes who found great faith in God. In verses 33-35a, the writer illustrates a powerful point: The obedient faith of these Old Testament faith heroes brought them great rewards. Through faith, they conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised to them. Through faith they shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of the fiery furnace and escaped the sword. Through faith their weakness was turned to strength, they became powerful in battle and defeated foreign enemies, and women even received back their dead.

Then, partway through verse 35, God’s word makes a shift from the rewards of faith to the sacrifices of faith. Although many men and women of faith experienced miraculous healings and deliverance during their lifetimes, many others suffered and died. According to verses 35-38, some of the faith heroes of the Old Testament were tortured or faced criticism and flogging, while others were chained and put in prison. Some were stoned to death with rocks. Others were sawed in two. Some faith heroes were impaled with swords. Others were dirt poor and had to dress in sheepskins and goatskins. Many wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground.

All this to say: Walking in faith has never been a walk in the park. True Bible faith does bring certain rewards, but it also brings certain suffering. Write this down and don’t forget it: Living out your faith in God will always cost you something. As Jesus warned his disciples in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus doesn’t say that as we live out our faith on this alien planet, we “might” have trouble. He says, you and I WILL have trouble. There’s a really good chance that the world will hate us, because it hates him. There’s a really good chance that the world will persecute us and make us suffer in one way or another.

But take a look at the second half of verse 35: “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.” And in verses 39-40, we’re told: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” I love the way The Living Bible translates this verse: “For God wanted them to wait and share the even better rewards that were prepared for us.”

Think about this: When you walk in faith, you are never doing it alone. You are walking in faith with Christians in your church and throughout the Victor Valley and around the world. And since true faith never dies, you are also walking with all of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. When heaven is finished being built and Jesus takes us all to our permanent home, he will take us all together. And we will enjoy the greatest rewards in eternity for our faith.

In this world you and I WILL experience insults and trials and persecution for our faith. But on the front end of our faith journey we will also experience some amazing, undeserved rewards: grace, mercy, forgiveness, a relationship with God, and purpose in life. And the back end of our faith journey will be even more amazing! We’ll receive eternal life in heaven with heavenly rewards that are so much more generous than we deserve for enduring some temporary criticism and hardships here on earth. Isn’t that great?

You could say our lives of faith are like a “reward sandwich,” with just a little bit of suffering in between the buns to keep things interesting. Yes, living out your faith in God will cost you something, but when we consider the rich rewards that come by faith, there’s no doubt: NOT living out your faith in God will cost you even more.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our latest message series, “Christmas at the Movies,” Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Embrace Your True Identity

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharoah’s daughter.” - Hebrews 11:24

Last Monday I took my family to see a movie I’d been wanting to see for a while: “Harriet.” The film tells the life story of Harriet Tubman, the most famous leader of the underground railroad in the years leading up to the Civil War. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in rural Maryland in the 1820s. By the age of 25, she made up her mind to escape slavery by fleeing to Pennsylvania. Her brothers were too scared to run away with her. So, with God’s help she did the impossible. Even though she was just five feet tall and had never traveled more than a few miles from her home, in 1849 she ran, walked and crawled her way to Pennsylvania… 100 miles away.

Harriet felt like she was in heaven. As she crossed the Pennsylvania state line, she said that the sun looked like gold coming through the trees. But once she was free, she was still restless. She said she felt like “a stranger in a strange land.” Her parents, her brothers, and friends were still slaves in Maryland. So, with very little support, she took the dangerous journey back to Maryland to rescue her family. Between 1850 and 1860, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland 13 times & helped around 70 African Americans escape slavery—including four of her brothers, her parents and a niece. And during the Civil War she led a battalion of soldiers that secured the freedom of an additional 750 men, women and children.

Harriet Tubman was, without a doubt, an American hero. And as the film depicts so well: She was a strong believer and follower of Jesus Christ. She had a very deep faith in God, and she trusted Him to guide her steps and give her the courage to obediently do what He called her to do. And God never let her down.

One of the heroes of our faith who inspired Harriet Tubman to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom was Moses, who led his own people out of slavery. But first he had to undergo three milestones of faith, which are outlined in Hebrews 11.

Faith Milestone #1: By faith, Moses REFUSED to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  For the first 40 years of his life, Moses had it made in the shade. He was adopted by the princess of Egypt. He was raised in the palace and lived the life of king. But as we read in verse 24, Moses in faith accepted the truth—that his true identity was that of a God-worshiping Hebrew slave, not as a Pharaoh-worshiping prince of Egypt. So, at the age of 40, Moses said, “Enough!” He refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Faith Milestone #2: By faith, Moses endured REJECTION by the people of Egypt. When Moses refused to be known as the prince of Egypt, it didn’t go over so well. He “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (vs. 25). Moses chose to identify with God’s people, the Jews, who Moses knew would one day give birth to the Christ.

Faith Milestone #3: Moses received the REWARD of faith. As a reward for his obedience to God, Moses’ firstborn son wasn’t killed on the night of the Passover. And as a reward for his faithful obedience to God, Moses and his people were delivered through the Red Sea. And we know also that as a reward for his faithful obedience to God, Moses received a great reward in heaven.

Like Moses, Harriet Tubman didn’t allow the sinful culture around her to define who she was. For the first 25 years of her life, Harriet was told over and over again that she was someone’s property, just like a “pig.” And she was called the “n” word on a daily basis. She was told these things thousands of times, but she refused to believe it. She refused to accept it. She knew that she was a precious child of God, and she believed in her heart—like Moses—that God created her and her people to be free.

Let’s take our lesson from these two heroes of the faith. When the world around them tried to force them into its mold, they refused to be conformed to the pattern of this world. When the sinful culture around them tried to tell them what their identity was, they rejected that culture’s labels. Their identity was in Christ. And ours should be as well.

So, if Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, you are not who the world says you are. Forget about society’s labels. You are not a “white, heterosexual male” or a “black, Democratic female” or a “Hispanic, divorced Baby Boomer.” If Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, your identity is not grounded in the temporary, shallow things of earth. Your true identity is found in Christ. You are a child of God; you are a follower of Jesus Christ. And you are a loved member of a forever family. So, if someone asks, tell them: That’s who you are!

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Strangers on Earth

“All these people … did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” - Hebrews 11:13

Last year the movie “I Can Only Imagine” took Hollywood by storm. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. The film is closely based on the life story of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band Mercy Me, and how he came to write the double platinum song “I Can Only Imagine,” the most popular Christian single of all time.

During Bart’s childhood, his dad, Arthur, was, in Bart’s words, “a monster.” Bart’s dad had a nasty habit of losing his temper over the smallest things, and when he flew into a rage, Bart was his punching bag. During Bart’s childhood, Arthur beat him over and over and over again. But when Bart was a high school freshman, Arthur was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Around that same time, he gave his life to Jesus Christ, and Arthur was absolutely transformed by the power of Christ.

Bart’s dad died on my 18th birthday: November 11, 1991. Seven years later as Bart was thinking about his dad—completely healed and forgiven in heaven—it only took him about 10 minutes to write the words to this amazing song. As Bart Millard wrote those lyrics, he was doing what the word of God says every man and woman of faith should do: Fix our thoughts on heaven.

Hebrews 11 tells us about several great men and women of faith. We read that they did not consider this world to be their home: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” (vs. 13). Or, as the Living Bible translation puts it, “they agreed that this earth was not their real home but that they were just strangers visiting down here.” That’s such a great way to put it!

I’d like to share with you three powerful insights from this verse about true faith:

Faith Insight #1: True faith keeps living even as our bodies are dying. Except for Enoch, who was taken straight to heaven without dying, every faith hero was still “living” by faith when he or she died. In other words, true Bible faith is unfazed by death. You see, your faith is something that involves your physical body but is not tied to your physical body. It resides deep in your soul and spirit. And since your soul and spirit never die, neither does your faith. If you are a man or woman of faith, when your body dies, your faith will live on.

Faith Insight #2: True faith sees and welcomes God’s fulfilled promises even when those promises haven’t been seen or fulfilled yet. God promised Abraham and his family the land of Canaan, but Abraham died before his family took possession of it. God promised Moses that he would lead his people to the promised land, but Moses never got to live in that land himself. As the world looks at these men, it might say that their faith was in vain. What they believed would come to pass didn’t come to pass until after they were dead, so it seems like a waste. If the world only knew how foolish that reasoning is! Faith in God is NEVER in vain! Faith in God is NEVER a waste! If you only live for what you yourself can see and experience, when your body dies, your impact on this world will also die. But if you live by faith, your influence and impact in this world will carry on long after your body is in the grave.

Faith Insight #3: True faith admits that we are strangers and temporary residents on Earth. Our true home is in heaven. My favorite part of Hebrews 11:13 is the final part: “And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, did you know that you’re an alien here on earth? You might not have green skin, gigantic eyes or an antenna, but you are an alien. This is NOT your home planet, is it? Heaven is. If you are a faith-walking believer and follower of Jesus Christ, here on earth you are a temporary resident, and you are really, really strange. You don’t think like the world. You don’t talk like the world. You don’t act like the world. Your priorities are different. The way you handle tragedy AND success is different. They way you handle death is different. There’s no doubt about it. If you are a man or woman of faith, you’re a space cadet here on earth!

If you’re a true follower of Christ, frankly, you’d be much happier back in your homeland. But you and I must wait—because God still has work for us to do until He calls us home. He has us here on earth—at this time and in this place—for a reason. There is so much work for us to do. There are so many lost people who need to be found so they can go to heaven too. There are so many hurting people who need to be touched by the mercy and compassion of Christ working through you and me. We dare not stop working until God calls us home! If our lives were just about you and me, we should have gone home to heaven yesterday. But since our lives are about loving and serving others, we must continue loving and serving them in faith.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, November 11, 2019

When God’s Tests Don’t Make Sense

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.”  - Hebrews 11:17

Last week I came across a story about a college student who was taking a class in ornithology, the study of birds. The teacher had a reputation for being extremely difficult, so this guy spent weeks studying for the final exam. The day of the test arrived, and he went to class feeling prepared. But instead of having a normal test, there were 25 pictures on the wall of birds' feet. And the exam boiled down to this: Identify all 25 birds by their feet.

Well, this young man was ticked! He walked up to the professor and said, "This is crazy. Nobody could pass this test." The teacher responded, "Nevertheless, you have to take it." The student said, "I'm not going to take it." The teacher responded, "You have to take it, or you fail the course." The kid said, "Go ahead and fail me. I'm not going to take this test." The teacher says, "All right. That's it. You've failed. Tell me your name." The kid kicked off his shoes, hiked up his pant legs to show his feet and said, "You tell me."

Have you ever been given a test that you didn’t think was fair? For some of us it was the algebra test that required us to know formulas that weren’t discussed in class. For others it was the DMV written test that asked questions that weren’t in the review book. For some married couples it was the pregnancy test that didn’t come back the way that you wanted it to. And let’s be honest: Sometimes God’s tests aren’t fair either.

In Genesis 12, God commanded Abraham to go to an unknown destination, leaving his country, his people and his family (Genesis 12:1). In chapter 22, he raised the ante quite a bit when he said: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 12:2). Once again, God gave Abraham one very difficult command to obey in faith. And once again, Abraham had to walk in faith without knowing exactly where he was going. Last time God’s one command was “Go!” This time God’s one command was “Sacrifice!”

But there is one BIG difference between God’s command in Genesis 12 and his command in Genesis 22. According to what God’s word tells us both in Hebrews 11:17 and in Genesis 22:1, when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, it was a TEST. Now, let’s just say it: This test of God sounds warped and cruel. How on earth could a loving God ask one of His followers to murder his own son, even if God knew He wasn’t going to let him go through with it? It seems almost sadistic. And I don’t have an easy explanation -- just like Abraham, we’re going to have to take it on faith that God knew what He was doing, even if it doesn’t make sense to you and me.

As we know, at the last minute God commanded Abraham to spare his son, providing a ram for the sacrifice instead. But what can you and I learn today from God’s nerve-racking test? Here are 3 important lessons that we need to embrace as we walk by faith:

#1: Expect tests and trials from God, because the Christian life is never easy. Living for Jesus Christ is, without a doubt, the best way to live, but it’s definitely not easy, in large part because life isn’t easy. Our cars get rear-ended, our bills pile up, and our bodies break down. And following Christ, in some ways, makes life harder. Following God’s laws is not easy. But living for Jesus brings us peace with God, forgiveness, grace, purpose, hope, comfort in our sorrows—AND love and joy. Remember that as you follow Christ, God is more concerned with your character than He is with your comfort. So, at times he will send you trials and tests to prove that your faith is real, to make you stronger, and to bring out the best in you.

#2: Focus on promises, not explanations. Abraham didn’t know why on earth God wanted him to sacrifice his son, but Abe held fast to the promise God had given him—that God would make Isaac into a great nation as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore. One way or another, Abraham believed that God would be true to His word. If God didn’t give Abraham a full explanation every time He gave him a command, why on earth do you think God owes YOU a full explanation every time He gives you a command? The fact is … He doesn’t owe you anything. So, if you’re going to follow Jesus Christ, you need to be okay with that. So, instead of obsessing over God’s explanations (or lack thereof), focus on the hundreds of promises of God. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” “You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you.”

#3: Depend on God’s provision. Just as He provided Abraham with the ram, the Lord will always provide for your needs in the place of His assignment. What does that mean? If you are walking in faith and obeying His marching orders in faith, He will meet every one of your needs. Count on it! If He isn’t meeting all your needs, the reason is simple: You’re not where you’re supposed to be. If you’re where God means you to be, then let me share a wonderful little promise with you: “My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, November 4, 2019

Following God’s Directions … Without a Map

“By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  - Hebrews 11:8

I heard a story about a woman who lived in mortal fear of a burglar breaking into her two-story home. At least once a week, she would wake up her husband in the middle of the night and beg him to go downstairs and check out a noise that she heard. This went on for over 10 years.

Then one night, things were different. The wife heard a noise, woke up her husband, and he stumbled downstairs as usual to check it out. But when he reached the bottom of the stairs, he got the shock of his life. He looked around the corner into the family room, and there actually WAS a burglar in their house! The man staggered back in shock. Then he introduced himself and said, "You’ve GOT to go upstairs and meet my wife. She’s been expecting you for years!"

You could make the case that for 10 years that man’s wife had a whole of faith. Even though she never saw him, she BELIEVED that burglar was coming for her. But now, let’s take a look at a more positive kind of faith—the kind shown by one of the greatest men of faith in the whole Bible: Abraham.

Abraham started life with the name Abram. He and his family lived in Ur, which is located in modern-day Iraq, not very far from Baghdad. In Genesis 12:1, God spoke to Abram for the first time, saying, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” In this short verse, God commands Abram to “GO” and leave behind three things: his country, his people, and his family. That would be tough enough. Now, notice that God didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going. He simply said, “Go to the land I will show you.” That would be like God telling you or me, “Head east!” “East” could mean Palm Springs, Arizona, New Mexico, New York, or even China!

Abraham had to push his doubts and questions aside to do what God told him to do. And he had to give up a LOT in order to do it. But according to Genesis 12:4, “Abram left, [just] as the Lord had told him.” That journey eventually added up to about 1,000 miles total—traveled on foot. Abraham did it not because God answered all of his questions, but because God simply said, “Go!” So, in faith, Abraham went.

Abraham confidently obeyed God’s command to GO no matter how uncomfortable it was, no matter how much criticism he received from his family and friends. And, in all likelihood, at least some of those people were devastated to hear that Abraham was walking away from their tribal god to follow some new God called Jehovah. But Abraham counted the cost and obediently walked in faith anyway. Why? Because that’s what faith does. I love the way it’s described in Hebrews 11:8: “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Over the years I’ve discovered that most people are willing to put their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. After all, most Americans believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And most people really don’t want to go to Hell. So, they’re more than happy to say a quick prayer or jump through a few quick religious hoops to get “fire insurance” to avoid Hell. In my experience, most people are willing to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. But most are not willing to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. You see, the word “Lord” means “boss and master,” and most of us despise the thought of someone being our master.

But if no one has ever told you this, let me be the first to tell you loud and clear: Savior and Lord go hand-in-hand. Jesus cannot be divided in two. Jesus is the whole package. If you accept him as your Savior, you also accept him as your Lord. But if you reject him as your Lord, you are also rejecting him as your Savior. If I truly have faith in Jesus Christ, there is no mistaking who’s in charge: He’s in charge—not me. He’s in the driver’s seat of my life—not me. He gives the marching orders, and I obey those marching orders. That’s true Bible faith.

That’s the kind of faith that Abraham had as he left his hometown, country, friends and family and headed Northwest, even though he didn’t know where he was going. And that’s the kind of faith that God has called you and me to have today.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

How To Build an Ark

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” 
- Hebrews 11:7

The manager of a minor league baseball team was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered the player to the dugout. Certain that he could do a better job himself, the manager ran out to center field to take over the position. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager right in the chin. The next one was a high fly ball. He lost it in the glare of the sun, and it bounced off the top of his head. The third hit was a hard line drive that flew between the manager’s hands and hit him right in the nose.

The manager was furious. He ran back into the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by his uniform and shouted, “You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up … even I can’t do anything with it!”

It’s easy to find a man who thinks he can do no wrong—someone who considers himself blameless. It’s a lot harder to find a person who, in the eyes of everyone he or she knows, is considered blameless. But Noah was that kind of man. Genesis 9 tells us, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”

Of course you know the basic story. Just 10 generations after Adam and Eve first sinned, sin was so rampant in the world that God was pained that he ever created us, and he set out to destroy mankind with a flood. Only Noah was found to be blameless. This doesn’t mean that he was completely sinless, but he was found righteous by God through his faith. And that faith was plain as day when he spent over 100 years building an ark in the middle of the desert while his neighbors looked on and laughed. Hebrews 11:7 is a rather short verse, but it mentions Noah’s faith three times: “By FAITH Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his FAITH he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by FAITH.”

Meanwhile, Noah’s neighbors were caught up in the downward spiral of sin. Mankind has a nasty habit of going from bad to worse. In Genesis 3-6, you can see this downward spiral of sin over the course of the first 10 generations of mankind. As time passed, people’s sin became more severe and more depraved. And I can’t help but think that as God observes our nation and our culture today, His heart is—once again—filled with pain. We live in a world filled with sexual perversion, where pornography, premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality are commonplace and accepted as “normal.” We live in a world of violence, where murders and even mass shootings have become commonplace, and over a million pre-born babies are aborted from their mother’s wombs every year. We live in a world of spiritual apathy, where even Americans who call themselves “Christian” live their lives as practical atheists, as if there were no God, no heaven and no hell.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be like Noah. Noah was IN the world, but he wasn’t OF the world. His obedient faith brought him God’s favor and grace. Noah confidently obeyed God’s word and built a ship in the middle of the desert. Why? Because that’s what true faith does. Noah is best known for building an ark—but as shown in Hebrews 11, he’s better known in God’s eyes for building two other things.

1. Noah built a godly character. Noah chose faith … real faith in God. And because of that, he chose obedience to God’s word; he chose to fear God rather than man; he chose to pursue a right relationship with God; he chose to live a blameless life and walk with God. He chose to work with God to build his godly character, which ultimately was so much bigger and more important that building a big boat.

2. Noah built a godly family. I love the way Hebrews 11:7 puts it: “In holy fear [Noah] built an ark to save his family.” Noah didn’t simply protect his kids physically. More importantly, he protected his kids spiritually. He passed on his faith to his sons. As parents, one of the greatest building projects we can ever undertake is to build a spiritual ark for our kids to save them from the destruction of this world’s sin.

And how do we go about building this spiritual “ark”? For starters, we make sure that we are praying and reading God’s word with our kids and grandkids at home. If we don’t teach them these godly habits, who will? And we must make church attendance a weekly priority for our families.

This Sunday is “Superhero Sunday” at Impact. As kids come to church dressed as Batman, Wonder Woman or Captain America, it will provide a beautiful opportunity to point this generation of kids to the truth of Scripture—namely, that Jesus is our REAL Superhero.

We hope and pray that our kids and grandkids will, like Noah, swim against the tide of sinful culture and choose to walk by faith in a right relationship with God. And they will do just that as godly parents, grandparents and churches build spiritual arks … together.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Take a Long Walk with God

“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
– Genesis 5:24

After starring in several blockbusters including Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Endgame, Chris Pratt has become one of the most popular actors in Hollywood. But here’s something that’s far more remarkable: he is a Christian who is very vocal about his faith. After high school, Chris experimented with drugs and alcohol and was going nowhere fast.

But one day he was at a grocery store doing some shopping before heading to a party where he hoped to get drunk and hook up with a cute girl. But at that grocery store a man came up to him and said, “Jesus told me to talk to you.” In Chris Pratt’s own words: “At that moment I was like: I think I have to go with this guy. He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”

Hollywood isn’t exactly a hotbed for Jesus-loving Christians, but isn’t it encouraging to know that there are followers of Christ who stand out in the crowd and openly share their faith in Tinseltown? And isn’t it encouraging to know that the Bible spotlights dozens of men and women of faith who loved and served God faithfully in their own generations? One of the Bible’s lesser-known faith heroes is Enoch.

Enoch’s life is nicely summarized in Genesis 5:18-24. In a nutshell, Enoch was seven generations removed from Adam, and he was the great grandfather of Noah. Genesis chapter 5 records the 10-generation genealogy between Adam and Noah. And if you were to read the entire chapter, you would see that Enoch stands out in three inspiring ways:

#1: Enoch didn’t just live; he walked with God. If you read through Genesis 5, you’ll notice a repetition of words and phrases in the genealogy. For example: Each man was born, lived a certain number of years, had a son of his own, and then “lived” a certain number of years afterward, having more sons and daughters. We find this pattern repeated in verses 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 19.

But this pattern is interrupted with Enoch. Verses 22-23 read: “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuseleh. And after he became the father of Methuseleh, Enoch…walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.” Did you catch the difference? With Enoch, the phrase “walked with God” replaces the word “lived.” Well, that’s nice…but what’s the point? Here’s the point: God’s word is telling us that there is a difference between WALKING with God and merely LIVING. Any fool can simply exist. Anybody can merely live. But those whose lives glorify God and fulfill His purpose in their generation are those who don’t merely believe in God or talk about God. Like Enoch, they WALK with God.

#2: Enoch’s years here on earth were FEWER but so much FULLER than those of every one of his ancestors. If you look at the lifespans called out in Genesis 5, they’re pretty remarkable. Most of the men lived over 900 years. But Enoch just lived on earth for 365 years—or as some call it: A year of years. Enoch only lived here on earth for about one-third as long as his dad and granddads. But a longer life does not necessary produce a more impactful life. Does it?

Alexander the Great died at the age of 33. Amadeus Mozart clocked out at 35. Vincent van Gogh--just 37. Martin Luther King Jr. died at 39, and Joan of Arc was just 19. Like most of you, I hope to live a long life. But what is much more important than the number of years that I live is how much I put into those years for the glory of God. When you consider your own life, are you more focused on the number of your years or on the fullness of your years? No matter how many years God gives you, make sure every one of them counts for the glory of God.

#3: Unlike all of his ancestors, Enoch didn’t die. Instead, God took him away. If you were to look at the brief descriptions of Enoch’s dad and granddads in verse 5-20, you would see another pattern in the way the end of their lives is described. They lived a certain number of years, and then they died. But not Enoch. “Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (vs. 23-24).

Enoch never died. God simply…took him away. And in a sense, committed Christians don’t really die either. God simply takes them away.  Even if our heart stops beating and our lungs stop pumping and our brain waves stop firing, we don’t die. God simply takes us away. We live every day that God has called us to live, walking by faith, obeying God’s commands and fulfilling His purpose in our own generation. And after we have done all that God has called us to do, He simply takes us away.

A little girl learned about Enoch one day at church, and when she got home she told her mom the story of Enoch. She said, “Enoch used to take long walks with God. One day he walked so far God said, ‘It’s too far to go back; come on home with Me.’ That’s what happened to Enoch.”

Wow! I don’t know about you, but I want to take long walks with God. I’m going to keep walking by faith and fulfilling His purpose in my generation until He calls me home. How about you?

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Service Sundays at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Are You a Base-Model Christian?

“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation he fell asleep.” - Acts 13:36

I heard a story about a dairy farmer who went to buy a new pickup truck. He had seen an ad in the paper for a great deal on a new truck, so he decided to trade in his old clunker. He went to the dealership, chose a pickup and was ready to write the check for the full amount. But the salesman said, “Wait, I haven’t given you the final price yet.” The farmer asked, “Isn’t it the price I saw in the paper?” The salesman said, “No, that’s for the base model. All the options cost extra.” So, after the options were added, the farmer reluctantly wrote a check for $2,000 more than he had planned to pay, and he drove off the lot in his new pick-up.

A few months later the car salesman called the farmer because he wanted to buy a cow for his son’s 4-H project. The farmer assured the car salesman he had several good milk cows for sale for $500. The salesman drove out, selected a cow and took out his checkbook. The farmer said, “Wait. I haven’t given you the final price yet.” Then he handed the salesman a bill that read: “Basic cow, $500. Two-tone exterior, $45. Milk storage compartment, $60. Four handy spigots at $10 each, $40. Leather upholstery, $125. Automatic rear fly swatter, $38. Natural fertilizer attachment, $185. Grand total … $1,233.”

Now, I’ve never purchased a cow, but because I’m a bit of a cheapskate, I’m pretty sure I’d go for the base model. When I buy a car, I LIKE the base model … as long as it has air conditioning. If the car has four tires, an engine and a steering wheel, the base model is just fine. But when it comes to living the Christian life, the base model will never be “just fine.”

On Paul’s first missionary trip, he went into the Jewish synagogue in Pisidian Antioch to preach a powerful message about Jesus. In this message, Paul mentioned one of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament: King David, the only man in the Bible to be called “a man after God’s own heart.” David had a fierce love for God and served Him faithfully. And then, in Paul’s words, “when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation he fell asleep” (Acts 13:36).

Paul was making the point that God had a plan for David’s life. God gave him a clear purpose to carry out in his own generation. And David carried it out. David served God’s purpose in his own generation. God called David to slay Goliath, so David obediently slew Goliath. God called David to serve in King Saul’s court, so David obediently served in King Saul’s court. God called David to lead Israel in her battles and lead the people to follow God. So David obediently led Israel in her battles and led them to follow God.

Isn’t that good? In a day and age when most people were pretty much living for themselves, David was the servant of his generation. Could the same be said about you and me? The Bible makes it clear that everything in this vast universe of ours was created by God. He created every bug, every fish, every bird, every animal and every person—including you. The Bible is clear that God created you and designed you just the way you are. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. Your eye color and hair color are by design. Your height and your build are by design. Your natural strengths and even your natural weaknesses are by design.

So, are we living the lives God designed us for? In a day and age when most people are pretty much living for themselves, are we, like David, a great blessing to the age we live in? Are we servants of our generation? Matthew Henry reminds us, “We were not born for ourselves, but are members of communities, to which we must study to be serviceable.” And as devotional writer A.W. Tozer says, “David was smart enough to serve God and his generation before he fell asleep [ie, “died”]. To fall asleep before we have served our generation is nothing short of tragic…. It is a moral calamity to sleep without having first labored to bless the world.”

So true! But what is that purpose? At Impact Christian Church, we summarize God’s purpose with the shortest mission statement I’ve ever seen. It’s only three words: Love. Learn. Serve. Every Sunday morning, we seek to love God by loving people. Our greatest desire is to see every person who comes through our doors accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and begin loving him too. Our second focus is to learn God’s word. As we study His word, we get to know Him better, and we learn how to love and serve Him better. Our third purpose is serving. Just as David was created to serve God’s purpose in his own generation, so too are we. Jesus didn’t come to earth to be served, but to serve. And we follow in his footsteps as we serve each other and our community.  

My life has meaning and purpose, and so does yours. So, we must boldly stand and declare, “I will NOT waste my life!” You and I were created not to be served but to serve, and to serve God’s purpose in our own generation. I do not believe that anyone was created by God for base-model Christianity. I believe you and I were created for greater impact. And that boils down to this: Loving God by loving people … learning His Word … and serving others. If you don’t already have a church home, then I’d love to invite you to start joining us every Sunday. And we’ll serve God’s purpose in our generation—together.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Come join us Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

From Good to Great

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” – Matthew 20:26-27

About three months ago, I met in my office with two of our amazing staff members: Patrick, our Worship Director, and Christie, our Children’s Ministries Director. Our congregation had just voted to move our church to a more central location with a new name and new determination to make a greater impact in our community. I said to Patrick and Christie, “We do some really good ministry here at First Christian Church. But as we make this big move and launch Impact Christian Church, we need to move from good to great.”

But what is “great”? In Matthew 20, two of Jesus’ disciples learned an important lesson about what true greatness looks like in Jesus’ kingdom. James and John, using their mother as a messenger, basically asked for the two best thrones in Christ’s kingdom—one on Christ’s left and one on his right. They wanted the seats of honor and authority right next to Jesus. Now, that takes guts! And Jesus’ answer was … “No! Not gonna happen!"

You see, the path to greatness in Christ’s kingdom is much different from the path to greatness that we are accustomed to in our culture. The path to greatness in Christ’s kingdom requires sacrifice and suffering. “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” The word “cup,” as it’s used here and elsewhere in the Bible, is a metaphor for suffering. So, Jesus asked James and John, “Are you willing to sacrifice and suffer the way I’m going to sacrifice and suffer?” Both men immediately answered, “Yes.” But they had no clue how much Jesus was about to sacrifice and suffer.

Afterward, Jesus seized this teachable moment to pull all twelve of his disciples together and teach them about true greatness. His words in verses 25-28 are so important for every Christian to grasp: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus was God in human flesh. That being the case, he had every right to ask his followers to wait on him hand and foot. But he freely relinquished this right because he so loved the world that he came to seek and save the lost. Paul says it so well in Philippians 2:5-7. He writes, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” Here in Matthew 20, as Jesus had his sights set on the cross, his message to his disciples was loud and clear: “I’m not asking you to serve ME. I came to earth to serve YOU.”

Most of you have probably heard the famous words spoken by President John F. Kennedy at his inauguration. He said, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” These are some of the most enduring words ever spoken by a U.S. president. But when you think about it, President Kennedy—whether he realized it or not—was basically just asking us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps as citizens of this great nation.

We could just as easily apply Jesus’ instruction about serving to our marriages, to our friendships, to our work life and to our church. “Husbands, ask not what your wife can do for you. Ask what you can do for your wife.” “Wives, ask not what your husband can do for you. Ask what you can do for your husband.” How much healthier would our marriages be if we asked this question every day? “Ask not what your friends can do for you. Ask what you can do for your friends.” “Ask not what your coworkers can do for you. Ask what you can do for your coworkers.” If you and I will follow in Jesus’ footsteps and serve others without expecting them to somehow repay us for that service…it will transform our marriages, our families, our friendships, our workplaces, our church and our community.

Who would have thought that the path to greatness would be the path of serving and humility? Jesus, that’s who. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life. As we launch Impact Christian Church, I pray that we will follow in Jesus’ footsteps. I pray that we will humbly serve each other and serve our community. As we do, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will have a greater impact in the Victor Valley for Jesus Christ. And best of all, lots of people are going to come home to Jesus.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Worship Celebration every Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit