Monday, June 24, 2019

For Serious Pray-ers Only

“Lord, [would you] teach us to pray?" – Luke 11:1

I believe there are two kinds of men: Those who ask for directions, and those who don’t. I know which group I fall into, and I suspect it’s the case with 90 percent of the men out there: We just don’t like to ask for help. That holds true whether we’re driving somewhere we haven’t been before … or putting something together that has these three fateful words on the box: “Some Assembly Required.”

Pastor Chuck Swindoll tells the story of one Christmas Eve when his kids were little. After they were all in bed, he dragged out a box from its hiding place and proceeded to put it together on the living room floor. He didn’t bother to look at the instructions because the picture of the finished toy was right there on the box. Easy smeezy! Well, as Christmas morning approached, the toy didn’t look anything like the picture. So, he dug through the trash for the instructions, and at the top of the page were these words in small print: “Now that you’ve made a mess of things, please start over and follow these instructions.”

When it comes to finding our way to a new place or assembling one of our kids’ new toys, our families should cut us some slack when we make a mess of things. But when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ, there’s really no excuse for us to refuse to ask for instructions. That’s especially true when it comes to prayer.

Luke chapter 11 begins with Jesus doing what he did so often: He was spending time in personal prayer with God the Father. After he finished praying, one of Jesus’ apostles asked, “Lord, [would you] teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples?” (v. 1). And since prayer was such a high priority for Jesus, he was happy to oblige. He taught them a prayer which is usually called “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer is very short, but Jesus says more in these 34 words than most men could say in 340 words. And as you pray, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

#1: Is God your Father? Notice how Jesus addresses God in verse 2, at the start of the Lord’s Prayer. He simply calls Him “Father.” Maybe Jesus wanted us to understand that God is interested in a personal relationship with us. The Bible teaches that we are outside of God’s family, even enemies of God. And it’s only through Jesus Christ that we can be adopted into His family. If you have not chosen to put your faith in Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior and Lord, God isn’t your “Father.” But if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you DO have this amazing honor and privilege: to call God your Father.

#2: If God’s name revered in your words and in your home? The first thing Jesus teaches us to pray after addressing God as “Father” is “hallowed be Your name” (v. 2). This word, “hallowed,” comes from the word “holy.” It means revered, honored and held up high. God’s name should be set apart and held up higher than any name, any word, in the English language. So, we should never throw around God’s name as a curse word. We need to guard our own mouths against dishonoring God’s name. It seems a little old fashioned, but it’s really a timeless principle: Always, always, always revere God’s name.

#3: Do you submit to God’s agenda for the world? When Jesus teaches us to pray, “your kingdom come” (v. 2), he is reminding us that God’s agenda is so much more important than our agenda; God’s plans are so much better than our plans. When we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are saying, “Father, if my plans don’t line up with Yours, then please scrap all my plans. My life is not about building my kingdom; it’s about building Your kingdom. My life isn’t about bringing me glory; it’s about bringing You glory.” The purpose of prayer is not to get our will done in heaven. The purpose of prayer is to get God’s will done on earth and to say to God loud and clear: “I am ready and willing to be Ground Zero of Your will being carried out on earth.”

#4: Do you take your daily needs to the Father? Some Christians think it’s selfish to ever ask God for health or a job or a car or food. But Jesus teaches us to go to our Father with our daily needs by praying, “Give us each day our daily bread” (v. 3).  He doesn’t teach us to ask for next month’s food or even tomorrow’s food, but to go to God each and every day asking Him to meet our needs for the day. One of God’s characteristics is generosity. He loves to meet needs. So, if you have a need, take it to your Father in heaven. He delights in meeting the needs of His sons and daughters who love Him, trust Him and obey His word.

This prayer can teach us so much. And really, prayer provides the ultimate instructions. When we have needs, we should go to God first. When we need answers, we should go to God first for advice. When we need forgiveness, we should go to God first. When we know temptation is coming, we should go to God first to ask for protection against that temptation. I wonder if there is a room in heaven filled with strength and peace and material blessings that were never claimed here on earth by Christ’s followers because we never asked God to give them to us. We have not because we ask not.
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah: Lessons You Should Never Forget from Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of." For more information, visit, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Know What’s Needed

“You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed.”
– Luke 10:41-42

One afternoon a man looked out the sliding glass door of his patio and saw his dog trotting across the patio with something in his mouth. When the man went outside to investigate, he saw that Fido had a dead rabbit in his mouth. After the man said “Drop it!” about ten times, the dog finally let go. And when the man got a closer look, his heart sank. He recognized the beloved pet bunny that belonged to the little girl next door.

Well, the man felt he had to do something. He couldn’t bear for the little girl to find out that his dog had chomped her bunny to death. So, the man brought the rabbit inside, took it to the sink and carefully rinsed off all the dirt and dog slobber. Then he pulled out the hair dryer—or should that be “hare dryer”?—and got him all dried off. Finally, he climbed the fence into his neighbor’s backyard, put the dead rabbit back into its hutch and fluffed up the bunny’s fur one more time before closing the cage. 

Later that evening the man heard the little girl screaming in her backyard. He went next door and asked if everything was all right. The girl’s father told him, “Not really! You remember Cassie’s pet bunny? Well, he died a couple of days ago, and we buried him. But some SICKO came into our backyard while we were gone, dug it up and stuck it back inside the rabbit hutch!”

Have you ever done something kind for someone and afterward realized that it wasn’t at all what that person needed? I have, and I bet you have as well—just like Martha in Luke chapter 10.

In the final five verses of this chapter, Jesus and his disciples came to the home of Mary and Martha. Jesus had been doing full-time ministry for around three years, so he was probably tired—physically, emotionally, perhaps even spiritually. Jesus needed some R&R before moving ahead into Jerusalem. As best we can tell, the group popped in unannounced. So, imagine what you might do if 13 men suddenly showed up at your front door and asked if they could spend the day in your home. The Bible tells us, “Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done” (Luke 10:39-40). Would you respond more like Martha, who probably burst into a frenzy of cleaning and meal preparation? Or would you respond more like Mary—ignoring the state of the house, but anxious to hear everything that Jesus had to say?

If your reaction would be more like Martha’s, you probably have a task-oriented personality. You are a worker bee with an eye for detail. You don’t just do things; you are determined to do things right. If your reaction would be more like Mary’s, you probably have a people-oriented personality. You work, but when guests come over, you think it’s more important to sit down and spend time with them, rather than serving them. If you’re people-oriented, there’s a good chance that when your guests get hungry, they’ll have to go into the kitchen and fend for themselves. Either that or you’ll make a quick call to Domino’s and have dinner delivered.

Martha loved Jesus. And because she loved him, she ran around frantically trying to clean the house and make him a four-course meal. Her intentions were good. But her priorities were messed up. Jesus didn’t NEED a four-course meal. As Jesus said to Martha in vs. 41-42, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

Jesus wasn’t scolding Martha. He wasn’t criticizing Martha. He was lovingly pointing out to her that she was running herself ragged meeting a need that he didn’t even have. Jesus was basically saying, “Sweet Martha, I don’t need a spotless house. Martha, I don’t need a four-course meal. What I most need is just to recharge my batteries and spend some quality time with you and your sister.” If you want to meet someone’s need, first find out what his or her need IS. Although it’s hard to do, we need to push aside our own ideas of how to show kindness to people and take the time to find out what their real needs are. And that determines what shape our kindness will take.

Also, consider these words from Warren Wiersbe, “What we do WITH Christ is far more important than what we do FOR Christ. Few things are as damaging to the Christian life as trying to work for Christ without taking time to commune with Christ.” Often, what is good is the enemy of what is best. Cleaning the house for Jesus was a good thing. Preparing a nice four-course meal for Jesus was a good thing. But Jesus made it very clear to Martha in that spending quality time with him was the best thing.

So, you and I need to ask ourselves an important question: Am I spending so much time doing good things for Jesus that I am neglecting the most important thing: to spend quality time with Jesus?

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah! Lessons You Should Never Forget From Bible Characters You've Never Heard Of." Visit, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

Monday, June 17, 2019

4 Steps to Changing a Life

““When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” – Luke 10:8-9

In 1850, a gardener named John Gray moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. John was unable to find work as a gardener, so he took a job as a night watchman. To keep him company through the long winter nights, John found a watchdog: a little Skye Terrier named “Bobby.” Together John and Bobby became a familiar sight trudging through the old cobbled streets of Edinburgh. Through thick and thin, winter and summer, they were faithful friends … until John died of tuberculosis two years later.

John was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and in the days afterward, Bobby touched the hearts of the local residents when he refused to leave his master’s grave. Every morning Bobby could be found at John’s graveside, even in the worst weather conditions. Before long, Bobby’s fame spread throughout Edinburgh. Crowds would gather at the entrance of the Kirkyard waiting for the one o’clock gun that signaled Bobby’s appearance as he left the grave for his midday meal. Bobby would follow a local cabinet maker to the same coffee house where his master used to eat, and each day at the coffee house, Bobby was given a meal.

The kind residents of Edinburgh took good care of Bobby, but still he remained loyal to his master. For fourteen years the dead man’s faithful dog kept constant watch over his grave until his own death in 1872. Bobby has a headstone at Greyfriars Kirkyard that reads: “Greyfriars Bobby. Died 14th January 1872. Aged 16 years. Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”

In Luke 10, we’re given a close-up look at the loyalty and devotion of 72 of Jesus’ followers. The Lord hand-picked these men to go ahead of him into the towns of Judea to prepare the way for his coming. And in verses 5-9, he gave those faithful messengers—and you and me today—a four-step model for leading people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Step 1: Pray and speak kindness and peace into people’s lives.
In verse 5, Jesus tells the 72: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this home.’” The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom,” and over the centuries it became the common greeting among Jews. As Chuck Swindoll explains, “The meaning [of shalom] goes deeper than just the absence of war, battles, or arguments. It carries the idea of wholeness and prosperity in every aspect of life…. The term shalom described the quality of life promised in the kingdom of God.” So, how does that translate into our culture today? Well, for you and me, Step #1 of effective witnessing means that we pray for the person we are hoping to share Christ with and that we speak kind and edifying words into their lives.

Step 2: Build meaningful relationships with others. Jesus told his messengers, “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you … Do not move around from house to house” (verse 7). Sitting down to a meal together was a sign of friendship and acceptance in Jesus’ day. So, is it a good idea to spend time getting to know someone before we tell him about his need for Jesus? Yes, it is. If you’re like most followers of Christ, the longer you’re a Christian, the fewer meaningful relationships you have with nonChristians. So, it takes some effort to shoot a text to a co-worker, and say, “Hey, would you like to grab lunch today?” It takes a little effort to reach out to your next-door neighbor and say, “Hey, would you and your family like to come over to my house for dinner on Sunday night?”

It takes some effort, but Christians who follow Jesus’ command to build relationships with nonChristians will be blessed with more opportunities to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Step 3: Meet felt needs. When Jesus told his 72 messengers in verse 9 to heal the sick, I’m convinced that he was saying, “Before you address the person’s greatest spiritual need, first address the person’s felt need.” A drowning woman isn’t ready to hear how Jesus saves until someone throws her a life preserver. A starving man isn’t ready to hear the message of salvation until his belly is full. In the same way, if you and I are able to meet a physical need for someone we hope to lead to Christ, we should meet that need. As a wise man once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Step 4: Tell them about Jesus. Finally, Jesus said, “After you heal the sick who are there, tell them: ‘The kingdom of God is near you’” (verse 9). In other words, “Jesus is coming. And since Jesus is coming, salvation is coming. So, you’d better decide today who you’re going to follow and serve. Are you going to follow Jesus, or are you going to follow someone or something else? I hope and pray that you choose to follow and serve Jesus.”

Sharing our faith and doing good ministry can bring us great joy. But nothing compares to the joy of knowing Christ personally as Lord and Savior. He is our greatest joy. So, why do we share him with others? We do so, in part, so that they too can experience life’s greatest joy.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah! Lessons You'll Never Forget From Bible Characters You Never Heard Of." Visit, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Be a Faithful Messenger

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 28:19

Recently I came across a true story that appeared in Our Daily Bread devotional. One morning an outdoorsman had some work to do in the woods. As always, he took his trusty dog with him. But on this particular day, because of the danger of his work, he left his dog in a clearing. The man placed his lunch bucket on a tree stump and ordered his dog to sit next to the stump and guard his lunch until he returned from work. The dog understood his orders and faithfully guarded his master's lunch bucket...even after a forest fire erupted later that morning and crept closer and closer to the clearing. 

Later that evening after the fire was contained, the man quickly returned to the clearing where he discovered his melted lunch bucket right where he had left it. And next to the bucket was his trusty canine, who had been consumed by the flames. In perfect obedience, he stayed right where his master had left him and did what his master had told him to do. With tears in his eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.” Do you suppose that Jesus ever says the same thing about you or me?

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave his apostles marching orders. And he gives his Church—you and me—the same marching orders today. We find them in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Jesus commands us to go out and lead people to a saving knowledge of him and teach them to obey Christ’s commands.

Well, that’s great and all, but how do we do it? What should we expect to happen as we go? How will we know if we’re saying the right thing? What if we try to share the good news with people but they don’t want to hear it? When it comes to carrying out Jesus’ marching orders, we have 100 questions, don’t we? But Jesus answers the most important of these questions in Luke 10 as he sends out 72 of his followers to shard his message of salvation.

Insight #1: This is the game of our lives, but our team is too small. So, we need to pray for our Coach to put more players on the field. With 7.7 billion people living on our planet today, the scope of Jesus' marching orders is mind-boggling. He didn’t just say, “Go into your neighborhood and make disciples of everyone on your street.” He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Bottom line: We need some help! We need more messengers for Jesus. 
Insight #2: The stakes are too high for any of us to sit in the bleachers. Jesus is telling you to get onto the field. It’s been 2,000 years since Jesus gave us our marching orders. That should have been plenty of time to complete our task—to go into all the world and make Jesus followers of all people groups on earth. So, why isn’t the job completed? Well, part of the reason it’s not completed is because you and I haven’t completed reaching our part of the world. The world isn’t fully reached, in part, because we haven’t fully reached Victorville. We haven’t fully reached Adelanto or Apple Valley. Shoot! You haven’t fully reached your own neighborhood yet. And neither have I. Chuck Swindoll says it well: “It is laborers, not spectators, who pray for more laborers! Too many Christians are praying for somebody else to do a job they are unwilling to do themselves.”

Insight #3: The competition is as fierce as wolves. If it wasn’t scary enough for Jesus to say, “Go! I am sending you!” he raised our anxiety even more by saying in verse 3: “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." Jesus was warning his 72 messengers then and he is warning you and me today that there will be no shortage of human and demonic attacks as we carry out his marching orders. When we go into all the world and share the life-saving message of Jesus Christ, some people get really, really nasty. Don’t say that Jesus didn’t warn you! 

Insight #4: The travel amenities aren’t great. 
This summer our church's Children’s Director (Christie) and I will be taking fourteen of our teens to Colorado Springs for a one-week mission trip. If all goes as planned, we’ll be helping to renovate some transitional housing units so that some homeless families can get off the streets. I hope and pray that this will be a life-changing mission trip for all of us AND for the families that we serve. But do you know what? The accommodations won’t be great. We’ll be sleeping on air mattresses on the floor, showering in trailers, and the food won't be great. But, ultimately, who cares? The mission is much more important than the menu. Right?

Insight #5: The time is short. Regardless of your age, your days are numbered. Your days in your current neighborhood are numbered. Your days in your workplace are numbered. Your days in your church are numbered. So, please don’t squander the time and opportunities that you’ve been given. 

Your Lord and Savior has asked you to go and do his work and prepare people for his coming. So, get out there and do it! If a faithful dog could sacrifice his life obeying his master’s orders to watch his lunch box, certainly you and I should be able to sacrifice a few comforts while obeying our Master’s orders to seek and save the lost.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah! Lessons You'll Never Forget From Bible Characters You Never Heard Of." Visit, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.