Wednesday, September 25, 2019

For Such a Time As This

“Who knows but that you have come to your … position for such a time as this?”
– Esther 4:14

My wife team-teaches second grade at Victor Valley Christian School. Last month, when I popped into her classroom, I overheard something that really struck me. Her team teacher, who is also a pastor’s wife, was giving the Bible lesson to the kids. She told them, “In this class we don’t call them Bible stories, because they are true. We call them Bible TRUTHS.”

We must never forget that. Whenever we refer to a Bible “story,” it’s not something that can be lumped in with “The Lion King” or “Aladdin.” Bible stories are in a league of their own, because they are true, and they are part of God’s word. So, with that in mind, I want to share with you one of my favorite stories in the whole Bible: The story of Queen Esther.

In a search that played out like a real-life version of The Bachelor, Xerxes, the king of Persia, conducted a kingdom-wide search for a bride. From the most beautiful young maidens in the kingdom, he chose a lovely Jewish woman named Esther to be his bride, and she became Queen of Persia in chapter 2 of the Book of Esther. But there was a problem. Because of the hostility toward Jews in Persia at that time, Esther’s cousin Mordecai ordered her not to reveal her nationality and family background. Esther was on thin ice … and then, in chapter 3, a scoundrel by the name of Haman became the second most powerful leader in Persia. Haman hated Esther’s cousin Mordecai—so much, in fact, that he plotted not only to kill him, but everyone in his family. Haman tricked the king into signing an edict saying that on the 13th day of the 12th month of that year, every Jew in the kingdom of Persia would be killed.

In Chapter 4, Mordecai sent word to Esther, telling her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy for her people. Esther was hesitant. She sent word back to Mordecai, explaining that anyone who approached the king without an invitation could be put to death on the spot—and it had been a month since Xerxes had sent for her. Mordecai sent back this memorable reply: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (vs. 13-14).

“For such a time as this”—these are the six most famous words in all of Esther. She was afraid to do what Mordecai had asked. She didn’t want to suffer. She didn’t want to die. But Mordecai’s words won her over. Esther believed that God had raised her up “for such a time as this.” So, she took a stand—and she successfully stood up for her people.

As our church moves to a new location, there’s a really important question that we need to answer: Why are we moving? Numerous reasons spring to mind. The drive up George Boulevard to our current location, surrounded by abandoned air base housing, is scary. Our church isn’t growing in its location. We’re not getting many first-time visitors, and many feel the drive to get here is too long. The list goes on and on. But there’s really only one answer that matters. Why are we moving? Because we believe God said so.

Now, let me be clear. None of our staff or leaders heard the audible voice of God say, “Move your church to the Ralph Baker School in September 2019.” None of us received a late-night visit from the Angel Gabriel. We didn’t even get an email from Roma Downey from “Touched by an Angel.”  But each of us has a relationship with God. Each of us talks with God regularly. And we believe God has been clearly leading our church in this direction, and He opened many doors to prove it.

The Lord has been so amazing over these past eight months. There’s a reason He brought us a buyer for our building two years ago. There’s a reason that a brand new school in a strategic location was available for rent at just the right time. There’s a reason I was introduced to the superintendent of the school district in February. There’s a reason that the decision-makers at the school have been so supportive. We believe God was clearly calling us to take a leap of faith and move on from here to make a greater impact for Christ in our community.

For the past 25 years, the former airbase chapel has been Ground Zero for some great ministry. We’ve baptized 582 adults, teens and kids. We’ve blessed low income families with more than 5,000 backpacks. Thousands of lives have been touched by the ministries that have taken place over the past 25 years. We have made an impact in our community from a very challenging location, and I believe God is saying to our church, “Well done!”

But God has also made it clear that we cannot settle for the status quo. What He’s been doing over the past 25 years has been preparing us for this next season. We believe God has called our church to its new home for such a time as this. And could it be that all of the challenges, trials and difficulties you’ve experienced have been God’s training ground—preparing you for such a time as this?

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Grand Opening at 10 am Sunday, October 6th at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Open Minds and Open Hearts

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character …  for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” – Acts 17:11

With the launch of Impact Christian Church just a month away, we’re handing out lots of invitations around town. Last Wednesday evening a couple of the greatest teenagers in the world joined me for what I like to call “Donut Run Evangelism.” We made a donut run and made sure that the donut shop had invitations to church on their countertop. Then we stopped by a few other stores to give them invitations too. Well, at one point we were in a little strip mall in a not-so-great neighborhood. And as I was making my way back to my car after dropping off some invitations, I saw a gang-banger-looking guy walking across the parking lot. He was all tatted up on his arms and had gang tattoos on his face and around his eyes.

I felt the Lord wanted me to invite him to church, so I did. And he turned, looked at me, and said, “Pastor Dane!” I was blown away! It turns out that he is an active member at Victory Outreach Church, and he met me a few years ago when our churches were doing ministry in the same building. I told him about our church’s big move, and he started preaching to me. He said, “Yeah, man. Your church is like Elijah. God gave Elijah a brook with plenty of water, but that brook dried up, so God moved him somewhere else. Your church is over on that old military base and it’s all dried up, so God is moving you guys to where there’s life!” 

This was one of those wonderful, unexpected moments in my life when God wanted to tell me something important, and I would have missed it if I hadn’t had an open mind and an open heart. In the early church, Christ’s followers faced a similar problem. They often ran into closed minds when they tried to share the gospel with the Jews, especially in Thessalonica. But the results were much different when Paul preached the good news in Berea. According to Acts 17:12, “Many of the Jews believed.”

Why did so many more Jews in Berea accept the message than in Thessalonica? The answer is in verse 11: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” There are three key phrases in this verse, and each phrase reveals something important about the way the Bereans handled God’s word. Let’s look at these phrases one at a time.

1. The Bereans were “of more noble character.” What on earth does that mean? If we look up the same phrase from a few different translations, we read that the Bereans were more “noble-minded” (NASB), “fair-minded” (NKJV) or “open-minded” (NLT). These other translations shed some light on the situation. The Jews in Berea were more open-minded to Paul’s message. They didn’t immediately put up a wall, stop up their ears and say “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA! I’M NOT LISTENING!” They were willing to hear Paul out and give his message an opportunity to be heard.

Friends, sometimes when we are learning God’s word, we come across things that challenge our way of thinking and acting. Sometimes God’s word challenges us to make different choices than we’ve been making and establish more godly priorities. Don’t build up walls or stop up your ears. Like the Bereans, we need to receive God’s word with open minds and open hearts.

2. The Bereans received the message “with great eagerness.” There in that Berean synagogue when Paul opened the Old Testament scrolls and began to explain the prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Bereans listened eagerly. Each time Paul taught, they were ready to hear it—eager to hear more, to learn more, to adjust their lives however necessary to the fresh revelation of God’s word. They were excited and enthusiastic as they learned God’s word.

If you and I are only going through the motions of listening, and if we have little enthusiasm for learning God’s word, the teaching will have minimal impact. I promise you, God’s word can transform your life. But you have to want it to transform your life. That requires some good old-fashioned eagerness and enthusiasm. So, have your Bibles ready in church each Sunday. Put your Bible on your nightstand or on your coffee table or wherever else you’ll see it every day, so that every day you can open God’s word and study it with eagerness and enthusiasm.

3. The Bereans “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
You and I can run off on all sorts of theological rabbit trails if we skip this critical step. If we’re open-minded and enthusiastic, but we fail to cross-check what the teacher is teaching with Scripture, we are cruisin’ for a spiritual bruisin’. Each of us is called to follow in the Bereans’ footsteps, examining the Scriptures to make sure that we are being taught the truth. And unlike the many false teachers out there, we as Christians are not afraid of anyone in the church examining the Scriptures to confirm the truth.

When open-minded pastors preach God’s word with enthusiasm and careful study, and the congregation receives God’s word with enthusiasm and careful study, that’s a match made in heaven. Open minds and open hearts in Christ’s church are a beautiful thing.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Grand Opening at 10 am Sunday, October 6th at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Don’t Block the Doorway to God

“We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
– Acts 15:19

You might find this hard to believe, but up until the early 1800s, most Christian leaders in Europe believed that missionary work was a waste of time. That was before God raised up a young shoemaker named William Carey, who grew up in an obscure, rural town in England. From a young age, William Carey felt a burden for sharing the gospel with people in other countries who had never heard the name of Jesus. One day he took some shoe leather and thread and made a crude little globe. He would often hold that globe in his hands and pray and weep over it. It broke his heart to think of millions of people around the world going to Hell without anyone ever having shared the gospel with them.

Carey attended a minister’s meeting one day, and he stood up and urged the church leaders to prioritize missions. But one of the older pastors shouted him down, saying, “Young man, sit down! When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.” Sadly, William Carey heard comments like these all the time. It was discouraging, but he pressed on. Not long afterward he preached a sermon which included the now-famous words: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

Within a year of first speaking those words, William Carey moved with his family to India, where they spent the next 40 years bringing about 700 people to a saving knowledge of Christ. His inspiring example sparked the modern missions movement. Over the past 200 years, millions of Christians around the world have been inspired to do what William Carey challenged us to do. Despite the opposition, despite the criticism and despite the naysayers, they decided to “Expect great things from God [and] attempt great things for God.” 

These words could have been the motto of the Christian Church in Antioch—the first church to share the gospel with Greeks who didn’t have a drop of Jewish blood in their veins. Thousands were being saved, and everything was going so well … until we get to Acts 15:1: “Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’” We’re not given the names of these men, but verse 5 makes it clear that they were “believers” in Christ. They were saved. They were Christians. They were just very misguided Christians—the kind who could do more damage to the church from the inside than unbelievers could ever do from the outside.

When it came to following Christ, the new Christians in Antioch had been ALL IN. Then, suddenly, some brothers came along and told them: “You aren’t really saved. Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior isn’t enough. Repenting of your sins and getting baptized isn’t enough. Walking in obedience to Christ’s commands isn’t enough. Unless your men undergo a circumcision surgery and you all start obeying all of the Old Testament laws, you’re all going to Hell.” Now the new Greek Christians were utterly confused in their new faith. Centuries later, Warren Wiersbe shared this great insight: “The progress of the gospel has often been hindered by people with closed minds who stand in front of open doors and block the way for others.” We pray for open doors. But just because God opens a door, it doesn’t mean that someone won’t block the doorway.

So, the church acted quickly. They sent Christian leaders, including Paul and Barnabas, to Jerusalem so that the apostles and church elders could render a final verdict. Once they were assembled together, Peter, Paul and Barnabas all made the case for rejecting the notion of circumcision and law-keeping being necessary for salvation. Then James made this great point in verse 19: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” The Jews themselves had not been able to follow the Old Testament laws to the letter—why should they expect it of the new Greek believers?

Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” But so often Christians have made Jesus’ yoke out to be hard and his burden to be heavy. Many Christians, unknowingly, make the same mistake as the circumcision preachers in Acts 15. While trying to promote righteousness in the church, we heap burdens on new believers that do more harm than good.

Many of us hold strong opinions about matters of our faith and worship. We may hold strong beliefs about speaking in tongues, about free will, about end times prophecies, and about how a worship service should look on a Sunday morning—what kind of songs should be sung, how long the sermon should be, whether or not communion should be taken every week. These opinions can all be fine and good. But we have to be very careful about taking our personal convictions about areas that are not essential to salvation and requiring new believers to believe the same way. Because when we do that, we can muddy the simple message of grace in Christ. May we always pray for open doors of ministry and keep ourselves and others from blocking the doorway once God opens it.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Grand Opening at 10 am Sunday, October 6th at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How to Live Up to the Name “Christian”

“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
– Acts 11:26

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in 1 Samuel 17: the story of David and Goliath.
You know the basic details of the story. The Philistines were the archenemies of the Israelites, and their greatest warrior, Goliath, stood over nine feet tall. He was one tough hombre.

As the Philistine and Israelite armies met on the battlefield, Goliath offered the Israelites a proposal: “Instead of our armies killing each other, just choose one Israelite warrior to fight me one-on-one. If he kills me, we will become your slaves, but if I kill him, you all will become our slaves. What do you say?” Well, all of the Israelite soldiers said in unison, “No way, Jose! I’m not fighting that guy. He’s huge! He’ll squash me like a bug.” No Israelite soldier had the guts–or the faith—to face Goliath … except for a wet-behind-the ears teenager named David. David alone stepped up and accepted the challenge to fight Goliath.

David had guts. David had great faith in God. But something else I love about David is that he thought outside the box. Every Israelite soldier thought the only way to fight Goliath was in hand-to-hand combat. And they knew they were no match for Goliath. But David refused to think the way every soldier in that army thought. When fighting Goliath, he wouldn’t need a sword. He wouldn’t need a spear. He wouldn’t even need armor, because he wasn’t going to use them. With God’s help, all he needed was his trusty old sling and a smooth stone. Who says he had to have a sword fight with Goliath? He would just stand back—out of arm’s reach--and chuck a rock at his forehead. And afterwards, if he needed a sword, he would just borrow Goliath’s, since he wouldn’t be needing it anymore.

You know who won that battle. And just as David walked in faith and thought outside the box, so did Christ’s followers in the city of Antioch (see Acts 11:19-30). With a population of half a million people, the city of Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. It had a very diverse population and a booming economy. But sadly, its citizens had a penchant for drinking, gambling and playing cat and mouse with temple prostitutes outside the city. 

Antioch was the Roman Empire’s “Sin City.” Yet it was there, in that Roman Sin City, that Jesus’ followers initiated the Church’s mission to take the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, to every group of people on earth. And it was there in that Roman Sin City that Jesus’ followers were first called “Christians.” Now, Christ’s followers in Antioch didn’t receive this glorious nickname overnight. There were three distinct, out-of-the-box steps that the believers in Antioch took on the road to being called “Christians.”

Step 1: They reached out to share the message of salvation (vs19-21). In the months and years leading up to the founding of the Antioch Church, churches only shared the Gospel with people of Jewish descent. But, in God’s view, that just wasn’t going to cut it. Why? Because when Jesus told his followers that they would be his witnesses in the uttermost parts of the earth, he didn’t mean they would be his witnesses only to the Jews. He meant they would be his witnesses to everyone. The Antioch Church reached out to witness to the “Greeks” who knew next to nothing about God, Jesus, or biblical morality. And the results of their bold outreach are plain to see in verse 21: “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”

Step 2: They reached out to encourage new believers (vs22-24). The Antioch Church was very good at out-of-the-box witnessing. But that by itself wasn’t going to make them into a great church. Next they needed to reach out to encourage. And Barnabas—whose nickname means “son of encouragement”—was just the man for the job! In verse 23 we read that when Barnabas arrived at the Antioch Church, he “encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Don’t forget: It’s one thing to see lots of people come to the Lord once. It’s quite another for large numbers of people to continue coming to the Lord day after day, week after week, month after month. I believe that without Barnabas’ encouragement and faith, the out-of-the-box evangelistic impact would not have lasted very long.

Step 3: They reached out to teach new believers (vs25-26). Barnabas realized that as well as the church in Antioch was doing, it needed more than he alone could offer. In order to take the church to the next level, Barnabas humbly set out for Tarsus to find Saul, the murderer turned evangelist. That was a trip of some 100 miles. He convinced Saul to come back with him to Antioch, and together, Barnabas and Saul taught “large numbers of people.” It wasn’t once-a-week teaching. It wasn’t light teaching. It was out-of-the-box discipleship which included solid, meaty, daily teaching. And as a result, “great numbers of people” were taught the word of God. And then and only then do we read: “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

Like Christ’s followers in Antioch, Jesus calls us to reach out to share the Good News with those who are far from Christ, to lovingly encourage young Christians, and to teach God’s word to all who will listen. We are “Christians.” And these are things that Christians do.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our Grand Opening at 10 am Sunday, October 6th at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit

Monday, September 9, 2019

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42 & 47

There are certain things that people say to me every once in a while that make me light up on the inside: for instance, when one of my daughters says “I love you, Daddy!” Or when someone I admire says, “Dane, I really respect you.” Those words touch me deeply. But when it comes down to it, I live for six words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Those words, spoken by Jesus at the end of my life, are the six greatest words my ears could ever hear. But how can you and I hope to hear them? This question has been on my mind lately as our church prepares to re-launch as Impact Christian Church the first week in October. And for answers, I’ve been turning to an inspiring example: the original Christian church in Jerusalem.

In Acts 2:42, we read about four of the Jerusalem church’s five top priorities: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” In a nutshell, that breaks down to: 1) studying scripture; 2) caring for and sharing with each other, or fellowship; 3) worship, including communion; and 4) prayer. A fifth priority is implied in verses 41 and 47. In verse 41, we’re told that 3,000 were added to their number in one day. And verse 47 says, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” This reveals priority number 5: Witnessing to nonChristians.

These were the Top 5 priorities of the first church in Jerusalem, and I believe they are the top priorities for any church that aspires to impact a community for Jesus Christ. These five purposes can be summed up in three little words, which we’ve adopted as our church’s mission statement: Love. Learn. Serve.

God has called us to LOVE Him and love people. God has called us to LEARN His word and hide it in our hearts. And God has called us to SERVE Him and others. As we put those words into action at Impact Christian Church, here’s what it will look like.

Love. Most people who visit a church for the first time will visit on a Sunday morning. That’s our point of entry for people beginning their Christian walk. So the main purpose of a Sunday morning service can be summarized in that single word: Love. Sunday morning is about loving God and loving people. Every week as visitors come in, we must introduce them to the Savior who loves them, and we must give them an opportunity to accept him and begin loving him in return. For those of us who are already saved, Sunday mornings are about expressing our love to God through the worship service, as well as loving everyone who walks through the door—Christian and nonChristian alike.

Learn. The process of spiritual growth requires more than just love on Sunday mornings. It requires additional learning: learning God’s word better, learning how to be accountable to other Christians and learning how to care for others in their times of need. And this learning can best be done in a small group. So, it’s important for a church to build a small group ministry: groups of around eight to 12 people who study God’s word together each week. In the process, they will learn more about shouldering each others’ needs and ministering to other believers.

Serve. To take our spiritual growth to the next level, every Christian needs to be serving in an important ministry on a weekly basis. Examples include volunteering in the nursery, serving communion, visiting shut-ins, helping out at a food pantry, even participating in community clean-ups. Volunteer opportunities such as these are about serving. Christians can take part in a ministry area they enjoy and make a positive impact on others. And as you serve, you will grow.

At Impact Christian Church, this will be our clear path to spiritual growth. And I guarantee you this: If you follow this path, you will grow in your faith; you will develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with other Christians; and you will be used by God to serve in some very impactful ways. Best and most important of all, you will be well on your way to hearing those six words I so want Jesus to say to you one day: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of Impact Christian Church (formerly First Christian Church of Victorville). Join us for our Grand Opening at 10 am Sunday, October 6th at the new Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit