Friday, August 14, 2020

You’re Driving Me Crazy!

 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

Let’s be honest with each other: Sometimes our family members drive us up the wall. I love my wife and kids, but at times the stay-at-home order really tested my patience. If you ask me, I’ll tell you that I’m an easy guy to live with. But lately—for some reason—my wife has thought about joining a convent and my kids want to move in with Brandma. Perhaps I’m not as easy to live with as I thought.

According to James 1:4, God sends His followers trials in order to help us become more mature and complete. And one of the trials He gives us every day is the “relationship trial.” Relationships at home, church, work, and school are incubators for growth. And the fact is: We will never become spiritually mature until we learn how to maintain our sanity in our relationships.

Consider this: When you say, “So-and-so is driving me crazy!” that statement says more about your immaturity than it does about the other person. Why? Because without your permission, your “annoying” family member couldn’t drive you anywhere. But when you and I are immature, we allow family, friends and even perfect strangers to drive us from zero to crazy in five seconds or less. 

The more immature you are, the more you’ll be annoyed by others around you. So, one of the secrets to maintaining your sanity in your relationships is to grow up—becoming more and more like Jesus. To whatever extent you become more like Christ in your relationships, to that same extent you’ll be at peace in your relationships.

About five years ago, Thom Rainier, a popular and respected church leader and consultant, posted a survey on Twitter. He asked church leaders to share some of the silly things that Christians in their churches had argued about. In the days that followed, he was blown away by the number of responses. One church’s leaders argued about the “appropriate length” of the worship leader’s beard. Another group of Christians fussed over what type of green beans should be served at church events. Yet another church argued about whether or not it’s a sin to serve “deviled” eggs at church, while two other churches argued about whether or not to switch coffee brands. (Believe it or not, some Christians left one of the churches because they didn’t like the coffee that was chosen.)

We laugh about some of these stupid, childish arguments that took place in actual churches. But, actually, we should cry! After all, the Church of Jesus Christ proclaims the Living God and the message of salvation to a lost and dying world. But far too often our petty squabbles push people away from the Church and bring shame to God. Do you think for a moment that any of these church battles mentioned above drew people closer to Christ? Do you think that non-Christians flocked to the church when they learned that its leaders were arguing about deviled eggs? Do you think that Jesus was glorified by the battles fought over green beans and coffee? Hardly!

We have to remember that the world is watching us and making judgments about the Church and Christ based on our how we treat each other. So, whether we are at home, church, work or school, we must be careful to treat each other in a way that honors God and draws people to Christ. Husbands and wives, never forget that people hear how you speak to each other in public, and they take note that you are Christians. Parents, non-Christians listen to how you speak to your kids and grandkids at WinCo and take note that you are followers of Christ. The world is watching and listening.

God’s word tells us in Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” The word “unwholesome” is a translation of a Greek term that was used in Jesus’ day to describe stinky, rotting fish. Isn’t that a powerful word picture? Jesus Christ tells his followers—you and me—“You should never have stinky, rotting fish come out of your mouths. Your harsh, silly, immature arguments are like stinky fish to God. Your criticism is like stinky fish to God. And your grumbling and complaining are like stinky fish to God.”

Would you agree that there’s far too much stinky fish in our churches? In our workplaces? On social media? In our political campaigns? And in our homes? One of the reasons our family members are driving us crazy during COVID is because there is too much stinky fish in our homes. Our homes should be a consistent contrast to the petty arguments, criticism and judgment that are so prevalent outside our four walls. Our homes should be a place where we build each other up according to each family member’s needs. Our homes should be a place where our words benefit those who listen.

Perhaps God is leading you to have a heart-to-heart with your family today. If so, I encourage you to humble yourself before you family—sharing Ephesians 4:29 with them and confessing that you yourself have been guilty of speaking words that have torn down instead of built up. Ask your family to join you in drawing a line in the sand today: committing to eliminate silly arguments, harsh criticism and judgment from your home. Make a commitment to encourage each other, build each other up according to each person’s needs and speak words that benefit those who listen. If you and your family commit to living out Ephesians 4:29 every day, is there any doubt that you’ll be saying far less often, “You’re driving me crazy!”?

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

God, I Can’t Handle this Stress!

“Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart.” - Isaiah 7:4

I heard about a man who had recently retired. But his “golden years” weren’t very golden. He was having chest pains, and his blood pressure was through the roof. After prescribing some medications, the doctor asked to speak with the man’s wife. Once the husband left the room, the doctor told her that her husband’s stress level was way too high, and he would be dead in six months if she didn’t help lower his stress at home. The doctor recommended that she cook his favorite meals every day, do all the housework and give him back rubs before bed. On the drive home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor said. She responded, “He said you’re going to die!”

That husband had a lot of stress in his life. But I’m sure his stress levels would pale compared to the stress we’ve been dealing with over the past five months. During the COVID pandemic, our stress level has gone WAY up. Just for a simple trip to the grocery store, we have to make sure we don’t forget our face mask. We search for a cart that’s been sanitized in the past five minutes. We try not to pass strangers too closely in the aisles. We keep our distance from others in the check-out lines. And when family and friends get sick, it’s even worse. Recently it’s been taking upward of 10 days to get the results back on a COVID test, and that 10-day wait can feel like an eternity.

Meanwhile, when we turn on the news, it sounds like our nation is falling apart. Businesses and courthouses are being looted and burned. Police officers and federal agents are being assaulted. And because it’s an election year, our politicians are at each others’ throats. All that to say: This is a very stressful time in which to live. And many of us feel like shouting out: “God, I can’t handle this stress!”

Back in 735 BC, King Ahaz was pretty stressed out, too. This was when the nation of Israel was split in two: the kingdom of Israel to the north, and the kingdom of Judah to the south. Judah was led by King Ahaz, who didn’t fear God or obey His commands. His M.O. was to do whatever he felt like doing without giving a thought to what God thought about it. That seemed to work out all right in the early part of his reign, when times were good. But when a crisis hit, his stress level went through the roof.

King Pekah, the leader of Northern Israel, had teamed up with King Rezin of Aram to conquer Jerusalem. Rezin and Pekah couldn’t break through the city walls—but they were starting to break the people’s spirit. King Ahaz and the citizens of Jerusalem were worried and scared, and they were starting to buckle under the stress of it all. Their hearts “were shaken as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind” (v. 2). But then God spoke to Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah, giving him four commands that God echoes to each of His followers who feel stressed: “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood” (v4).

When you’re stressed out, remember the four commands of God contained in that great verse:

1. Be careful. When we’re stressed, it’s easy for our minds to wander into dangerous territory.  Be careful!  When we’re stressed, it’s tempting to say, “What the heck!” and do stupid stuff that we normally would never do. Getting stoned … driving recklessly … having an affair … maxing out our credit cards. You see, STRESS and STUPID are kissing cousins. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to be stupid. And when you’re stupid, it will make your bad situation even worse. It will end up giving you even more to stress out about.

2. “Keep calm.” Take some deep breaths. Go on a nice, long walk. Pet a dog or cat. Spend some meaningful time in prayer. One of the most effective ways to calm down is to meditate on the things of God. Some Christians say, “I don’t know how to meditate.” Yes, you do! If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Think about it: Worrying is basically just focusing for a long time on your problems. Christian meditation is just focusing for a long time on your blessings. The difference between worry and meditation is a matter of focus.

3. “Don’t be afraid.” This is the most repeated command of God in the Bible. Before Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land, God told him, “Do not be afraid.” Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, God told them, “Do not be afraid.” Before the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, God told her, “Do not be afraid.” God says to you today, “I know this situation you’re in is scary. I know it feels overwhelming. But I have called you to walk by faith and not by sight. So, I need you to trust Me. I’ve got this. Do not be afraid.” 

4. “Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood.” In Ahaz’s mind, those two armies were like a raging inferno. But God told him that Rezin and Pekah were like charred pieces of wood after the fire has already passed by. They might be sending up a little smoke, but they were no real threat. In the same way, God says to you, “Trust Me. It may seem that your problems are about to overpower you and crush you, but I’m actually about to whittle them down to size. Your problems’ best days are behind them, but your best days are still up ahead.”

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a stress-filled year. But you and I don’t have to be stressed out. God will give you His peace and strength if you will fix your eyes on Jesus and do these 4 things: Be careful, Keep calm. Don’t be afraid, and do not lose heart.

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

Monday, August 3, 2020

How Could God Love ME?

 “I pray that you … may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” - Ephesians 3:17-18

 Two weeks ago, my oldest daughter Kayla graduated from high school. Because of COVID, her graduation ceremony was delayed a month and a half. But my wife Christine and I were so proud to finally see her don her cap and gown and receive her diploma. And knowing that soon she will be leaving for college, in recent months I’ve been thinking of Bible verses that I want to pass on to her and pray for her.

One passage that’s been on my mind a lot is Ephesians 3:17-19. Starting halfway through verse 17, it reads: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” This is one of my prayers for Kayla. I want her to be firmly rooted in God’s love, and I want her to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. But I don’t want her to simply “grasp” God’s amazing love; I want her to know His love personally.

Most people would agree that the most popular verse in the Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Over the years that I’ve been in ministry, I have had more than a few conversations with people who believe that God so loved the world. But they weren’t so sure that God loved THEM.

Sometimes we doubt God’s love for us because of our own insecurities. At other times we doubt His love because our sin seems too big to forgive. And honestly, at times we just have a hard time wrapping our minds around the notion that the Creator of this huge universe would care about us. I’ll bet that at some point in your life you have wondered: “How could the Creator of the universe love ME?”

Well, to be honest, it’s completely illogical for the Creator of the universe to love you. After all, you’re NOT a big, important person. Your influence in this world is rather puny. Your natural resources are few and far between. And, just like the children of Israel, you’re stubborn—you do your fair share of obnoxious complaining and grumbling. In many ways, you and I are both unlovable. So, how could God love me? How could God love you?

Here’s the answer: God loves you, not because of who YOU are or what YOU’VE done. God loves you because of who HE is. When we doubt God’s love for us, it’s inevitably because we’re taking our eyes off Him and focusing on ourselves—on our own insecurities and shortcomings, our own sins and our insignificance. But that’s the wrong place to focus. God’s love for me has NEVER been primarily about me. It’s always been primarily about Him. 1 John 4:8 says point blank: “God is love.” And because God is love, He is going to love me no matter how obnoxious, unlovable and undeserving I am of His love. How could God love us? Because God IS love, and loving undeserving sinners like you and me is what He does best.

God’s love even transcends life and death. And that’s great news for you and me, because according to God’s word, our sins have made us all dead to God. Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” So, there’s no doubt about it. Our rebellious sins have made us spiritually dead to God. But Jesus is ready and willing to raise us back to life.

But why would he do that? Because in spite of ourselves, God loves us. In spite of ourselves, Jesus loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What a glorious verse! While we were still being selfish jerks, Jesus loved us and died for us anyway. While we were still breaking God’s laws and doing whatever we felt like doing, while we were still rebellious and stubborn and complaining and arguing, while we were completely undeserving and unappreciative and unlovable—Jesus loved us and died for us anyway. No wonder the Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

My prayer for my daughter is one of my prayers for you as well. I want you to be firmly rooted in God’s love, and I want you to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. But I don’t want you to simply “grasp” God’s amazing love; I want you to know His love personally—“that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”


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

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Why Do I Feel So Alone?

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6


Last year Cigna Health Care surveyed over 10,000 Americans about loneliness. The researchers found that 61% of respondents—more than three out of five American adults—reported dealing with some level of loneliness. 71% of Millennials (adults in their late 20s or 30s) reported feelings of loneliness. And a whopping 79% of Generation Z-ers (older teens and adults in their early 20s) reported dealing with loneliness. And just think—this study was done before COVID. These numbers have undoubtedly climbed since the stay-at-home order.

Loneliness takes a huge toll on our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Studies show that chronic loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety, cutting, heart conditions, substance abuse, and even dementia. People who deal with chronic loneliness have a harder time recovering after a serious illness or surgery. Many health experts say that chronic loneliness harms our health about as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day—and it’s much more common.

So, don’t be surprised if you’re wrestling with loneliness, especially during the COVID pandemic. Did you know that some of the greatest heroes in the Bible experienced loneliness? Elijah, Job, Esther, Jeremiah, and even King David all had times when they felt lonely, isolated or abandoned. And please never forget: Jesus understands your loneliness because he, too, experienced it. We’re told in Isaiah 53:3 that Jesus was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows…. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” And as Jesus hung on the cross, paying the price for our sin, he felt ask if every one of his friends had turned his back on him. It even felt as if God the Father had turned away from him. So, Jesus cried out in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been lying in your bed all alone and felt as though even God had left you? There IS hope. And not surprisingly, it can be found in God’s word. I’d like to share three prescriptions from the Bible for your loneliness:

Prescription #1: Take your eyes off yourself and your problems, and focus on Jesus.  We read in Hebrews 12:1-3, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” You have pain in your life. So did Jesus. You feel rejected. So did Jesus. You’ve experienced indescribable loss. So did Jesus. And he overcame it all. So will you if you fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.

Prescription #2: Repent. Turn from your sin. You may say, “Hey! Wait a minute! That’s not very encouraging. If I’m feeling all alone, you’re telling me that one of the remedies is to repent?”  Yes, I am. The honest truth is: Sometimes we FEEL all alone because our sin has LEFT us all alone. We may be dealing with loneliness because of our own dumb choices. We’ve burned bridges with our family and friends. We’ve held onto bitterness and unforgiveness. We’ve been selfish. As a result, we’re more alone than we should be, and we’re left feeling lonely. Sin certainly isn’t the only cause of loneliness. But it’s a common cause that we can’t ignore. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Prescription #3: Spend quality time with God and with other Christians. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30). Don’t you want that? Don’t you want rest for your soul? Don’t you want to stop carrying the heavy burden of loneliness and replace it with a lighter burden? Then spend quality time with Jesus and with other Christians. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” God wired into your heart a need for a active relationship with Him and a need for active relationships with other Christians. So, make fellowship with God and with other Christians a priority.

Now, I’ll give you three bonus prescriptions for loneliness that are scientifically-based and proven to work: Prescription #4: Get out in nature. Loneliness intensifies when we’re stuck inside four walls. Prescription #5: Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in our brains--God’s natural mood boosters. Prescription #6: Get a pet. I believe that pets are a wonderfully sweet gift from God. So, if you’re feeling lonely, I encourage you to get one, or at least spend some time with someone else’s.

Finally, if you are struggling with loneliness, discouragement or depression, there are caring counselors available night or day to talk with you and encourage you. You can find resources at CrisisTextline.org or TheHopeLine.com. I urge you to reach out to them.

The reality is …God is always there. And there are Christians ready to be there for you, too. We ARE all in this together. You are not alone.

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

Monday, July 20, 2020

Will the Church Survive COVID-19?

“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” - Matthew 16:18


It’s been about a month and a half since thousands of churches across America re-launched in-person services. After two and a half months without Christian fellowship, you would think that Christians would have flooded back into their church buildings. But they didn’t. Instead, a large number of Christians across our nation have chosen NOT to return to church yet. As a pastor, that really concerns me.

Now, due to California’s current surge in COVID cases, the governor has issued an order to suspend indoor operations of several businesses and organizations in hard-hit counties, including all of Southern California. The order applies to salons, shopping malls, family entertainment centers … and churches. This presents another setback to churches that were just getting back on their feet. Many churches are not set up for live outdoor services. Some churches are simply too large. Since gatherings are limited to 100 people, even if only half of a congregation of 3,000 wanted to attend a live service, that church would have to offer 15 services every weekend to handle everyone.

And it leads to the question: Will Christ’s church survive COVID?

The clear-cut answer is in the first book of the New Testament. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Hades is the holding tank of the dead and it’s also the precursor to Hell. So, Jesus is basically saying, “I will build my church, and death won’t overcome it AND Hell won’t overcome it. Nothing in this life or in the life to come will stop me from building my church.” Will Christ’s church survive COVID? The answer is…Yes! Absolutely! There’s no doubt about it.

But now each of us needs to answer a harder, more personal question: Will YOUR FAITH survive COVID? Many of us who follow Christ don’t always realize how vital the church is to our spiritual health. Staying strong in our faith requires encouragement, accountability and community. Christians who become isolated from the church, because of COVID-19 or for any other reason, tend to become stagnant in their faith and drift away from Christ. Our faith rarely grows in isolation. That’s one of the main reasons Jesus started his church in the first place. For our faith to endure and grow, we need the encouragement and accountability of other Christians.

Now, I realize that some Christians can’t attend an outdoor, in-person church service right now: seniors living in a retirement community, those with health issues or mobility issues, members of large churches or of churches that are not yet equipped for outdoor services. If you’re in one of these situations, PLEASE … keep attending online—every weekend. Online church is the next best thing to going to an in-person worship service, especially if you keep it interactive. Leave a word of encouragement for other attenders online. Reach out to a prayer counselor or pastor and ask them to pray with you, online or by phone. Keep the communication going both ways.

But while some of you CAN’T attend in-person church services, many of you can. Outdoor church services are available in the Victor Valley (our outdoor service at Impact being just one of them). Many of us are scared of contracting the coronavirus or, God forbid, giving it to someone else. I get it! It’s true that the chances of contracting COVID-19 or passing it onto someone else is much lower if you are in isolation. But at some point you need to ask yourself: What are the risks to my physical and emotional and spiritual health if I don’t go to church? To you I would say this: “Please don’t allow fear to keep you away from church.” 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Every time we get out of bed in the morning, there’s a certain amount of risk. Every time we walk out the front door or get into a car or eat at Del Taco, there’s a certain amount of risk. But for years we’ve taken those risks because the benefits of going out and living for the glory of God far outweighed those risks.

The same is true during this pandemic. I can’t guarantee that you won’t contract COVID if you attend a live outdoor worship service, just as I can’t guarantee that you won’t get food poisoning if you drive through Burger King. There is a certain amount of risk involved in every choice we make as we live our lives here on earth. But my wife and I decided long ago that the benefit of prioritizing church for our family each week far outweighs the risks involved, especially since our church is following many of the CDC guidelines to lower the risk.

Bottom line: I want your faith to survive this pandemic. So, one way or another, make church a priority for you and your family every single week. If possible, be at an in-person worship service every week. That’s the best way to do church. But if that’s not possible, make online services a priority for you and your family every week. It’s critical that your faith survives COVID-19, and your kids’ faith survives COVID-19. And the best chance of that happening is by worshiping with other believers each and every week.

2,000 years before it was popular to say, “We’re all in this together,” Jesus was saying it to his church. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, then it’s never just about “you and Jesus.” It’s about “us and Jesus.” We’re in this adventure of faith … together.

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

Monday, July 6, 2020

America the Beautiful?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.”

- Psalm 33:12

Saturday was the Fourth of July—Independence Day. And even though home firework displays exploded all across the Victor Valley, the truth is, many Americans have been wondering whether America is worth celebrating. Many of our neighbors don’t think that America is beautiful at all. Are they right?

The United States of America has long been called the land of opportunity. Over the past 244 years, millions of immigrants have flooded into our ports of entry to pursue the American dream. Every year around 900,000 immigrants become U.S. citizens, making the United States number one in the world for receiving immigrants. In fact, we have more than four times as many foreign-born citizens as any other country in the world. Why do so many people want to immigrate to America?

We’re told that our government and justice system are steeped in institutional racism. We’re told that our law enforcement is corrupt. If America is as bigoted as some people say it is, immigrants should be heading for the hills. Instead, America continues to be a magnet for people around the world seeking freedom from persecution because of their religion, ethnicity or social status. While most countries around the world have been stifling freedoms, America has been extending them: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to bear arms, freedom to vote, and, of course, the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And few countries can match the freedoms we have in this country to pursue economic opportunities.  

On Independence Day, I’d like you consider how blessed we are to live in this country. Our founding fathers recognized that our freedoms and opportunities in life weren’t given to us by man—they were given to us by God. As Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.”

Our country has been in such a desirable position because God gave us that desirable position. He gave us that position because for the better part of those 244 years, we have proclaimed God as our Lord. Our founding fathers wanted America to be a great nation—and they understood that if America was going to be great, America would have to be good. And in order for America to be good, its citizens would have to submit to the authority of God. They knew that if this nation was blessed, it would be blessed because God blessed it.

Proverbs 13:34 tells us, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Remember that the word “righteousness” is just a fancy way of saying “right-ness.” When a nation does what God says is right, that nation will be exalted. But when a nation does what God says is wrong, that nation will be disgraced. So, has our nation been doing what is “right” or what is “wrong” in God’s eyes? The answer is: BOTH.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act put an end to our nation’s racist Jim Crow laws. That was a God-honoring change that needed to happen, and I believe it exalted our nation. In 1989, we played a role in the fall of Communism in the USSR. And in recent decades, the U.S. has provided financial assistance and disaster relief to dozens of nations around the world including Haiti, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

However, during these same 60 years, a growing number of our nation’s leaders and citizens have chosen to push God away and do what is biblically and morally disgraceful. In 1962 prayer was taken out of public schools. The following year the Bible was taken out of classrooms. In 1973, abortion-on-demand became legal. In the 1970s, no-fault divorce laws were passed throughout the nation. In 1980, the Ten Commandments were removed from classrooms. And in 2015, gay marriage was legalized.

These are just a few examples of the disgraceful things we have been doing. Our nation has continued to sing “God Bless America,” but our actions have—to a large extent—said, “God, we don’t want You in America.” We as a nation have become arrogant, and much of what we have been doing has been a disgrace in God’s eyes. If America continues in its arrogance and rebellion and refuses to repent, then we should fully expect that in the days to come God will remove His hand of blessing from our nation.

And when it comes to transforming our nation—turning it from disgrace to righteousness--the Church is the key, because the Church proclaims Jesus Christ, the only one who can fix all the mess in our nation. Remember what God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people [that’s the Church] who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Our country is far from perfect. But I believe that America’s founders were guided by God to form a nation and a government that is more biblically-based and less prone to corruption than just about any other government in the history of the world. No, America is not perfect. It’s always had its fair share of ugliness. But it continues to be beautiful in many different ways. And that beauty can and will grow if you and I will lead our nation back to Christ.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

3 Heroic Lessons to Teach Your Kids

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

This year on Father’s Day, I was reminded of what a privilege it is to be called “dad” by my four girls. Research has consistently confirmed that fathers are essential in a child’s life. Without a father in the home, we know that teens and young adults have an increased likelihood of struggling with depression and anger and drugs and crime. So, dads, your role in the home is much more important than you may realize.

If you search the pages of God’s Word, you will discover many heroic lessons that parents should pass on to their kids. Let me share with you three of the most important ones. And as an added bonus, these lessons aren’t just for dads and their kids. These four lessons are for everyone who desires to please God and follow Jesus Christ.  

Lesson 1: Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5). More than anything else that we want for our kids, we should want them to be saved. And they will never be saved unless they trust in the Lord with all their hearts. The following verse adds, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

One of the most important things we can teach our kids is how to make good and godly decisions. When they’re grown, our kids will have to make thousands of decisions without us. So, I encourage you, from time to time, to let your kids know about a big decision you have to make and invite them to join you in praying for God’s guidance. Ask your kids to stand at the crossroads and seek God’s wisdom with you. And when He gives it to you, trust Him and obey His leading together.

2. Fear the Lord and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7). I’m afraid most Christian parents these days do a much poorer job of teaching this lesson than our grandparents did. For one reason or another, parents today are hesitant to teach their kids to “fear” God. Churches used to preach more often about fire and brimstone, and Christian parents used to be better at getting the point across to their kids that disobedience equals pain and punishment.

Many older adults can remember getting the belt or the wooden spoon. Those of us who did quickly learned to have a healthy fear of mom and dad’s punishment. That being the case, it was easier for us to connect the dots and see that we should have a healthy fear of God’s punishment when we choose to rebel and sin.

3. Love the Lord with everything you’ve got. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:38 that this is the first and most important command. That’s because if you obey this command, you will—at the same time—obey every other command. We must instill a heart for prayer in our kids. And while we’re at it, we must instill a heart for God’s Word in our kids. And we need to be instilling a heart for the church in our kids. Our kids should learn to love the Bride of Christ at a young age.

I’m deeply concerned about the younger generations of Americans. Too many of our youth are growing up without these lessons. Studies have shown that millennials—those who were born between 1981 & 1996—are the most unreached and unchurched generation in the history of our country. On their heels is Generation Z—those who were born roughly between 1996 and 2015—and early indications are that this group is faring even worse.

Parents, if we’re serious about protecting our kids from the pull of Satan and the pull of this sinful world, we have to teach them to love God with everything they’ve got. We have to prioritize prayer in our homes every day. We have to prioritize reading God’s word in our homes every day. We have to prioritize attending and serving at a church every week. And we have to be on our knees fighting for the souls of our kids and grandkids.

Many years ago, Dr. James Dobson’s dad said it well: “The greatest delusion is to suppose that our children will be devout Christians simply because their parents have been, or that any of them will enter into the Christian faith in any other way than through their parents’ deep travail of prayer and faith.”

Most churched kids stop attending church regularly during their college years—and for many, that decision is pre-meditated. While they’re attending church as teens, they fully intend to walk away from it once they move out. They plan to move OUT of mom and dad’s house and move ON from church.

That breaks my heart. And I hope it breaks your heart too. The spiritual lostness and apathy of our younger generations compel me to step up my efforts to be a better dad than I have been. I must be more dedicated and consistent in teaching my girls to Trust God, Fear God, and Love God. You and I must fight for the souls of our kids and grandkids. And then maybe…just maybe…their hearts will be set ablaze with an unquenchable love for God.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Dismantle the Police?

The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13:1


It’s been a wild ride these past few weeks in America. Two weeks ago, protesters in Washington D.C. painted “Defund the Police” on a street just a few blocks from the White House. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed on Memorial Day, nine of the 13 city council members publicly supported an effort to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And closer to home, there has been major protest activity at the GEO Detention Center in Adelanto, demanding the release of detainees. The building was tagged with graffiti. One employee was assaulted with a rock. And dozens of cars were vandalized.

Across the nation, many citizens and even some political leaders are calling for police departments to be defunded and dismantled. Honestly, when I first heard these calls for change, I thought that they sounded insane. Abolish the police—I thought to myself—have people lost their minds? But the Lord prompted me to live out James 1:19: to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. 

I did some research and learned that those who are crying out for change to police departments are not all asking for the same thing. DEFUND, which many protesters are calling for, does not necessarily mean a complete defunding of police departments—most are calling for police budgets to be drastically cut so that the money can be used for other programs like public housing, health and mental care. DISMANTLE is more extreme and involves scrapping police departments and rebuilding them from the ground up.

So, what does God think? Well, God’s Word doesn’t come right out and say, “Thou shalt not defund and dismantle the police.” But it does teach us some very important truths about government and law enforcement that you and I need to know in order to form an educated opinion,

1. Human government has been established by God. Paul makes this point in Romans 13:1 as he writes, “For there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” There are many different forms of government in the world today, and without a doubt, some are better than others. But the truth still remains the truth: Earthly government was established by God in Genesis 9 after humanity had already demonstrated that, when left to our own devices, we would tailspin into complete lawlessness.

2. God has given government the authority to punish lawbreakers. In Romans 13:3-4, Paul refers “to the one in authority” as “God’s servant.” Our government leaders—including law enforcement—are God’s servants to do us good. Honestly, some of us have a hard time believing this. The pattern of the world is to constantly criticize and slander and disrespect our government leaders and law enforcement. But that’s not God’s way. The Bible tells us that government authorities are God’s servants to do us good. But they are also God’s servants to punish lawbreakers.

3. God expects us to respect and honor our leaders by paying taxes and humbly submitting to their authority.
Romans 13:6-7 says, “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants…. Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” One of the reasons some of us have had bad experiences with law enforcement is because we have disrespected both the laws of the land and those who enforce them. We didn’t obey the speed limit, so we got pulled over. And when we got pulled over, we copped an attitude with the officer instead of showing him respect. Friends, respect goes a long way. If you get pulled over, show the officer respect. If he asks you to do something—whether it’s turning off your engine or stepping to the side of the road—submit to his authority. And this exposes one of the underlying problems in our nation today: Most people have a big problem with submission. One of the reasons people struggle to submit to law enforcement’s authority is because people struggle to submit to ANY authority, including God’s.

You may well ask: But what about the corruption in government? And what about racist cops who abuse their authority? Well, the Bible is very clear that you and I as his followers are to stand up and defend those who are poor, abused or discriminated against. I believe that Christians’ efforts to reform government and police departments in a peaceful, respectful way are admirable and necessary. But I also believe that calls to defund and dismantle police departments are shortsighted and foolish. We don’t dismantle schools when we discover a few bad teachers. We don’t dismantle Wal-Mart or Costco because of a few bad employees. So, we shouldn’t dismantle the police because there are a few bad cops. Instead, we work together in a peaceful way to root them out while respecting and honoring the vast majority of the 800,000 law enforcement officers across our nation who serve and protect us with dignity and honor.

And if we’re serious about drastically reducing lawlessness in our nation, there’s only one foolproof solution: Jesus Christ. The best way that we can root out sin in cops, in protesters, in politicians, in teachers, and in everyone else is to get people saved. The church truly is the tip of the spear when it comes to rooting out corruption and lawlessness in our nation, because we are all about introducing people to the only one who can fix all of the mess in this world. So, as our neighbors call for reform, we as Christ’s followers need to call for something much greater and lasting. We call for salvation. Jesus IS the answer. 

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, June 19, 2020

What is God’s Answer to Hatred and Racism?

“God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him

and do what is right.” - Acts 10:34-35

America is hurting. We’ve just spent two and a half months on lockdown. Our favorite restaurants have been closed. Our kids’ schools have been closed. High school graduations were cancelled. Even the “Happiest Place on Earth” was shut down. Churches across America had to move their services online. And 36 million Americans lost their jobs.

Our nation is hurting—and less than three weeks ago, the pain only intensified. We were horrified by the image of a rogue police officer in Minneapolis choking the life out of George Floyd as three other officers stood by and let it happen. Then, we were further horrified by the images of Mom-and-Pop stores in cities across America being vandalized, looted and set on fire.

Many of us thought that race relations in America had come a long way. But these past three weeks have made us realize that we still have a long way to go. There is still far too much distrust, resentment and hatred between Americans of different skin colors. Our politicians can’t fix the problem. Our public schools can’t fix the problem. Even the social justice warriors can’t fix the problem. They can’t fix the problem, because the underlying root of the problem isn’t political, psychological or systemic. The root of hate and racism is spiritual. That being the case, the only lasting solution to hatred and racism is found in God’s Word.

The Bible makes it clear that God has compassion and love for EVERY person He has made. We read in Romans 2:11: “God does not show favoritism.” Peter proclaims in Acts 10:34-35: “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “God our Savior wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” And in Proverbs 6:16-19 we find a quick reference list of seven things God hates. Those include: hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes; and feet that are quick to rush into evil.

So, if there’s any doubt in your mind about God’s stance on what has happened in our nation over the past few weeks, allow His Word to remove all doubt. God is a loving and compassionate God, and He hates it when people shed innocent blood. George Floyd might have deserved to be arrested, but he did NOT deserve to be tortured and killed. God hates what was done to George Floyd. But because God hates it when people devise wicked schemes and rush into evil, God also hates what vandals, looters and arsonists have been doing to businesses and church buildings under the cover of protest. Those who are destroying things aren’t “protestors.” They’re criminals. They’re self-centered opportunists. And their actions are detestable to God.  

Because God is love, He hates…hate. Because God is love, He hates racism. Because God is love, He hates the violence in our nation today. And because of that, I believe that God wants to make three simple but profound pleas to us.

God’s 1st Plea: Let My Word change your thinking. “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth” (Acts 17:26). Every human being on earth is a descendent of one man and one woman: Adam and Eve. God didn’t create a black Adam and a white Adam. He didn’t create a Chinese Eve and a Mexican Eve. Every single ethnic group on earth—every nation, every person is a descendent of that one Adam and one Eve. We all have the same great-grandparents. So, when someone asks, “How many races are there?”, the Biblical answer is ONE. There is only one race: the human race. PERIOD!

God’s 2nd Plea: Let My Son change your heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). We want to believe we are basically good. But God sees the truth: Our hearts are harder than we’ve realized. And there is nothing here on earth that can soften them. A hater can’t be taught to stop hating and start loving. Just as you can’t teach someone with blocked arteries to stop having a heart attack, you can’t teach someone steeped in hate and racism to stop having a hard, sinful heart. The only cure is to receive a heart transplant—and God’s Son Jesus Christ is the only One who can perform the operation. So, God says to you and me today: Let my Son change your heart, because hatred and racism are sins of the heart. Racism is not a SKIN problem; it’s a SIN problem.

God’s 3rd Plea: Let My spirit change your actions. “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” (James 2:1). God doesn’t treat rich people better than poor people, or men better than women, or whites better than blacks. Neither should we. So, take time to PRAY with your brothers and sisters who look different than you. Take time to LOVE and SERVE your brothers and sisters who look different than you. And take time to LISTEN to your brothers and sisters who look different from you. When a black brother or sister feels that black lives in our country are being cheapened and cries out, “Black lives matter!”–it doesn’t help to shout back, “All lives matter!” Your black sister or brother needs you to empathize with their hurt and pain. This is the time to listen—and mourn with those who mourn.

In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of a Jewish man who was beaten within an inch of his life and left to die at the side of the road. A brother Jew—a priest—saw him and ignored him. Another one of his neighbors—a Levite—did the same. Finally a foreigner—a Samaritan—rode by, had a gut-wrenching compassion for him, and got down off his high horse to help him. Jesus turns to you and me and says, “Christians, it’s high time for you to get down off your high horse and do likewise.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Monday, June 8, 2020

I’m a Christian … But Do I HAVE to Go to Church?

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.”

– Hebrews 10:25

Around 70% of Americans identify as “Christians”—but less than 30% attend church on a regular basis. If that statistic doesn’t surprise you, it’s probably because it hits close to home. You might be saying, “Sure, I’m a Christian, but I don’t go to church very often.” If that’s true of you, you’re not alone. When asked, Christians give a lot of reasons for not going to church: Some believe the church to be expendable (take it or leave it). Many Christians simply say, “I don’t go, because there are hypocrites in the church.” And others say they have a hard time finding a good church close to home.

That being the case, there has been one silver lining to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. By placing their services online, churches have made worship more accessible than ever before. For Christians who say that they prefer to worship God at home, online services make that easier than ever. I admit, I’m a big fan of our online services at Impact Christian Church. Over the past two and a half months, we’ve been able to reach hundreds of people who would have never visited one of our live services. These services have helped lead to four baptisms. And our members have been able to receive a steady diet of God’s word each and every week.

So, as our church returns to offering live services tomorrow, some attenders may be wondering: “Do I have to go to church?  Wouldn’t it be okay with God if I just continued to stay home and caught an online service when I have the time? Do I really need to attend a live church service each week?” Well, if we check with the pure source of truth—God’s word—we can see five reasons why believers and followers of Christ need to get back to church A.S.A.P.  
           
Reason #1: The example of Jesus. Luke 4:16 tells us, “[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” Some people say, “I don’t need to go to church, because I’ve already heard all that stuff before. I’m not being fed.” Well, imagine being Jesus. Do you think that when he went to the synagogue each Saturday, the rabbis were telling him anything he didn’t already know? Of course not! Jesus is the all-knowing Son of God. If anyone ever should have gotten an excused absence from church, that person was Jesus. But Jesus’ “custom,” Jesus’ practice, Jesus’ priority was to attend a service in the synagogue each and every Sabbath Day. It was a priority for Jesus, so it should be a priority for Jesus’s followers as well.

Reason #2: The Bible says so. In Hebrews 10:25, it reads: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” Millions of Americans who call themselves Christians have either put the church on the back burner or given up on it entirely. And this is not a new thing. The early Christians experienced the same problem 2,000 years ago. Christians got complacent. Christians became lazy. Christians didn’t think they needed the church. And Christians didn’t think the church needed them. But God’s word tells Christians in all times and places to make “meeting together” with the church a priority. Why? Read on.

Reason #3: Christianity isn’t just about getting; it’s also about giving. Back up a few verses and take a look at  Hebrews 10:22-24: “Let US live out our faith. Let US hold onto hope. Let US encourage each other to love.” These verses aren’t focused on “me” or “you.” It’s all about “US.” Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Fellowship with God must never become selfish. We must also fellowship with other Christians in the local assembly… The emphasis here is not on what a believer gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the assembly. Faithfulness in church attendance encourages others and provokes them to love and good works.” Our faith isn’t about just “me and Jesus.” Our faith is about “us and Jesus.” So, let me ask you: What is missing in “CH_ _CH”? U R. 

Reason #4: You will benefit from community. It’s true that the church needs you. But you need the church community every bit as much as it needs you. Sure, other Christians in the church need your love, encouragement, service, teaching, kindness and compassion. But to be a healthy, growing Christian, you need every one of those things from us as well. You need love and encouragement in your Christian journey. You need the service and teaching that the church offers, and the kindness, compassion and loving accountability that are so hard to find in the world today.

Reason #5: For your marriage and kids. You may have heard the often-quoted statistic that Christians have the same divorce rate as nonChristians. But that statistic is misleading. You see, most studies don’t take into account whether or not surveyed Christians attend church. Interestingly, other studies show that husbands and wives who prioritize church attendance are up to 35% less likely to get divorced. So, church attendance is very healthy for our marriages, and it’s also very healthy for our kids. The church will partner with you to help shape your kids’ character and help lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ. It will help them discover their spiritual gifts and develop a heart to love and serve God and people.

So, especially at those times when God feels a little bit distant and your faith feels a little bit stale … make church attendance a priority. Experience the blessings that come with standing side by side with believers and followers of Christ. Get back to church.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our LIVE outdoor worship services Sundays at 8 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Heaven or Hell? The Choice is Yours!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Matthew 7:13

What comes to mind when you hear “Nearer My God to Thee”? You probably think of the sinking of the Titanic. Many eyewitnesses who survived the sinking of the Titanic reported that “Nearer My God to Thee” was the last song that the band played as the Titanic sank. Although 705 passengers and crew members survived, on that fateful night over 1,500 men, women and children drowned or died of hypothermia. And as each of them drew their final breath, their final destinations were sealed.

The Bible teaches us that every person who has ever lived will spend eternity in one of two places: with God in heaven, or with the devil and his demons in hell. So, as the Titanic disappeared beneath the surface just over 108 years ago, each person who died either entered God’s presence in heaven or was cast aside to spend eternity in hell. We don’t know how many of them entered either place—but tragically, “Nearer My God” was not the final destination of every person who perished that night.

It’s a sobering thought. And it’s a question that plagues many people, Christians and nonChristians alike: What are heaven and hell really like?

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Although we don’t find the words “heaven” or “hell” in these verses, Jesus uses two common synonyms for them: “life” and “destruction.” And in these verses, Jesus points out two truths about heaven and two truths about hell. Let’s start with heaven.

Heaven Truth #1: Heaven is the eternal place of life. It’s a place where death and decay do not exist. Try to wrap your mind around that concept: In heaven our bodies never grow old or wear out. Imagine: 20/20 vision—forever. Perfect hearing—without the Miracle Ear. No lower back pain. No diabetes. No false teeth. No prescription meds. And that’s not even the best part. Since Heaven is the eternal place of life, in heaven there is no war, no depression or hopelessness, no grief or heartache or sadness. So, in heaven we will finally experience perfect peace … perfect hope ... and perfect joy.

Heaven Truth #2: The way into heaven is very narrow, and only a few find it. What does that mean? Sadly, it means that most people won’t make it to heaven. So, what is the narrow road that leads to heaven? What is the small gate that leads to eternal life? God tells us in the Bible that the narrow road, and the small gate, leading to heaven are both Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us plainly: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Many people these days believe that all roads lead to heaven. But that’s not true. The truth is, all roads lead to hell … except for one. And that one road is Jesus himself.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus also tells us two things about Hell:

Hell Truth #1: Hell is the eternal place of destruction. Both heaven and hell are eternal—they last forever. Try to wrap your mind around this truth: Hell is continuous, never-ending destruction. That means in hell our bodies burn, but never burn up. Our bodies feel searing pain, but there’s never the relief of death. The physical pain of hell will be horrendous. But it won’t compare to the emotional and spiritual pain. Since Hell is the eternal place of destruction, there is no peace. There is no hope. There is no joy. There is no reprieve, no time out, no light at the end of the tunnel. And one of the most heart-breaking descriptions of hell is given in 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Hell is the place where sinners will be “shut out from the presence of the Lord.”

Hell Truth #2: The way into hell is very wide, and most people take it. What a tragedy that most people alive today are on a path to hell. That’s not a very popular statement, but it’s true. Most people in our world today are cruising down the wide road to destruction. But I hope and pray that you’re not one of them.

According to Matthew 25:41, the eternal fire of hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” So think about it: Hell was not made for you. It was custom-made for the devil and his demons. You don’t belong there! You belong in heaven. So, please choose eternal life in heaven over eternal punishment in hell. And once again, the only way to choose heaven is to choose Jesus Christ. You have to choose to trust and serve Jesus Christ during this life.  

One final thought: After you die you will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Regardless of whether you traveled the wide road to destruction or the narrow road to life, you WILL be judged for what you said and did during your lifetime. But here’s the thing: Non-believers will be judged by their EVIL words and deeds and be justly punished in eternity. But because believers’ sin has been covered by the grace of Christ, they’ll be judged by their GOOD words and actions. So, which would you prefer—to be judged according to your moral failures or to be judged according to your moral victories? Pretty easy decision, isn’t it? So, choose grace. Choose Christ.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at
10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Can I Lose My Salvation?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”
– 2 Corinthians 13:5

Last month I had the privilege of being at the bedside of a friend during his final moments here on earth. I remember a few years earlier, Carl asked to talk with me after one of our prayer meetings. So, we sat down in the front row and had a heart-to-heart talk. Carl had a burden on his heart. As a young man he had sewn his wild oats and had done some things that he deeply regretted. So, Carl wanted to know if God could possibly forgive him—or, if God had forgiven him, could he possibly lose his salvation?

Can you relate to Carl? Many, many Christians wrestle with the same concerns. You might say, “I’ve heard a hundred times about God’s love and grace and forgiveness. But at the same time, I know the Bible says that God will punish us for our sin. So, will God take away my salvation because of what I’ve done? Can I lose my salvation?”

This is actually a two-part question. That’s because, if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, there are two parties in your salvation: God and you. So, it stands to reason that if you could “lose” your salvation it’s either because God takes it away from you, or you choose to walk away from it. Let’s look quickly at the first side of the coin: “Could God take away my salvation?”

I’ve got some good news for you. The Bible’s answer to that question is an emphatic: “No!” The Bible tells us that God never drives someone away who is saved: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). And in John 10:27-29, Jesus tells his followers that no one can snatch one of God’s sheep from his Father’s hand. With these Biblical insights in mind, we can say with certainty that God will never take away someone’s salvation. God’s word guarantees it.

Isn’t that a relief? Your screw-ups will never cause you to “lose” your salvation. Like the Prodigal Son’s father, God will never give up on one of His children. But on the other hand, could you or I be saved and then walk away from God’s grace? In other words, “Could I choose to walk away from my salvation?”

That question is a lot tougher to answer. Here are some verses that might help. In 1 Corinthians 15:2, Paul writes: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” As he talks about the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ, he includes that big two-letter word: “If.” The gospel ultimately will save us in eternity—“if” we hold firmly to God’s word. If we don’t, our shallow belief in Christ won’t save us. And Hebrews 3:12-14 warns us: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God…. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Notice that important word “if” being used once again.

So, you can’t “lose” your salvation in the sense of “Oops! Where’d it go?” But there are Scriptures that seem to say you can choose to walk away from your salvation. But if that’s the case, I believe it’s very rare. What is much more common is for someone to walk away from God who was never really saved in the first place. So, if you are asking the question today: Have I lost my salvation? Let me encourage you to ask a better question: Was I ever saved in the first place? Am I really a born-again Christian?

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Apostle Paul writes: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” God’s word tells us to examine ourselves—test ourselves—to see whether or not we are truly saved, born-again Christians. So, I encourage you to humbly and honestly take the spiritual exam. Here are six ways to test yourself:
 
#1: Belief Test:  Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God? (1 John 2:21-23)

#2: Repentance Test:  Was there a definite point in your life when you turned from your sins, got baptized and put Jesus Christ in charge of your life? (Acts 2:38-39)

#3: Obedience Test: Do you obey God’s commands on a daily basis? (1 John 2:3-6)

#4: Love Test: Do you love God and people? (1 John 4:7-8)

#5: Hunger Test: Do you hunger for God and the things of God (for example, reading His word, prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, holiness, and serving God and others)? (Matt. 5:6)

#6: Holy Spirit Test: Is there evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life? (John 16:7-11) Do you feel convicted and unhappy when you sin? Do you have and use at least one spiritual gift? Is the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—growing in your life?

If you failed any one of these six tests, you need to make some serious decisions about putting Jesus in complete charge of your life today. Once you are saved, God will never take your salvation away from you. But you and I have a responsibility to take our faith seriously and live it out. If we’re not doing that, chances are that we were never saved in the first place. You see, Jesus’ salvation is transformational. Because I am saved, I will never be the same again. And neither will you.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. at Live.GreaterImpact.cc or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.