Friday, February 9, 2024

How Humble Are You?

 “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master.” – John 13:12

Jesus had less than 24 hours to live, and He knew it. He had precious little time left with His disciples—so, whatever He did, He was going to make it count. And what did He choose to do? In John 13, at the Passover meal, He washed His disciples’ dirty feet.

The disciples were stunned—and uncomfortable—as their leader and Savior knelt before them to wash 12 pairs of feet that walked on dirt roads, in sandals, everywhere they went. Peter even tried to stop Him until Jesus told him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (v. 8). Jesus even washed the feet of Judas, although He knew Judas was about to betray Him into the hands of murderers.

Clearly, Jesus was sharing a spiritual truth here. But what IS that truth?

Jesus told them in verse 12: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master.” To follow Jesus Christ’s example, we must be humble. But how?

Let’s take a look at four principles of true humility. (Most of these principles are highlighted by Chuck Swindoll in his John commentary.)

Principle #1: Humility doesn’t discriminate but is expressed equally to all. Jesus knew that His disciples would all desert Him in a few hours. He knew Peter would deny Him three times. He knew Judas Iscariot would betray Him. Yet Jesus washed their feet anyway. Friends, there is no room for petty discrimination in your Christianity. Whether you like a person or can’t stand a person, whether they love you or hate you, humbly serve them anyway … just like Jesus.

Principle #2: Humility is an action and a behavior, not a thought or an attitude. Many people describe themselves as humble. But thinking you’re humble has nothing to do with humility. As soon as you announce, “I’m humble!” – you’re proving you’re not. Just as love is an action, not a thought or a feeling, so is humility.

Principle #3: Humility receives service without embarrassment. Sometimes the most prideful thing you can do is to NOT allow someone to serve you. Jesus was the most humble servant of all. But just five days before He washed His disciples’ feet, He allowed Mary to get down on her hands and knees and wipe His feet with her hair. Everyone in the room was embarrassed, except for Jesus—because He was gentle and humble in heart. Don’t just humbly serve others. Check your ego at the door and allow others to humbly serve you.

Principle #4: Humility leads to true and lasting joy. Did you know that the nearer you are to suffering people, the nearer you are to Jesus? Jesus identifies with the poor, the sick, the abused, and the outcast. So, the more we humbly serve them, the closer we are to Christ. Most people think that happiness comes from earning more money or taking more vacations. But the truth is, if we chase after happiness, we tend to miss out on it. Why? Because God had linked happiness to humble service.

Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Be sure to keep these lessons in their proper sequence: humbleness, holiness, happiness. Submit to the Father, keep your life clean, and serve others. This is God’s formula for true spiritual joy.”

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Pastor Dane’s new daily devotional, “40 Days in Proverbs,” is now available on Amazon.com. Join us on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Who’s Ready to Give Up?

“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” – John 12:25

Jesus had just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding a donkey colt through a cheering crowd who laid palm branches before Him. They were sure their Messiah had arrived to save Israel from its oppressors. Until Jesus spoke.

In John 12:23, Jesus told the crowd before Him, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Many of His followers were thrilled: “YES! It’s about time! Gather your army and drive out the Romans and set up your throne in Jerusalem! We’re behind you all the way!”

But in verse 24, Jesus lowered the boom. His idea of “being glorified” was much different than theirs: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He went on to say: “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25).

What on earth was He talking about? Jesus’ fans were ready to follow their Messiah to the death … if he went charging full-speed into a Roman garrison. But they refused to throw their lives away for a Messiah who wasn’t even going to put up a fight. It sounded like He was just planning to roll over and die.

In this passage, Jesus shares three powerful truths at the heart of our Christian faith. The decisions we make each day should be grounded in the following three truths. (Statements in quotation marks are from Scottish theologian William Barclay.)

Truth #1 (v. 24): “Only by death comes life.” As Jesus said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” What is true in agriculture is equally true in the spiritual realm. The great 2nd Century church leader Tertullian famously said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” All but one of Jesus’ 12 apostles were martyred for their faith. Now, you will probably never face death or imprisonment because of your beliefs. But Christ has still called you to die. Your old selfish way of living, your old negativity, your old unforgiveness … all need to die. It’s when our old nature dies that we can really live for God.

Truth #2 (v. 25): Only by giving up our lives do we retain life. People who live for me, myself and I are usually motivated by two things: their own selfish cravings and security. Selfish  people chase after pleasure and security. But Jesus calls His followers to sacrifice—even “hate”—both pleasure & security. I urge you to hate your own selfishness; hate your own laziness; hate sitting on the sidelines. Instead, LOVE giving your life away in service to Christ and others.

Truth #3 (v. 26): “Only by service comes greatness.” So many people live their lives serving one person: themselves. And at the end of their lives, there’s not much to show for it. I’m so thankful that so many Christians I know are the exact opposite of that. They live to serve Christ and others.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of officiating the Celebration of Life for Mele Bond, a sweet lady who served at my church for more than 30 years. Mele embodied this third truth: She lived a “great” life, because she was such a “great” servant.

For many years, Mele stood at the front door of our church shaking hands and handing out bulletins to our attenders. She greeted everyone with her great big, loving smile. No one would have guessed that Mele had Multiple Sclerosis. She didn’t talk about how it affected her health. She just kept serving. About six years ago, when her legs got too weak, Mele could no longer stand and hand out bulletins. So … she sat on her walker and handed out bulletins with the same big, loving smile.

In the last three years, Mele’s MS reached a point where she was too weak to get out of bed. So, did she finally stop serving? Nope! From her bed, she crocheted beanies for family members, friends and the homeless. Whenever I visited, she had a bag of hats for me to give away. She refused to stop serving. Anyone who knew Mele would agree: She lived a GREAT life. You see, only by service comes greatness.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Pastor Dane’s new daily devotional, “40 Days in Proverbs,” is now available on Amazon.com. Join us on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

An Eye-Opening Experience

 "Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." – John 9:32-33

A man who was blind from birth had been healed, but no one seemed too happy about it.

In John 9, Jesus took mercy on a blind beggar … in sort of an unusual way. On a certain Sabbath day, Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud pies out of the wet dirt, placed them on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go and wash his eyes. According to verse 7, the man “went and washed, and came home seeing.” The formerly-blind beggar was beyond excited! And you would think that everyone who knew him would be beyond excited. But instead, he was met with skepticism and unbelief.

First, the healed man was interrogated by the Pharisees to find out what had happened. In verse 16, some of them objected, “This man [Jesus] is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.” According to Jewish tradition, all kinds of everyday activities were forbidden on the Sabbath—including kneading wet dirt into mud pies and using spit to heal.

Next, the Pharisees spoke to the man’s parents, but Mom and Dad were too afraid of these powerful religious leaders to take any chances. They simply admitted he was their son, he had been born blind, and now he could see. But as for anything else, they said, “Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself” (v. 21).

So the Pharisees returned to the man and tried to trick him into admitting that Jesus was a sinner. But he stuck to the facts: “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see” (v. 25). In frustration, the Pharisees finally snapped: “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where He comes from!” (vs. 28-29). But the healed man pointed out, “We know that God does not listen to sinners…. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (vs. 31-33). Well, the Pharisees didn’t want to hear any more from HIM, so they tossed him out of the synagogue.

But for the healed man, the story has a happy ending. He met Jesus again, who told him that He was the Son of Man—the promised Savior of the World. Immediately, the formerly-blind beggar believed that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. He was saved.

And here are two Life Lessons that we can draw from this inspiring account. First, because Jesus is your light and your salvation, be courageous when you’re under attack. And second, when man kicks you out, Jesus will take you in. And once Jesus takes you in, you will see the goodness of the Lord.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for the Christmas season, on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.


Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Who Wants to Be a Shepherd?

“I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me … and I lay down my life for the sheep." – John 10:14-15

Who in his right mind would ever want to be a shepherd? Well, it turns out that Jesus does. And you know what? He’s REALLY good at it.

In John 10, as Jesus was speaking to His critics, He drew their attention to the shepherds and their flocks scattered across the Judean countryside and declared, “I am the good shepherd.” You see, everyone in Judea was very familiar with the sight of shepherds leading their flocks along the hillsides. So, Jesus latched on to that imagery to reveal some powerful insights.

In these verses, Jesus reveals four vital ministries that He carries out that prove He is a REALLY Good Shepherd.

Ministry #1: Jesus dies for His sheep (vs. 11-13). Think about how truly radical Jesus’ statement is. Jesus is God in human flesh, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If anyone should be laying down his life for someone else, one of us should be laying down our life for Him. That’s how things work in the real world. Privates lay down their lives for their lieutenants. Lieutenants lay down their lives for their colonels. Colonels lay down their lives for their generals. And EVERYONE lays down their lives for their Commander-in-Chief. But Jesus says that He, just like a good shepherd, lays down His life for His followers. Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “[Jesus] did not die as a martyr, killed by men; He died as a substitute, willingly laying down His life for us.”

Ministry #2: Jesus knows His sheep (vs. 14-15). Heaven, in a nutshell, is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ personally—not just knowing about them, but really KNOWING them. And Jesus tells us He knows each of His followers personally. So, if you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, Jesus knows your name. He knows your character (the good, the bad and the ugly). And He knows your needs better than anyone else in the world.

Ministry #3: Jesus brings other sheep into His flock (v. 16). If you aren’t Jewish, you should be REALLY glad that the Good Shepherd carries out this third ministry. The New Testament makes it clear that the “other sheep” are Gentiles … non-Jews. Jesus’ first ministry priority was to be the gate of salvation and the Good Shepherd for Jews. Once that priority was being carried out, He turned His focus to reaching Gentiles so that all men, women and children on earth could have the opportunity to be saved & be shepherded by Christ.

Ministry #4: Jesus takes up His life again (vs. 17-21). Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t stay dead? Jesus’ voluntary death was followed by His victorious resurrection. Jesus is alive and well … and is such a Good Shepherd! 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for the Christmas season, on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Jesus Lights Up the Darkness

 "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness." – John 8:12

As the Feast of Tabernacles was drawing to a close in John 8, Jesus was teaching in the inner courts of the temple, surrounded by the huge candelabras that were lit every night of the feast. It was said that these candelabras burned so brightly that on a dark night, they would light up every courtyard in Jerusalem. Standing just a few feet from those massive beacons of light, Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (v. 12).

Jesus was basically saying, “These candelabras can light up Jerusalem for one night, but I’m the One sent by God to light up the whole world forever. These candelabras provide physical light for your eyes, but I provide spiritual light for your souls that leads to eternal life.”

The religious leaders weren’t sure what Jesus was talking about, but they didn’t like it. So they challenged His right to speak on His own behalf. They were baffled when He answered, “I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me” (v. 18). And when they asked where His father was, Jesus responded, “You do not know me or my Father…. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (v. 19). They got even madder when He warned them, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (v. 24). This probably didn’t win Him any new fans among the religious leaders. But according to verse 30, many others who heard did believe in Him.

Jesus came to be the light of the world. Aren’t you glad He didn’t leave us to keep stumbling in spiritual darkness? If you let Him, He can flip the switch and light up your life, illuminating the sin that you need to confess. He can lift the blinders from your soul so that you can see clearly that He is the Christ and the Son of the living God. And He provides a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, so that you can see which way to go.

Here are two lessons we can draw from this passage:

Lesson #1: No matter how many lights are shining around you, let Jesus light your way. After all, He is the Light of the World. There is no light like the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Lesson #2: Your life and time are both limited, and you don’t know what that limit is. Therefore, there is every reason for making the decision to trust in Jesus Christ now, before it’s too late. Sadly, it appears that most of the religious leaders missed their opportunity. Don’t make the same mistake they did.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Don’t Watch the Church. Be the Church.

There’s a crisis in America today—a crisis much bigger than the dysfunction in Washington, much bigger than Covid-19, much bigger than high gas prices. It’s a crisis that has eternal repercussions.

For years, historians and researchers have warned us that Christianity is dying in America. Study after study has confirmed that belief in God, church attendance, and commitment to biblical values are ALL on the decline. In 2019, the year before the Covid-19 lockdowns, 3,000 new churches opened in America. That sounds great until you realize that 4,500 existing churches closed. And during the pandemic, the situation went from bad to worse.

Why? Researchers agree that the biggest reason is the growing number of “nones” in our country. In recent years, researchers have started using this term as a label for people who don’t claim any religion. Some “nones” are atheists; others are agnostics; still others say they’re religious but don’t identify with any specific religion. But it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that as the number of “nones” across America INCREASES, the number of church attenders DECREASES. Because more than 95% of “nones” don’t go to church.

Since the year 2000, the number of “nones” in America has grown dramatically across all age groups—but especially the younger generations. According to a 2021 Barna Group study, about half of Generation Z (those between ages 11 and 26) claim to be Christians … but around 30% of them claim no religion at all. Some studies show that number over 40%.

And here’s an even scarier number. According to Barna’s research, only 4% of those 11-to-26-year-olds have a biblical worldview. In other words, although over 50% of Generation Z claim to be Christians, only 4 out of every 100 actually believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and that Jesus is the only path to salvation.

That’s tragic. Worse, it didn’t have to be this way. Parents, to a very large extent, it’s our own darn fault. Not only have we failed to teach our kids God’s Word every day in our homes, we have failed to surround our kids with other Christians who are ready and willing to teach them God’s Word at church. We haven’t maintained our commitment to Christ’s Bride, the Church, and we haven’t taught our kids about commitment to church. And if you’re worried that “dragging them to church” will chase them away from God, believe me: There’s a much higher likelihood of them walking away from God if they’re not in church at all.

God’s Word in Hebrews 10:24 is clear: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” And that begins at home. You’ve taught your kids to persevere in school work, in their chores and in their tooth brushing. Now, teach them to persevere in the most important way: Teach them to persevere with the Church to bring honor and glory to God. 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Who Deserves Mercy?

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." – John 8:7

It’s one of the most beloved accounts in any of the Gospels.

In John 8, Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when he was rudely interrupted by the teachers of the law and some Pharisees. They brought Him a woman and said: “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?” (vs. 4-5). And then John adds a quick little FYI in verse 6: “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”

You see, the religious leaders knew that if Jesus said they SHOULDN’T stone the woman, they could arrest Him for rebelling against the Law of Moses. On the other hand, if Jesus said the woman SHOULD be stoned, He could be arrested by the government, because it was against Roman law for the Jews to carry out capital punishment without Roman approval.  So, Jesus was stuck with a lose-lose question. Or so everyone thought.

But Jesus’ response in verse 7 is genius: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

At that, the woman’s accusers slunk away, one by one, too convicted by their own sins to start hurling rocks. When Jesus was left alone with the woman, He asked, “Has no one condemned you?” And when she responded with a “no,” He said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11).

Jesus showed the woman mercy – undeserved forgiveness. And in this passage, Jesus gives us three important lessons about showing mercy:

1. Legalists prefer to CONDEMN. Jesus prefers to FORGIVE. Often, it’s easier to condemn than it is to forgive. But when we start preferring condemnation over forgiveness, we can be sure that we are following in the footsteps of the Pharisees. Forgiveness is the path of Christ.

2. Jesus’ mercy comes with an implied warning: “If you reject My mercy, one day you will suffer God’s wrath.” Some Christians think that Jesus was soft on this woman’s sin. But He really wasn’t. Notice that He didn’t just say, “Neither do I condemn you. Tell your lover I said ‘Hi!’” He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus called upon this woman to make a radical change in her life.

4. Where legalists see miserable sinners, Jesus sees potential saints. Throughout the New Testament, we see lives radically transformed by following Jesus Christ. God doesn’t offer us a time machine to go back and change what we’ve done. But Jesus Christ gives us the next best thing: a second chance. Jesus is the God of second chances. He gives you the opportunity to change your life – beginning today.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.