Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Embrace Your True Identity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Strangers on Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 11, 2019

When God’s Tests Don’t Make Sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 4, 2019

Following God’s Directions … Without a Map

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Build an Ark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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