Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Lesson from Kobe Bryant

I don’t know about you, but I was stunned after church this past Sunday when a couple of our teens informed me that Kobe Bryant had just been killed in a helicopter crash. At first, I thought that the boys were pulling my leg. How could it possibly be true? As long-time Lakers fans, my wife Christine and I have spent many hours over the past twenty years watching Kobe score more points than all but three players in NBA history. Kobe was only 41 years old, and he had a wife and four kids who needed him. How could this happen?

Sadly, it could happen because life here on earth is fragile. Helicopters crash. Bullets fly. Cancer strikes. And floodwaters rise. No wonder the Scriptures tell us in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

This is what we are striving to do each and every week at Impact Christian Church. We aren’t promised next year or next month. So, surrounded by 78,000 neighbors within a five-mile radius, we are setting up shop at the Ralph Baker School in Victorville every Sunday morning, making the most of every opportunity to lead people to Jesus Christ.

I was relieved to learn that Kobe Bryant was a faithful church attender. He attended an early morning Catholic mass just minutes before boarding the helicopter in Orange County. Although much Catholic teaching pollutes the pure gospel message communicated in Scripture, I hold on to the hope that Kobe, his daughter, and the other seven passengers on that helicopter were believers and followers of Jesus Christ. If so, they are in Paradise with our awesome God right now. Please join me in praying for Kobe’s wife Vanessa, her remaining three kids, and the tens of millions of people around the world who are grappling with their own mortality.

When a tragedy like this happens, it serves as a wake-up call for all of us. We must make the most of every opportunity to express our love to our spouses, our kids, and our grandkids. We must make the most of every opportunity to point our family, friends, and neighbors to Jesus Christ so that they don’t have to play the guessing game—wondering whether or not they will make it to heaven after they die. And we as a church family must continue making the most of every opportunity to roll up our sleeves and do what God has called us to do: To love others, learn God’s word, and serve Him until every last person is reached with the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.

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, January 27, 2020

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

- Psalm 139:13-14

This past Wednesday marked the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in the United States. In its landmark Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court concluded that the 14th Amendment protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. Since Roe v. Wade was passed, more than 63 million babies have been aborted in the United States. To put that number into perspective, 63 million is more than the entire population of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and New Mexico … combined.

That’s a huge number. And that’s a tragic number. Many of us are hoping and praying that someday soon, the Supreme Court will take a stand for the life of the unborn child. But regardless of what the Supreme Court does or doesn’t do, there’s a much bigger issue to consider. You see, as a nation, we have forgotten how precious human life is. In recent decades our culture has been steadily devaluing—cheapening--human life. And many of us in the church haven’t even realized it. We’ve become desensitized to the cheapening of human life.

But from the first chapter of the Bible, God makes it clear that He places great value on life. On the fifth and sixth days of Creation, God created the birds and fish and mammals, then culminated His work with the creation of man. As we read these great verses, you’ll notice a phrase being repeated along the way: “God saw that it was good.” The word “good” comes from the Hebrew word “tob,” which can also be translated as “beautiful.” Bottom line: Every living thing that God created is good and beautiful.

But of all the living things that God created, only human beings were created in the image of God. And in Genesis 2, we discover that man alone is created as a moral being with the ability to choose right or wrong, good or evil. And we learn in that same chapter that man alone is given the privilege of being in a relationship with God. The Bible teaches us these important lessons about the unique sanctity of human life:

1) God creates all life on earth as good and beautiful—but He creates human life as sacred. The word “sacred” means “connected to God and dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.” Every human life is sacred, connected to God in a way that a dog or cat or dolphin’s life couldn’t be. Every human life is dedicated to a religious purpose: to take care of God’s creation and worship Him in a way that His other creations never could—to serve Him and work with Him to expand His Kingdom in a way that no other creature could.
Every human life is sacred. Therefore, all human life deserves to be respected and valued.

2) God creates human life in the womb; therefore, the life of the unborn child is good, beautiful and sacred. Genesis 1 makes it clear that God created human life as good, beautiful and sacred. And in Psalm 139, David makes it clear that God makes that life good, beautiful and sacred from the very beginning—in the mother’s womb. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (vs. 13). Before David was born God was knitting him together, piece by piece, in his mother’s womb. Before David was born he was already “fearfully and wonderfully made.” So, when the word of God tells us that the life in a mother’s womb is “human” life, it clearly indicates that the unborn child is connected to God, dedicated to a religious purpose, and that it should be respected and valued.

3) God has a purpose and plan for our lives before we are born. When it comes to the life of the unborn child, there have been many lies circulating over the past 47 years. We have been told over and over again that a baby in the womb is just “a clump of cells” or “a mass of tissue.” We’ve been told that it’s a “fetus” with human cells, but it is NOT a human being. But if you look at images of a fetus from just a few weeks old, those pictures are worth a thousand words. A tiny baby human looks like a human—because he IS a human, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in his mother’s womb. And as God tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 makes it clear that God has a plan for our lives before we are born. But, sadly, abortion snuffs out the life of a baby that God is knitting together in a mother’s womb. And abortion snuffs out that human life in an incredibly cruel way.

If you believe God’s word to be true—if you believe that all human life is good, beautiful and sacred—you need to stand up and speak up for life, especially when it’s time to vote. Whether we’re talking about an unborn child or a toddler or a teenager or a homeless man at the offramp or a senior on dialysis … ALL human life is good, beautiful and sacred. And God has called us as His sons and daughters to be caretakers of His most precious creation. We are His ambassadors, commissioned by Him to stand up for, proclaim and defend the sanctity of human life: young and old, born and unborn, male and female, black and white, rich and poor, healthy and sick. All human life is fearfully and wonderfully made by our amazing Creator. And we need to do our part to speak this truth to everyone who will listen. 

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, January 20, 2020

Are You Crazy?

“If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God.”

- 2 Corinthians 5:13

I’m going to get this out of the way right up front: The greatest followers of Christ are a little bit nuts. Think about it: The most effective, world-changing followers of Christ tend to be a little off their rocker. Take Paul and Silas, for example. In the city of Philippi, they were arrested, severely beaten, and thrown in jail. As they sat there, bloody and bruised and in horrible pain, what did they do at midnight? They started singing hymns of praise to God. How about Noah? He built the world’s biggest ship in the middle of the desert. How about Ezekiel? He preached to a pile of dry bones. And what about Jesus himself? He touched contagious lepers. That’s not sanitary!  He jeopardized his reputation by eating with prostitutes and lowlifes. That’s not smart!  And on Passover week he walked into Jerusalem knowing full-well that he was going to be arrested, tortured and nailed to a cross to die. That’s crazy, right?

But I’ve got news for you. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you ought to be a little bit nuts yourself. In this world where we are surrounded by “normal” people, Jesus Christ calls his followers to be abnormal for him. As I mentioned in last week’s column, if you really want to please God, and at the same time be the biggest blessing to others, lead people to Jesus Christ. It sounds a little bit nuts to lead people into a saving relationship with a man who lived 2,000 years ago—doesn’t it?

But we know that Jesus was no ordinary man. He’s the God-man! And every single person in the world needs him much more than they realize. If we want to please God, leading people to Jesus Christ is the right thing to do. But God doesn’t want us to just do the right thing. He wants us to do the right thing with the right motives. And in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul points out three godly motives for persuading people to believe in Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God.

Godly Motive #1: The fear of the Lord. Sadly, most American Christians seem to have forgotten how vital it is to fear God. But we should know better. As followers of Christ, we know that God is a holy God, set apart from all sin and all selfishness. And He expects us to be set aside from all sin and all selfishness. If we’re not, there’s a good chance we’re not really saved. God is a just God, and He will justly punish sinners in hell for all eternity. So, every one of us should maintain a healthy fear of God. Our healthy fear of God--and of the eternal consequences of rebellion against God--motivates us to persuade people to turn from their sin and be reconciled to God through Christ. Because we know what it is to fear God, the thought of anyone around us spending eternity in Hell should scare us.

Godly Motive #2: The love of Christ. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it 100 times: God loves you. But God doesn’t just love the new you. God loved you when you were unlovely. God loved you when you were unlovable. And that’s one of the most remarkable things about God’s love: It’s undeserved. It’s unconditional. You might even say: God’s love is a little bit nuts—a crazy kind of love. According to verse 15, Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. And he died for us so that we could live for him. As a wise Christian once said: “Christ died our death for us that we might live His life for Him.” And Christ’s great love should compel us to live every day of our lives as a thank you gift to Him, as an offering to him, as an act of love to him. And as we live our lives for Jesus, what is one of the best ways to truly show Him our thanks and love? Persuading sinners he loves to accept him and be reconciled to God.

Godly Motive #3: Understanding our duty and privilege. According to verses 18-21, there’s another reason why every Christian should make personal evangelism a top priority. You should persuade people to accept Christ and be reconciled to God because it is your duty. And it is your privilege. Once we get to heaven, we won’t be able to evangelize. We won’t be able to lead anyone to salvation in Christ, because everyone in heaven will already be saved! So, it’s our duty to take this opportunity we have here on earth to lead people to Jesus. If you and I don’t do it now, we won’t ever be able to do it again. And it is our privilege. Do you realize that the angels would love to be able to do what we get to do every week? The angels would love to be able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with people and see them snatched out of Satan’s grasp. While you’re here on earth, you have a golden opportunity to bring dozens of people to heaven with you. God wants to draw people to Himself through you. So, let Him! Don’t neglect your duty. And don’t squander your privilege.

So, the next time you catch yourself saying, “Evangelism isn’t my thing,” remember that your life as a follower of Christ is not supposed to be about doing “my thing.” It’s supposed to be about doing “His” thing. Saving lost souls is definitely “His” thing. And there’s nothing crazy about that.

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

Friday, January 10, 2020

Out With the Old, In With the New

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” - 2 Corinthians 5:9

Last week, millions of Americans made New Year’s Resolutions. According to a survey featured on, these were some of the most popular resolutions for 2020: “Stop procrastinating.” “Manage stress better.” “Exercise.” “Lose weight.” Now, these aren’t bad goals. All of them could be very good things to accomplish. But if you think about it … all of these new year’s resolutions could be made and successfully carried out by an atheist.

But for people who proclaim that Jesus Christ is the most important person in our lives—people who believe that our lives here on earth are just a drop in the water bucket of eternity—these goals are rather shallow. You see, our best goals don’t just aim to make ME temporarily better here on earth. Our best goals aim to make an eternal impact on others and to please God. Wouldn’t it have been encouraging if some of these goals had made the list: “Donate blood five times this year.” “Volunteer every month at my local pregnancy center.” “Take my family to church every week.” “Lead one person to a saving knowledge of Christ in 2020.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:9, Paul reminds us: “We make it our goal to please [God], whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” In other words, whether we’re here on earth or there in heaven, our goal as believers and followers of Jesus Christ is to please God. And as we look ahead to 2020, we should ask ourselves this important question: How are we going to please God this year?

Everyone loves a fresh start. Maybe that’s why, for many of us, 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of our favorite verses in the whole Bible: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” This is an awesome verse—in fact, it’s the theme verse for our student ministries at Impact Christian Church. But we shouldn’t forget the context that surrounds this verse. When we become a “new creation” in Christ, Paul tells us that the “old has gone.” But what “old” things is he talking about?

According to 2 Corinthians 5:16, one of the “old” things that is gone is our perspective on people. Before we became followers of Christ, we viewed most people around us as annoying and inconvenient, didn’t we? And when we’re stuck in traffic in the Cajon Pass, or tenth in line at WalMart, we may still view people this way. But according to verse 17, when we are followers of Christ, God gives us a “new” perspective on people.

And that new perspective is explained in verses 18 and 19: that God reconciled himself to us through Jesus Christ, giving us, his followers, the ministry of reconciliation. Instead of having a self-centered perspective of people, God has given us an others-centered perspective. The New Testament teaches us to use that perspective to love our neighbors, pray for those who persecute us, forgive others and be kind and compassionate to them. But according to verse 20, one of the very best ways that we can live out our others-centered perspective is to be Jesus’ ambassadors who “implore” (urge) people to “be reconciled to God.”

In other words, the best thing that I could ever do for another person is to lead him or her into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And the best thing that I could ever do for a person is also the best thing that I could ever do for God Himself. If you really want to please God and, at the same time, be the biggest blessing to others, then lead people to Jesus Christ.

If you’re a Christian, you are a new creation in Christ. And your greatest role as a new creation in Christ is as an ambassador for Christ. He is sending you into your family, into your neighborhood, into your workplace, into your school, and into your local WalMart to be his ambassador. Wherever you go and whoever you’re with, you represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He has commissioned you to love and serve people by leading them to Him. And that’s a blessing that will last far beyond 2020—all the way into eternity.

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

Friday, January 3, 2020

Try 20/20 Prayer in 2020!

“This, then, is how you should pray.” – Matthew 6:9a

It was a little over 20 years ago. I had been a pastor for only a month or two, and I remember saying to myself, “Dane, what were you thinking when you took this job?”

I didn’t say that because I wanted to jump ship. This church was great. But the reality had hit me: I was 25 years old, trying to teach God’s word to a group of people, most of whom were older than myself. And many of them had been Christians twice as long as I’d been alive! How could I possibly teach them anything?

Good question. And God gave me an even better answer: “No matter how old someone is in the church, I am much older. And no matter how wise someone is in the Church, My Word is wiser. So if you stick to prayerfully teaching My powerful word, your age will be irrelevant.”  What a marvelous insight that was to this young, insecure pastor. And it was during that early season of ministry that God taught me to pray—really pray. Learning to lean on God through prayer helped me do a task that was far too big and far too hard for me to do on my own. As a bonus, my relationship with God became much closer and more meaningful.

Do you long for that? Do you want to partner with God to do things that you could never accomplish on your own? Do you want your relationship with Christ to be closer than it’s ever been? Well, prayer is the key.

Not sure how to pray? Just take a look at Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:5-15. It’s usually called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but a more fitting name for it would be “The Disciples’ Prayer,” since Jesus gave it to us as an example to follow. And there’s a simple recipe based on this prayer that you can use right away to make your personal prayer times more enjoyable and more impactful. It’s easy to remember because it’s spelled out in four little letters: P-R-A-Y.

The “P” in PRAY stands for PRAISE. We all have times when we’re in crisis and don’t have time to pray anything but “God, help! Help!” But as a rule of thumb, just as The Lord’s Prayer begins with praise and adoration, so too should our prayers. Before we get into the “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” petitions within our prayers, we should spend some time praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He’s done.        

The “R” in PRAY stands for REPENT. Honestly, confession and repentance are almost non-existent in our prayers. When we DO remember to ask for forgiveness, we say something very short and vague like, “Lord, forgive me for my sins.” Well, that’s a start. But if our personal prayer times are going to be more powerful, we can’t be vague or half-hearted when bringing our sins to God. He takes our sins very seriously, and so should we. We know that in Christ, our sins are forgiven. But that’s beside the point. As we talk with God, we should grieve for our sins—our foul language, our bad tempers, our lustful thoughts, our lack of love and respect to our spouses—in order to truly repent.

The “A” in PRAY stands for ASK. Most of us are pretty good at asking. But we don’t always remember to think about the needs of those around us. So, let me suggest to you that you incorporate three kinds of asking into your prayers: 1) Ask for your church; 2) Ask for your community; 3) Ask for your family and yourself.

The “Y” in PRAY stands for YIELD. In the Garden of Gethsemene, when Jesus knew that his arrest and beating and crucifixion were just minutes away, he cried out in prayer, “Father, let this cup pass from me! But not my will, but Yours be done.” In the same spirit, Jesus teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer to ask, “Your will be done.”

Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield: Four critical pieces to the prayer puzzle. You don’t need to be eloquent; you don’t need to have the perfect words. God’s idea of a “good” prayer is much different from ours. God isn’t impressed by longwinded prayers filled with flowery language and religious jargon. He is drawn to the humble, simple prayers of His followers who come to Him in their helplessness with hearts drawn to His. So, just go to God and talk with Him with your own unique voice in your own unique way. And as you talk with Him, praise Him, repent of your sin, ask Him to meet needs, and yield to His will. That’s it! That’s 20/20 prayer for 2020.

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