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, 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, 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.