Devos

A Long Overdue Update

Hey friends and family!

It has been way too long since I have sent out an official update. I know some of you follow our podcast or Facebook posts, but here is an attempt to summarize a whirlwind two-years (and if you just want the bottom line: our new church is moving to a new building).

If you just want the bottom line:

our new church is moving to a new building!

For those who don’t know about our journey, let me back up a bit.

4 years ago I was enjoying pastoring NewCommunity Church in Glendora, CA with amazing leaders and community.  I loved our church (still do love the people!).  I was blessed and content. Then Jesus spoke to me in a dream.  He took my wife and I to St. Louis, under the arch, and said, “This is your city”.  The compassion of Jesus overwhelmed me as I began to weep and declare God’s unfailing love over my city.  I awoke and the Lord continued to speak to me and show me what He envisioned to do through this ministry.  We passed NewCommunity to amazing leaders and it is thriving (visit Thrive Glendora).

2 years ago we left SoCal, close friends and family, comfort-zones, In-N-Out, the suburbs, and the beach.  We have been stretched in our faith, in our emotions, in our energy.  I feel like we stepped out on water and are still out of the boat every day!

In October 2016, we started the church with a team of 12 adults in the heart of the city of St. Louis.  We are a campus of The Rock (a multi-campus church originating in Anaheim, CA under Pastors Jerry and Kimberly Dirmann).  We are so humbled and thankful for the covering, support, wisdom, and partnership of The Rock.

Our church has grown (little by little) just like Jesus told me.  The church is diverse just like Jesus told me.  After a few months, one leader noted to me, “Our church is made up of people from almost every continent!”.  Well, not Antartica or Australia, but we are moving in the right direction.   We are seeing people return to the Lord, grow in faith, and be healed.  I love it!  It has been slow and trying many times (especially during ice storms), but it is always worth it to obey Jesus and love people.

We were born for adventure.

Our kids long for the danger of doing something eternal.

I currently work during the day for a Commercial General Contractor as a project Accountant.  In all my years of ministry and non-profit work I have never done finance!  It is funny to me how the Lord has provided such a good job with a great company.  A year ago I didn’t every know what “accounts payable” meant and now I am assisting the CFO to build systems and manage the financials of the company.  I can relate a little more to the Apostle Paul who worked so he would not be a burden to the churches he was starting.

God has provided every need of our church and my family thus far.  A friend recently asked me, “What is the best thing about the church plant?”  Among all the testimonies and all the new members I adore, my family is still the greatest highlight.  I have watched Michele blossom in her leadership, my kids witness the hand of God, and the Lord unite our hearts in a deeper way.  So many christians play it safe and insulate their children (really hide from their calling behind their children).  But we were born for adventure; our kids long for the danger of doing something eternal.

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And now we are moving to our own building in July!  Once again, the Lord has answered prayer.  He has directed our steps to the right location for us at this time.  We are in the process of securing a lease and preparing to move to our new building, where we will start with two services (9&11am).  Our team is super excited, full of expectation, focused on the vision, and moved with compassion for people.  My greatest joy is serving people with a team of like-mind leaders full of faith, love, humility, passion, and devotion.  The Lord has provided this team and the resources we need thus far.  After our strategic planning meeting a month ago, a shout of praise and roar of intercession exploded spontaneously from the team-I was thrilled by their faith!  Our goal is to move in July 1 and we will update everyone has the dates become solidified.

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This is the first floor of the new building!  This will be the main sanctuary. 

We are also believing God for $20,000 for our new building.  We need to purchase chairs, new signs and fliers, renovations for the sanctuary stage and kids classrooms, additional sound and lighting equipment, and such.  As you can image, it adds up.

If the Lord stirs your heart, we would be so grateful.

Would you consider partnering with us in prayer and giving?  Our diverse, urban church is stretching out to reach more people and make an impact in St. Louis.  I am convinced the vision Jesus showed me 4 years ago will continue to unfold and come to pass.  We could use your support to bump us into this next phase.  If the Lord stirs your heart, we would be so grateful.

Here is how you can join us in reaching our goal:

PRAYING with us in faith for all of the resources we need; for hundreds to be reached; and for the glory of the Lord to fill our church.

GIVING FINANCIALLY.  Give now.  This link will bring you to our church’s online giving portal powered by Secure Give.  Be sure to choose our campus, St. Louis English, and to donate to “Heart for the Harvest”, which goes directly to our specific facility and outreach goals in this season.

Thank you!

Pastor David

Dignity

When you don’t know who you are, the enemy can lie to you. When you don’t know what you have, the enemy can steal from you.  In this series of messages, God has been speaking to us about our inheritance-what we have in Christ as His blood bought children.  We need to know who we are and what we have in Christ so we can walk in confidence into all God has for us.

In this message, we explore our inheritance of financial dignity.  Though this truth entails more than finances, there is a dignity we have as children of God who have promises from God.  That dignity can free us from the easy traps of envy and fear and empower us to be extravagant givers, wise investors, and content enjoyers of life.

Enjoy!

Eternal Inheritance

Eternity puts life in perspective.  

When you see your eternal inheritance in Christ, even beyond the blessings of this life, it puts suffering and success in the right light.  All of the pain and heartache of this present life cannot compare to the weight of glory we will experience in heaven.  Even all of God’s blessings now, and our calling now, cannot compare to the weight of glory we will receive.  When we know our eternal inheritance, we can access that inheritance by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit for our life now.

In this message, be refreshed by a glimpse at your eternal inheritance and be reminded that the Holy Spirit is the down payment of that inheritance.  Eternal life doesn’t start when you die; it starts now.  I pray you would be filled with hope as you listen to God’s word.

Enjoy!

Immunity

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits.”

-Psalm 103:2

King David shows us that there are benefits to being in covenant with God.  Too often we are unaware or forgetful about these benefits.  We need to know we are as children of God and what we have in Him so that we can appropriate those promised blessings into our lives and so that we will turn our hearts toward God in worship rather than turn away in offense, fear, or shame.

In this message, I pray God opens your eyes to see just how awesome your inheritance is in Christ.  I am confident that when you see, fear and anxiety will fall away and confidence and creativity will explode in your life.   You are not alone; you have a God!  He is with you and has made promises to you.  I pray you receive all He has for you.

Enjoy!

Unity Needs A Foundation

I have these nice dress shoes I wear when I preach.  I think they are from Kohl’s.  They are anointed-with my sweat and fire!  I signed the bottom of them with my pastor signature, which is illegible according to my daughter.  How much do you think I could sell them for?

I also have a pair of Lebron James’ shoes worn during the final game of the 2016 NBA championship, anointed with his sweat, signed with his hand (ok, I am pretending).  How much do you think I could sell them for?

The first rule of value: an object’s worth is derived from its owner.  

The creator’s value is tied to the object’s value.  The object, by osmosis, inherits the value of its owner. A broken guitar, a sketch, a game ball, a baseball card.  None of these objects have much value unless their owner endows them with it.  A Jimi Hendrex burnt guitar sold for over 380K.  A Da Vinci sketch is priced at 16 million.  Mark McGwire’s 70th-homerun-ball is worth 3 million. A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card is worth over $500,000.  Each is a piece of the owner; something that ties us to them and their greatness.

In Psalm 8 King David declares a foundational truth: “What is man that You are mindful of him….You have crowned him with glory and honor.”  Every person is created by God; every person is important to Him.  Why!?  Because they bear His image, carry His glory, and where His crown.  Glory and honor!  Human flesh wrapped in the beauty of God, showered with esteem from heaven, lifted up from dust to be given meaning and purpose.  Because of the Creator, the created has value.  If He is of infinite worth, inestimable value, then those whom He made in His image are endowed with, infused with, that value.  His is an inherent value; ours is derived. 

Because of the Creator, the created has value.

This truth is the foundation of all biblical ethics and commands.  From the first chapter of the bible, the foundation is laid in love.  The value of every person is the basis for love and love is the basis for all true human relations and societal laws.  Remove a human beings dignity and you open the door to atrocities, oppressions, injustices, and violence.

Our society, as a whole, has removed this foundation.  There is no solid ground to build upon.  But, as our Master Jesus, told us, “Not so among you!”  We know this truth; we delight in this truth.  Now we must be governed by this truth.  We are glad to be valued by God; now He is calling us to see the same in every person we meet.  Our eyes must see the glorious treasure inside each soul; our hearts must be drawn to their value; our words must voice their honor; our hands must protect their dignity; our lives must bring forth their purpose.

People sometimes ask me how to cultivate unity, or a diverse community, or an atmosphere of acceptance.  It is this simple: I endeavor to value and add value to EVERY person I meet.

So if you have never heard, or you wonder, or its been awhile: you are VALUABLE!  You matter to God and to me.  You are created in the image of God.  You are beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your days are written in God’s book.  He thinks about you so much that his good intentions towards you are more than the sand of the seashore.  You are glorious.  You are not a product of random chance or natural selection or mutations.  You are the artwork of God.  The desire of His heart.  The apple of His eye. You are worth more than Lebron James’ shoes or Mickey Mantle’s baseball card.  You are worth the glory of your Creator.

Now go see it in others and speak it into their soul.  Now create environments charged with honor, where every person is valued and welcomed.

Undiluted

You gotta know who you are!  You gotta know what God has given you in Christ!  God says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.  I have found that when we don’t know, we are vulnerable to insecurities, fears, and even sin.  But when we know, the truth frees us, fills us with confidence, brings rest, and motivates and empowers us to live a life that pleases God.

Do you know who you are?  Do you know you have an inheritance in Christ?  In this message, you will see that you have an undiluted inheritance in Christ.  The same power, authority, blessings, and promises we read in the bible are your inheritance.  But if you don’t know, you won’t appropriate them to your life.  I pray you will blessed by this message as you see what is yours.  And I pray you would become solid in Christ as you come to Him with faith.

Enjoy!

A Voice For Unity

I recently read a news article that, in essence, claimed that the “experiment” of racial unity in churches was dead.  Well, not where I live!  

I recognize we have deep, historical roots of pride and  injustice.  I recognize we have lots of work still to do until we “all come to unity of faith and the knowledge of Son of God”; until we fulfill the prayer of Jesus, “that they would be one Father as You and I are one” on earth as it is in heaven.  But the “experiment” is not dead.  These “statistics” and “social observations” are non-scientific; these individuals see what they want to see.  They claim churches are homogenous.  Well, they haven’t been to my church yet!  We are far from our vision and far from perfection, but we are on the way and picking up the pace. I feel like we are becoming a church for those “in-between”.

During a motivational seminar, I was recently reminded of the “expectancy theory” that states, “whatever you focus on expands”.  Scripture presents a corollary principal: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  What we give voice to, influences our hearts and minds.  We plant words, like seeds, into our souls and those ideas produce fruit in our attitudes and actions.  Ideas become institutions; words shape environment; concepts mold culture, thoughts forms systems.

If we give voice to disunity, it will consume our society.  And no house divided against itself can stand.  It inevitably will fall.  If we give voice to unity,  it will heal our society.   As we learn from Galatians 6, we harvest the fruit of the seed we sow.  If we talk about unity, it will grow.

Negative voices are constantly bombarding us with the problems of race relations, division and such in our country.  There is place for this as it can, when executed correctly, bring awareness, stir holy indignation, and arouse action.  Like an accurate diagnosis of a disease can lead to a life-saving cure, examination of our social problem can lead to transformation.  But diagnosis without prognosis is only disappear.  To vent anger or spew criticism, leaves our “patient” with no hope.  There is a vast difference between, “You have a tumor, but if we act now we can save your life” and “You have a tumor, there is nothing we can do.”  The later is what the divisive words are sowing.  you mean well, you are making an observation, but you lack the sight beyond your experience, the hope beyond your world.  I refuse to stay there!

These divisive words are both the cause and the engine of our current state of division.  Rather than helping us move towards a cure, they are exacerbating the problem.  Our words, often on the news and in social media, are doing great harm.

I am committing to be a voice of unity; one who carries words of life on his tongue; one whose speech builds bridges.

I want to sow seeds into our culture that will both heal the wounds of the past and create the future we need and desire.  If we want a different future, we must speak different words.  I invite you, friend, to do the same.

Cut out sentences that contrast “us” and “them” and starting talking about “we”.  Elevate your generalities to specifics.  Who are “they” anyways!? And not everyone on the left or the right, the white or the black, the rich or the poor, the urban or the suburban are the same.  Transition from speaking about problems, to offering solutions. Criticism and cyncism are easy; strategic solutions require work, faith, and love.  Stop judging people’s motives while giving yourself grace.  You know what I mean; it sounds like, “They really want…”, “They don’t really care about…”.  Let’s be honest, we cannot see someone’s heart, we can only see their actions.  Take responsibility for your part–we cannot speak of another’s responsibility (i.e. “they should…”), without also speaking of our own. Cut out derogatory language–we never have the right to speak evil of or curse another person.  As God says, “Do not speak evil of one another” (James 4:11).

Speak words of honor about others.  Highlight the best in people.  Assume people have something to teach you; ask questions and actually listen and consider.  Emphasize our similarities, connections, and oneness.  Value differences–different perspectives, colors, gifts, and personalities.  Our differences can be the way forward; can be the weapon of unity rather than the weapon of disunity.  Share testimonies of those who are succeeding rather than failing.  Celebrate the victories, even small wins.  Have conversations about solutions rather than problems.

So, I declare that God’s vision for a unified church will become a reality; the prayer of Jesus will be answered on earth as it is in heaven.  And the church will become light again.  A hope to the world; a testimony of God’s brilliant, loving work of redemption.

I see leaders rising up with noble hearts, ready to serve the people rather than their own self-ambitions.  I see leaders who will lead the “streams” into one river, knowing that “all things are ours in Christ”.  I see walls of offense, fear and pride coming down.  I see a church that lives out the vision the Apostle Paul had when he called for “brotherly love” among rich and poor, slave and free, male and female, Jew and non-Jew.  I see a church on earth as it is in heaven: the redeemed of the Lord representing every tribe, language, people-group, and ethnicity, which implies an accentuation of our differences, a celebration of our uniqueness.  Singing, dressing, talking, relating in our own cultural flair–a unity in diversity, a beautiful mosaic of worship to our Maker, God and Father.

How is this possible!?  Honor is the key to unity.  I’ll have to talk about that in another devo because I am out of time.

Join me in being a voice of unity.   Let’s speak life and sow seeds into our culture that will both heal the wounds of the past and create the future we need and desire.