“Get some espresso and wake up.”

Cammi and Ethan

About Midnight, I was finally ready to go to sleep.

Then it happened. (dramatic pause)

An event that is all too familiar for parents. From the moment our children are born, an event takes place, frequently, that will interrupt sleep and delay your planned slumber for at least 20 minutes wondering if “the event” will happen again. It’s called: the bad dream.

Ethan came running into the room. It was apparent that he was not yet awake. He just kept saying, “Dad, help me…I’m gonna steal.” I’ll admit, I was a little confused. My reaction: I started laughing. He as babbling mostly unintelligible words and rubbing his eyes. I walked him back down to his room and laid him in his bed, yes, still mumbling about how he was going to steal. Some bad dream woke him up and sent him running to the safest place he knew. He has a definite fear of them. In fact, when we pray, he has me pray EVERY night for “no dreams.” I don’t know what’s on his mind that causes his dreams but he would rather not dream at all than, in his mind, risk a possible nightmare.

Cammi is a bit different. The battle in her mind takes place before she sleeps. For almost 13 years, she has been known to get out of bed before falling asleep complaining about “bad thoughts.” She is much like her dad. In the stillness of the night, her mind begins to ponder things lost in the business of the day. The mind gets consumed. The mind takes her places.

Both children prove an amazing point: The Mind is a powerful thing.

Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT) When I look at a parallel bible, every translation says “Guard your heart…” I looked up the meaning of this word and it says “inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding. To get some deeper understanding of the context, the Hebrew way of thinking says that the heart was not the seat of emotion. The seat of emotion was your intestines or in the KJV “bowels.” (That will make for weird Valentines cards.) It seems to me that this scripture is, more so, charging us to guard that part of us we carrying our will, fortitude, and understanding. We are to guard, protect, and watch over our minds. This is consistent with the translation of the word “repentance” when Paul uses it in Romans. Paul uses a word that we associate with our heart (giving our heart to Jesus, pouring out our heart to the Lord, etc). The word is really associated with our mind. It means, literally, to think differently afterwords. When we repent, we are asking for a change of, not our hearts, but our thinking. God knows that IF a person truly believes differently, then he will feel differently and then he will behave differently.

We are to protect that which, according to Proverbs 4:23, “determines the course of your life.”

For example:

My interpretation impacts my reaction – It’s not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. That is tough for me. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth. I can stay being a victim or a victor.

My beliefs impact my conduct – We always act according to our beliefs, even when those ideas are false. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are operating on true information! Your convictions about yourself, about life, and about God influence your conduct.

My self-criticism influences my self-esteem – (This may be my biggest battle) We constantly talk to ourselves. Do you run yourself down with your self-talk? Or, in an effort to feel better about what you think, do you tear down others! Stop doing that: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

I know what my kids watch, read, or listen to affect what they think AND what they dream. It will determine their course…and their sleep.

It’s time to wake up!!!

Guard your mind! Get control of it!!!

Get the Word inside of ya.

Get your minds on the Lord’s perspective.

Why? If you believe different, you will feel different, and you will behave different. And when do you that, you will “determine the course of your life.” If you find yourself confused…if you find yourself with bad thoughts…if you find yourself with no vision…if you find yourself with “bad dreams”…

Follow Ethan’s lead.

Run to the safest place you know. Proverbs 18:10

(In case you needed some inspiration for waking up…my new favorite band All Sons and Daughters)

That’s all I have for today.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

5 Things I want @Kalamazoofirst to know…

Happy Monday KFirst!

There a few things I would love to share with you today…

#1 – What a great morning yesterday!!!  It’s an incredible sight to see people with  “brazen tenacity” praying at the altar.  Some stood.  Some were on their face.  Some knelt in tears. We all focused on who the Lord is and brought that perspective into our prayer life. As one of our TRUTHS said, “The greatest barrier during prayer is not the words or the liturgy but the concept of God.” Find some time this week to pause life and spend time with the Lord.  Open up your Bible and let the Word speak into you.  A TRUTH we didn’t share yesterday (skipped over it): “The bible is primarily about someone to know, not something to do.”  Get to know the Lord better this week.  The only way to foster relationship is to spend time developing it.

#2 – We closed our series “Parables.”  I cannot wait to launch “Dust” in September.   This series has been developing in my heart for quite a few months.  There is an old saying, “May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” Reason being, years ago, disciples who closely followed their rabbis along sandy, dirty roads would get covered, quite literally, with the dust of their rabbi.  Join us on this journey as we launch a new series that explores our endeavor to follow Jesus, our teacher/rabbi.  I’m so excited to travel this journey with you.

#3 – We’ve announced our renovation project of the new “Ministry Center.  Our renovation does more than provide ministry for the our next generations (in my opinion, that would be enough), but it will open up more opportunities for ministry to the whole church. It’s been fun to hear kids and parents are excited about what is in store.  I celebrate the Lord’s provision for the vision He has given KFirst.

KFirst Ministry Center

#4 – Again, this is a great time to invite people to church.  There is something about the beginning of the school year where people are looking to start a new pattern of life. It’s a time of new beginnings. What a great time to be living parables…telling the story of Christ with our lives. We had a great Guest Reception yesterday after service.  It’s so exciting to meet new families and hear how the Lord is working in their lives. Thanks to Kfirst for living out the love of Christ on Sunday mornings and making them feel welcome.

Look for moments this week to connect with those in your neighborhood and look for way to invite them out.   

#5 – Some private schools have started today.  Some of your kids won’t go back till after Labor Day.  Remember to pray over all of our kids this week.  Remember to pray over those who work diligently in our schools (teachers, admin, janitors, bus drivers, etc.).  As I said last week, look for a way to connect with your kids during this week.  Give them one last great memory of the summer before they head back to school. Back To School Sunday is this week and it’s gonna be awesome.  You don’t want to miss it.

That’s it for this Monday…I love serving KFirst and cannot WAIT for this Sunday.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Like a boss

These three words haunt my home.

“…like a boss”

Why? Because my 9-year-old son attaches these words to everything he does.

  • “I just played Minecraft…like a boss”
  • “I just dominated dad in Halo…like a boss”
  • “I’m gonna go shoot my BB gun…like a boss”
  • (after shooting a target) “you see that dad…like a boss”
  • He now tweets #likeaboss @ethanbarringer

I’m sure he’d stop saying it if I would simply stop laughing every time he says it. It’s entertaining to me.  It’s annoying to both his mom and sister.  But this morning, “like a boss” got me thinking about one word: authority.

We live out daily that which has authority over our lives.  Our demeanor, attitudes, habits etc. all make “bullhorn” statements about who, or what, has the most influence in our lives.  Every day is a decision.  Joshua 24:15 challenges Israel, “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve.”  I used to approach that as a one-time choice to live a journey of following the Lord.  It’s as if once the choice was made and, because of the one choice, everything just falls into place. Even though I made that decision so long ago, I’ve come to the realization that the longer I follow Christ I realize it’s not a once time choice.  It is a daily choice.  And daily I live out a life that reveals His authority.

TODAY I chose to trust Jesus with everything.

TODAY I chose to live out Jesus everywhere.

TODAY I choose to surrender “with all that is within me (Ps. 103:1)” entirely.

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Cast off comes from two Greek words

  • apo meaning “from”
  • tithemi meaning “to put in place”.
  • Literally, the word means to remove from its place.

We are challenged to WAKE UP! The day is at hand. The night is gone.  Get up and throw off those old works and connections to the darkness that infected you.  They were once statements of declared authority. Get rid of them.

It is obvious when I have cut the grass.  I am dirty.  I am sweaty. I am covered in dust. My shoes are filled with clippings, and, according to Anne, I stink. Everything about me, including my smell, screams “Dave just cut the grass.” Once I shower, I don’t put the “grass cutting” clothes on. I put them away (sometimes I miss the hamper). I’m clean and I don’t want my connection to those filthy garments on me anymore.

Just like putting on clean clothes after a shower.  Put away that which has been soiled and infected.  In Christ you are now healed.  Now you are clean.  Those old authorities carry a disease that want to take you down.  As the Greek word says, remove them from their place….CAST THEM OFF!!!! Do it now, today, for yourself.  Put on something new and alive.  Put on Christ. Throw off the old dead stuff and get going.  It’s up to you!

As a teenager, I lived for a number of years thinking I could choose Jesus as my authority while not living it out.  It turned out to be simple “lip service.” I wasn’t living out what my words were saying. What will you choose to do with those “things” that want to approach you “like a boss”? God can cast away your guilt.  In fact, He is the only one who can do that.  You must determine what to do with the things that wrestle for your every attention.  They want back in.  They are hungry for authority.  You are entirely free to let them go since they no longer hold you with the power of shame and guilt.  But the decision is yours.

You are not a child who needs to be dressed and undressed.

You are a citizen of the Kingdom.

You have the authority and the power in Christ of removing what once held you captive.

God has opened the jail door but YOU must walk out.

Approach today different.  Today is the day, a new day to choose Christ.  Today is the day let Jesus in your life…like a boss.

Thanks for letting me ramble…like a boss.

Headlines from a weekend @ KFirst…

Happy Monday KFirst

This is the official launch of the PDave blog!  It’s something that I’m completely stoked about.  It’s not necessarily my first stab at it. My “ramblings” began a few years ago.  I have to say, I have been hesitant getting back into it. But after a long hiatus and a lot of encouragement from the KFirst team…let the rambling resume.

My blogging schedule will consist of:

  • KFirst weekend thoughts (Monday) – I believe in celebrating what the Lord has done and looking forward toward what He has in store for us.  Monday’s give me a chance to break down our weekend as create a vision for upcoming events.
  • Thursday’s Rambling – It’s almost self explanatory; the ramblings of a man pursuing Jesus.
  • Monthly Marriage Rambles – God has given me a passion for marriages.  I can’t say that I’m the source of all marital advice, but it’s a journey that the Lord has placed my feet upon.  Anne and I always say: the two things that make marriage work are 1. Jesus 2. Laughter.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way.

There a few things I would love to share with you today…

#1 – I am celebrating an altar full of people surrendering their hurt and pain to Christ at our Sunday Gathering.  There were many tears shed that transformed into smiles by the end of service. I am so proud of the KFirst community who surrounded them in prayer support pouring in the “oil and the wine.”

#2 – We are in our current series “Parables.” Read Luke 10:25-37. A TRUTH we gave: Unattended injuries render us vulnerable to greater injury.  We challenged everyone to walk as agents of mercy and healing.  We walk realizing a neighbor is “one who is like us.”  Not in looks or in class.  They are like us in that we should have empathy for them when we realize how similar their situation is to our own experience.  We shared 2 Chronicles 28:1-15 and how it parallels the Good Samaritan. Remember: Each person must understand the needs of his neighbor in order to become a neighbor. Don’t just walk by your neighbors…step outside of your comfort zone and get involved.

#3 – We’ve just completed 5 points of outreach in the past few weeks.

  1. Real’s “Cardboard City” – 30 students serving the Kalamazoo community
  2. Dream Ride for the Kalamazoo Dream Center – $12,0000+ raised
  3. Song’s Against Slavery concert – $6000 raised to rescue those in sex slave industry
  4. Backpack Outreach – 100 backpacks bought and stuffed with supplies for local students
  5. 3rd Annual KFirst Car Show – Amazing community connection that is building into a KFirst tradition.

I can’t say enough thanks to those who took time to serve and give to make these possible. Thank you for all that you do.

#4 – This is a great time to invite people to church.  The fall is a perfect time to live out what we’ve been preaching about on Sundays.  As we gear up toward September, take a moment to connect with those in your neighborhood and look for way to invite them out.   We wrap up our series “Parables” this Sunday and get ready for our new series: “DUST.”  I can’t wait. 

#5 – Look for ways to connect with your kids before school starts.  Give them one last great memory of the summer before they head back to school.

That’s it for this Monday…I love KFirst, cannot WAIT for this Sunday.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Let the rambling begin!

If you’ve stumbled upon my blog…congrats.  You’re the first to find that which has not gone public.

I’m not sure who will read this…

I’m not sure who will connect…

Even as I type, a quote from The Matrix enters my mind

“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world.. without you. A world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

I’m not sure where this blog will go…

…But this is where it begins

It begins with simple ramblings of a simple man…

…a husband blessed beyond measure

…a confused parent still trying to figure out how his children grew up so fast.

…a pastor in love with his calling

And I hope that with a few strokes of the keyboard, in some way, shape, or form, to radiate the beauty of trusting Christ.  It’s “a world where anything is possible.”

I’m excited about this journey with you.

I’m excited to highlight what is taking place at KFirst.

I’m excited to journal my simple thoughts.

I’m excited to know if people other than my wife will read this

Thanks for letting me ramble…