New book “Launch Point” is here!! #LaunchPointBook

It’s finally here!! Today is the launch of my second book “Launch Point.”

https://launchpointbook.com/
https://launchpointbook.com/

It has been my heart to create a tool for NEW Christ-followers that is both practical and economical.  Thus, we have “Launch Point.” Quite often, people starting their faith journey with Jesus can be overwhelmed with the litany of steps thrown at them. “Get baptized…Read your bible…Start praying…Serve somewhere...Start giving…” (and the list goes on).

Don’t get me wrong, these steps are all important. (In fact, very important!) But I wonder if, in our excitement of their decision to follow Jesus, we’ve stifled the growth of these brand new Christ-followers. We push them through processes, information, and connections with not recognizing that everyone operates and processes things differently.  Driven by where we want them to be, we can be blind to the fact that completing a program doesn’t equate to having spiritual progress.

Thus, “Launch Point.” For $5 per book, this tool not only creates tangible next steps, but gives the reader time to grow at a “fruitful” pace. In fact, because we at Kfirst believe “the Enemy works in isolation; God works in community,” I highly recommend going through the book with a friend or two. This is a fantastic tool to equip a Christ-follower to personally disciple someone new to their faith in Jesus.

Again, I wanted to keep this economic. You can pick one up for $5 per book at LaunchPointBook.com, at the Connection Center on Sundays at Kfirst, or at the Kfirst church office. None of the proceeds go to me but back into the Kingdom. In fact, for every 2 books sold, one can be given way to someone just staring their faith journey with Jesus.

Check out what it says on the back cover:

Faith in Jesus is both a finish line and a starting point.

It is the finish line for the way we had lived before we believed in Jesus. Living a life that revolved around sin and selfishness is done. This former way of living has passed, but it is the starting point for your new life discovered in Christ. It’s more than simply the arrival of a fresh life, it is also the beginning of a new adventure ahead. Just like any journey, it is discovered, developed, and realized by taking steps forward.

That brings us to the purpose of this book: to help you take foundational next steps forward in a faith journey of following Jesus. Like an apple tree needs strong roots for healthy fruit, we need these essentials to cultivate our lives so that we can produce the health that God desires for all of us.

If you’re new to faith in Jesus or if you know someone who is, this book is for you! Because, the success isn’t necessarily finishing the book but accomplishing a deeper experience in following Jesus by living each step out in community with other people. Some steps are more challenging than the other. But the “win” isn’t in the completion of a chapter but the consistency in following Christ.

My heart is to make it simple for people to FIND and FOLLOW Jesus. But simple doesn’t mean easy. There’s so much competing for our attention. It’s a challenging journey to develop a life-giving relationship with Jesus & follow Him. That’s why my mission is to make it simple, so that people who feel far from God, will find life in taking NEXT STEPS in following Jesus.

Click on the image for LaunchPointBook.com

Each book is $5! Proceeds purchase books for new believers!
Click on the image to order a book! Each book is $5! Proceeds purchase books for new believers!

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

Zechariah 4:10

Thank you for your kindness in considering purchasing “Launch Point.” Thanks for partnering with me to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.

Love you all,

David Barringer

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Missing Piece to Peace” #TrueNorth

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

I’m not sure if you knew this, but a magnetic compass doesn’t always show “true north.” It has been historically known that “magnetic north” waders in diverse directions. At some periods in the earth’s history, it reversed so that magnetic north pole has been near the geographic south pole. What we know as “true north” is north according to the earth’s axis. Most of us only know magnetic north. We follow what a needle driven by a magnetic PULL and have learned to follow that.

There are many things “pulling” at our attention attempting to get the focus of our lives. Jesus is our “True North.” And in this series, we’ll dive into the Old Testament prophets who spoke out to draw the people of God back to “True North.”

Check out the service yesterday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Peace is marked by the presence of Christ, not by the condition of our circumstances.
  • Lasting peace can be found when we realize Jesus is our source for peace and He is always with us.
  • “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because…there is no such thing.” – C.S. Lewis
  • We are not called to be peace keepers but peace makers.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for this week…

 

You Have My Attention; I Follow Your Direction

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96:11-12

You have my attention; I follow your direction.”

It’s from those eight words that the entirety of last Sundays message was birthed. 8 words tuned into 8 pages that turned in to 35 minutes of focused energy and passion. And they’ve been burning in my heart ever since.

They’ve not just been the “kickstart” to a single message, but they’ve been the substance of my prayer lately as moments have caught my eye and stirred my soul.

As I walk through my neighborhood seeing the beauty of the fall in Michigan, “You have my attention; I follow your direction.
As I step sit quietly in my dark office with the song “Do it again” playing in the background, “You have my attention; I follow your direction.
Listening to my daughter and my wife laughing together, “You have my attention; I follow your direction.

That prayer has not only stirred my heart from those beautiful moments but in the face of challenging situations.

Getting a text from a hurting friend in ministry, “You have my attention; I follow your direction.
Approaching the emergency room to visit a child with pneumonia,”You have my attention; I follow your direction.
Receiving a phone call that seems to close the door on a dream, “You have my attention; I follow your direction.

My simple prayer has been that intentional centering of my soul upon who Jesus is. But it’s not some ethreal thought but a determination to take notice and fix my attention up on the Lord. It’s to grasp the beauty of His majesty and to ponder on His wonder and fame. But that’s where most people leave it. Don’t get me wrong, worship is awesome. Recognizing His greatness is necessary. But it’s shallow at best if we don’t translate it to obedience.

And that has been the emphasis on the last part of my prayer.

I want to recognize Him and I want to respond to that revelation.

In Psalm 96, the psalmist captures the something in nature that captures his attention to who God is. I think we need to do that more.

To take notice on a drive of the beauty of creation as the trees begin to change.
To see an evening sky change colors as the sun sets.
To sit at lake Michigan and see the water splash against the pier.
To walk in a quiet forest and listen to the sound of the wind through the trees.

I love the words of Psalm 104, 24-25 when they say How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.

But let us not leave revelation in our hearts. Let’s live revelation in our hands and feet. Let us allow the shaping and tones of our words bear the revelation of our Savior. Let us look for someone in need to give a revelation of a God who cares. Let us find someone to encourage to give them a revelation of a Savior who hasn’t forgotten about them.

This week, would you take notice of the glory of God in creation around you? But don’t just leave revelation in your heart. Let revelation live in your life in everything you do.

You have my attention; I follow your direction.”

Before you head into your day, an appointment, a store, or into family time, would you say that prayer?

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

Healing Begins with Forgiveness

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Last Sunday at Kfirst was pretty awesome. If you missed it, click here for the Livestream from it.

There’s something about seeing people, in humility, stand and admit, “I’m dealing with bitterness and/or unforgiveness.” There’s something about that step of faith that confronts your own issues in order to see growth and change.

And that’s where healing begins. Forgiveness is where healing begins.

There’s something about an heart that is broken by offense that heals different than a bone that has been broken by an impact. While a bone can heal and you may think nothing of it a year later, an offended heart can think of the offense a year later and want to return to the broken state.

And we in the church world can simply say, “forgive” and it will be all better. While the principle is correct, we misunderstand that forgiving someone is making the daily decision to choose mercy and grace over bitterness and resentment. It is that every day decision to follow Christ and not where our desires want to lead us. 

We forgive as quickly and thoroughly as we’ve been forgiven.

Forgiveness doesn’t validate the one(s) who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t justify their hurtful actions toward you or the ones you love. Forgiveness is that choice that says, “Despite what has happened, I refuse to be held captive to the offense. I will show the depth of grace that I have been shown in Christ Jesus.” 

Showing grace and forgiveness releases me.
It saves me.
It sets me free

As I’ve heard it said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness doesn’t mean a trust is rebuilt. It doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries in the friendship. Grace doesn’t mean the friendship will be (or should be) reconciled. It just means you are no longer living in the prison of bitterness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you get what you want. But forgiveness ushers in the peace, love, strength, wisdom, and honor into a moment that could have left you defensive, bitter, broken, and hurt. 

Today, would you step out and forgive? Would you trust God to get you through this forgiveness journey so that you can finally heal?  I love the words of Isaiah who said, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isaiah 26:3). He promises to grants us peace when we stop fixing our minds on other “things” and put our trust in Him. 

Be honest with yourself and the Lord. Trust God with your offense. Give your hurt to the Lord through prayer. Say it out loud or journal them out. Lay them at His feet, release the forgiveness, and let the healing begin. 

And tomorrow, if your heart wants to go back to them because it hasn’t fully healed, rinse and repeat.

I love you all. I’m praying for you.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble.

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

These are words that have lived with me for the past 24 hours. They are words that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

I have a pattern in my “post-church service” conversations. Guests are my priority to talk to. Yet, I try to connect to as many as possible. By the end of that time, I’m finally seeing and talking to long-time attenders. It is here, I could see a young woman out of the corner of my eye who’s been waiting patiently to talk to me. And she deposits these eight words within me,

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

Honestly, I didn’t associate it with my preaching or the song choices of the worship set. It wasn’t about the style of the service nor the denomination of the church.

She experienced the presence of Jesus.

And it was the experience of the morning. The greeters. The friendliness of the people.  The intercessors in the prayer room before the service. Those who serve “behind the scenes” that makes a Sunday at Kfirst happen. The congregation capturing the heart of worship. The gathering around the Sacraments. The local church lifted up Jesus. And because of that, she got to see Him. (Which is good, because it’s all about Him and for Him.)

The local church becomes “Church” when we make much of Jesus and not a personality in a pulpit. We become Kingdom when we point everything to the “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)  And it’s in that place we can unleash our passion for Him in worship. It is there we can humble ourselves and seek His face.  We get to be vulnerable with our humanity by being real about ourselves AND being real about who Jesus is.

And the beautiful byproduct of a local church doing this: People can see what Jesus is supposed to look like.

He is the Friend of Sinners.
He is the Hope for the nations.
He is the Healer for those in pain.
He is the Freedom for the oppressed.
He is the Liberator of the prisoner.
He is the Comforter of the hurting.
He is the Filler for those who are empty.
He is the One who revives us.

As I said earlier, her words that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

Why? While I celebrate being able to do this as a congregation on Sunday, how can we do this Monday through Saturday? I am encouraged in my heart but I am compelled to examine my life outside of Sunday gatherings. How can those in our sphere of influence experience that? What do we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that the people we interact with every day can say…

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

My prayer today is the words of an old chorus,

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me
Melt me, mold me
Fill me, use me.

Here I am. Start with me.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Captivated By Comfort

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.Matthew 14:28-29

Going through my journal stuff that didn’t make Sunday’s message at Kfirst, a statement stood out in the midst of the mess that is my research notes:

You’ve never gotten uncomfortable “in God” because you’ve never or refuse to leave a spot that was comfortable.

I get it.

Like when I’m in my favorite chair watching a game and I need something. I don’t want to get up so I ask my kids to stop what they’re doing to grab something for me.

I’m comfortable.
I want something I don’t currently possess.
I don’t want to move or expend the effort to get what I want YET I expect to still receive it.

Most likely, you’ve seen this too. Perhaps it isn’t this exact situation, but you’ve seen people, who have huge expectations, but want something with little to no effort.

I want a better relationship, but don’t ask me to change.
I want a better position, but don’t ask me to do more than what is asked.”
I want what others have but won’t steward what I currently have.

And, unfortunately, we do that with God.

I thank the Lord that we are not saved by works (performance) but by grace through faith in Jesus. But our faith may save us, but our obedience changes us. When we walk in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives, transformation naturally (or supernaturally for that matter) happens.

The simplicity of Matthew 14:28-29 spoke to me as a child and still challenges me today.

First, the simplicity of what Peter calls out to Jesus, “…command me…” In other words, “Jesus, if it’s you, then give me the ability to step out on what I know can drown me.” This fisherman knew the price that can come from those waters. He knew what he was facing. But that audacious faith to know what he was facing, yet call out to Jesus for the strength and ability to not just to face it but step into it.

There were opportunities in my life that I wanted to abandon because of the size of the task.
There were relationships I wanted to avoid because of the work.
There were challenges I wanted to reject because of the difficulty.

It’s easy to “stay in the boat” of comfort. No change is expected; little to nothing is demanded. But our comfort my feel secure, but comfort zones become the breeding ground for spiritual insecurity. Comfort zones don’t protect us. They decay our passion for Christ and deteriorate us in the shame of “what could have been.”

But I love the resolve of Peter. He didn’t just call out, secondly, he stepped out in response to Jesus. Comfort gets you focused I “why you shouldn’t” instead of “why can’t I?” Quit focusing on what’s wrong with you and start remembering what’s right with Jesus. Be willing to not just call out to the Lord about what to do AND be willing to respond by stepping out in obedience.  The blessing you may be looking for is on the other side of obedience. 

I can’t promise an easy road, but I can promise a blessed one. Following Jesus is full of life and challenge. Yet many who have faith in Jesus, try to live in the safety of their comfort. Faith is where your journey starts with Jesus, obedience is where you realize the potential of that faith.

Today, call out then step out. Totally simple concept; incredibly difficult for our comfort.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: This is the song on repeat today for me…

The Color of Character

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 NLT

I alway had a thing for art as a kid. Outside of gym, it was the class I looked forward to the most. My excitement about it didn’t mean I was good at it. Case in point: look at ANY art project I brought home to my parents.

One of my earliest art memories was these seemingly ordinary black and white drawings. They seemed to have no color to them nor were we given any colors to put on them. All the class was supplied with was a dixie cup of water and a small paint brush. We’d dip the brush into the water and, when the we brush came in contact with the paper, color would appear. The paper/drawing already had the color infused in it; the water simply activated the color to cause it to appear.

Looking back, I know this was the way to take the messiness out of painting while giving us kids the feeling of painting. But I think there’s a bigger picture to understand (pun intended): the color was released by contact.

This whole week, I’ve been sitting on this idea of character that out of last Sunday’s message at kfirst. It’s my heart to see people not just step into the dreams God has given but develop the character that is able to sustain them there.

One of the key ways we develop character is through contact.

Like a brush in the hands of an artist, the canvas is transformed by contact. With each stroke, the surface takes on the color of the paint dictated by the pressure of the bristles. And you and I are no different. We take on the character of what you come in contact with. The more we expose ourselves to influences, the more we should expect those influences to affect our character. 

Have you ever been caught off guard when something came out of your mouth? Have you ever be surprised by a reaction you had? I’m willing to bet there is something/someone you’ve been in contact with that has shaped the character you are experiencing. From the family that nurtured you to the influences you allow, your character is shaped by what you come in contact with.

This is what caught my eye in Acts 4:13. These were seemingly ordinary men. But something was different about them. They had come in contact with something that took the ordinary into the extraordinary. They were “men who had been with Jesus.”

What an amazing statement to their character and challenge to our own. When people see us, experience us, and/or get close to us, are our lives colored by our contact with Jesus? Can the character of Jesus be clearly seen? My simple response is to simply humble myself and pray,

Lord, today I draw close to you. I give you every part of me. Let me become more aware of you and how you desire to work in my life. Like a brush to paper, let your life shape the color of my character so that people can see the Christ in me, the hope of glory. Amen.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…