Thoughts for @kalamazoofirst to keep in mind for Easter Sunday!

The Last Word Slide

One thing I love about Passion Week is the blogs and post from other pastors.  I’ve been so inspired by so many of them pumped about what’s taking place this weekend!  I wanted to challenge our Kfirst peeps to be bold during this Easter season.

  1. Remember, 82% of people will say “yes” to being invited to church during Easter week.  If you’re into stats…that’s a great return.  If you’re not into stats…then just invite someone out!
  2. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you. Stop saying “NO” when that someone who keeps popping into your head. That’s the Holy Spirit working in your life.  You never know what is going on in their life and right now be the BEST time to invite them for Sunday’s service.
  3. People like food. Invite them to breakfast at Kfirst before the service.  Besides, who doesn’t like a free meal that is AMAZING!?! (props to Traci and her team)
  4. Spend time in seeking God in prayer asking who you need to specifically reach out to and invite to Sunday at Kfirst.
  5. Spend time in prayer over the services this weekend.  (Good Friday at 12pm and Easter at 10am) Pray that Kfirst would make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.
  6. Don’t feel the pressure to have to be a theological expert.  In your mind, you probably have imagined people asking you a whole bunch of hypothetical questions that you may/may not know the answers to. You just have to know that Jesus saves and that’s what we’re going to talk about at Kfirst this weekend.
  7. Don’t just be a prayer warrior without pursuing people.  Jesus said, “come and see.” YES…we should pray for people far from God, but we should also be willing to pursue them like Jesus pursued us.
  8. Take some time this week to read John 1:43-51 and see that “Found People Find People” really is true.
  9. Get excited about church! If people can get excited about the Instagram picture of their cat, then WE can get excited about people finding and following Jesus.
  10. Realize that fear you feel about inviting someone doesn’t come from the Lord (2 Timothy 1:7)! If HE has placed someone on your heart to invite then He has gone before you and prepared them for the invite as well.

Can’t wait to see you at Kfirst!

Props to Perry for inspiring this blog!

Information for a free gift…and 5 things for @kalamazoofirst

Top of the morning to ya!  It’s Monday so get some coffee and buckle up for a great week.

I laugh at Facebook links, Twitter links, and the spam emails that simply say, “Click here for a free gift.” The ad isn’t funny. It’s knowing that we are so desperate to get “free” stuff that we lay down all inhibitions in the euphoria of knowing we could be getting something free.  I’m not standing in judgement. Anne knows that when we go to a conference, I look forward to SWAG (Stuff We All Get).  I’ll walk from table to table to pick up free pens and key chains as if the Mayan calendar was right and my survival the coming apocalypse would come from the pens and key chains.  We see free…and we leap.  But, for some reason, we have a gift available, and instead of receiving it, we go about attaining it with alternative ways.

I’m slowly going through Ephesians this month and got a great reminder.  My pen couldn’t underline my new bible fast enough. It was screaming at me from page 976. I pulled out my phone and instagramed the passage.

“And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God.”

The subtle reminder to me in the midst of my monday rush: you didn’t create this life yourself…you didn’t earn it…you couldn’t accomplish it.

It’s a gift.  It’s free for you to receive.  I guess today the Holy Spirit felt I needed that reminder.  Maybe I’ve taken it for granted.  I guess I needed to come to a greater appreciation of His love for us. Without Jesus…where would I be?

I recognize the cost comes as we follow Christ…but that’s for another blog on another day.

Here are 5 things I want Kfirst to know about…

#1 – Sunday was amazing. When I showed up to youth group last night, the teen were buzzing about Sunday morning.  That, to me, is a litmus test for a speaker.  How did the next generation receive them?

Andy Raatz did something extraordinary.  He imparted his heart into ours. It was like the sanctuary was an operating room and his heart was transplanted into our lives.  What a great response to the altar!!! I had a few talks with some people who were messed up from yesterday…in a good way.  What a joy to see individuals seeing their world with new hearts and having a passion for the lost.

If you missed the message, download it from iTunes later  or hit our website.

#2 – Missions Emphasis is concluding Sunday!!  Every November, we concentrate our focus on outreach (local, national, world). Our two-week emphasis centers our hearts upon the lost, increase our passion, and challenged us to get involved.  We’ll be taking up our “faith promises” on Sunday.  A faith promise is a monetary goal or a pledge that is set between the you and God for the support of world missions. This goal is set for one year.  Anne and I have supported world missions since we were teens and would encourage you to join us in giving to world missions.

#3 – Missions Emphasis includes giving to the Kalamazoo Gospel mission!!  During our emphasis we’re teaming up with the Kalamazoo Gospel mission.  We’re challenging everyone at Kfirst to bring coats in to bless the mission.  If you have a coat and/or want to buy one to donate, please bring into the office during the week.

#4 – Chapel Service and Hymn Sing is coming up this Thursday! If you’re one of our senior adults, you don’t want to miss out on an amazing time. Our pastoral team has been rotating through and bringing the Word.  I absolutely love our time of prayer at the end!

#5 – Sacred: Kfirst Christmas Series.  I can’t wait to launch our Christmas series this coming December.  My desire is to bring back the sacredness to the Christmas story that, for some, has become generic and ordinary.  Join us as we present “sacred” in December…better yet…invite a family or two and let them hear about the Lord who was sent to bring them life.

That’s all I have today. Enjoy the Lord’s free gift to you.  Enjoy giving that gift to someone else.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Are you looking for the key to God’s hand?

Happy Monday! We just came off an amazing weekend at KFirst!

We are in the thick of the fall season and I’m excited about what’s happening in our church community. If you were not able to join us, we had a busy day of ministry that makes it exciting be a part of an amazing church community.

I’ll kick off Monday with a simple TRUTH for ya. It comes from a friend of mine.  Brad Leach is a church planter in the Philadelphia area. He says, “The key to God’s hand is God’s heart. Do you want to experience God’s hand on your life? Love what He loves!” Coming off what we preached yesterday about loving the Lord our God, this flows perfect. Live out this week loving God…and loving what he loves.  It’s a perfect example of Mark 12. This is a great segway into recapping our Sunday and looking forward to this week.

Here are 5 things I want you to know about…

#1 – KFirst continued our series “Dust” yesterday. We focused on “The Code” to live by. The Shema (Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21Numbers 15:37-41) was read twice a day and lived out as their “code” for life.   We talked about when the word “hear” is used in scripture. When used, it means more than the faculty of hearing. It includes listening, taking heed, and responding with action to what one has heard. This word gives us a greater understanding of when the word “hear” is used in prayers.  I love the song we sang at the altar. 

A simple TRUTH to remember: Belief is not just something you do with your brain, it is something that captures your heart and radically alters the way you live. We want the shema to capture our heart as we love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and very (oomph). If you missed the message, download it from iTunes  later on Monday or hit the website.

#2 – Wednesday nights at KFirst are back! We had a great night last Wednesday with our Rangers and M-pact ministry going and our Adult classes in full swing.  I’m having a blast teaching John, my absolute favorite of the four Gospels.  Please join us.  We’ll have fresh coffee and great connections.

#3 – Tailgate Party is here.

September 23rd is going to be a great day as we celebrate outside at our Tailgate Party.  Park your car on the west side of the building when you come Sunday morning and stuff your cooler full of food for your family.  Most people choose to wear their favorite team’s T-shirt/sweatshirts during the tailgate.  Bring food for your family and feel free to share. It’s always a great time.

#4 – Annual Business Meeting is a week and a half away.  Our trustee nominees are presented in a handout at the information center and in the church office. I’d ask that you take some time intercede over this as we approach 3 trustee positions with prayerful hearts.  We have such an awesome list of nominees and I am excited for the future of our board.

#5 – Pastor Todd brought a need before our congregation that we challenge EVERYONE to be a part of.  A member of our congregation, David Riegel, has been actively involved in ministry to Native Americans.  Already this morning, I’ve been told we have had a great response. The need we have is for sleeping bags to be purchased for the cold winter coming.  If you want to join so many others and purchase one, or two or three…they are just $10 per sleeping bag. You can give online or contact the office.

That’s all we have today.  Love the Lord…and love what he loves.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Hey @kalamazoofirst…”how did you get that car on the stage?”

Happy Monday! The Lions won so it’s a happier Monday for me.

That was the question that was buzzing yesterday at KFirst. Some have figured it out…some are still scratching their heads.

What an outstanding day yesterday at KFirst!  If you were not there, we had a packed day of ministry that makes it exciting be a part of an amazing church community.

Here are 5 things I want you to know about…

#1 – KFirst kicked off our series “Dust” yesterday.

We have taken to heart the focus of John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”  Jesus sees something in me: He thinks I can be like him. He is our rabbi/teacher and we are to choose to follow him.  We wrapped up with a TRUTH: Following Christ is a moment and a process, entrance and walkway, new life and new lifestyle.  If you missed the message, download it from iTunes or hit the website.

#2 – Lifegroups Expo is coming up THIS SUNDAY, September 16th.

It’s happening after church, outside under the “big top” tent. We’ll have food, games and Target giftcard giveaways. Come out to discover our new groups, meet our leaders and get more information on our all Lifegroups. For more info, contact the church office at (269)329-1977 or the KFirst Facebook.

#3 – Our Next Gen ministries had their fall kick off. 

  • Kidzone joined us for worship.  I love seeing the kids in service with us and having the families to sing together.  Don’t forget, they are dismissed while the offering is taken.  I can’t thank our kid’s ministry volunteers enough for the phenomenal job they are doing. Thank you for pouring into our kids on a weekly basis.  Ethan loves his BLAST classes and can’t wait to go every week.
  • Real had a great turnout last night.  Give their promo video a look. My daughter came home so pumped about what Jesus is doing in her youth group.   If you have students ages 6th grade to 12th grade, bring them on out.
  • theHub had their fall launch. Check out their promo video…better yet, show a young adult and invite them out to a life-changing venue. I’m so excited about Pastor Todd’s and Tara’s passion for our young adults.  If you have or are a young adults, get plugged in to theHub.

#4 – Annual Business Meeting is coming up September 26th.  Our trustee nominees will be presented in a handout at the information center and in the church office on Sunday. I’d ask that you intercede over this as we approach 3 trustee positions with prayerful hearts.  I think the nomination committee did a great job in giving us choice candidates to serve.

#5 – Tailgate Party is almost here.

September 23rd is going to be a great day as we celebrate our Annual State of the Church message and celebrate outside at our Tailgate Party.  Park your car on the west side of the building when you come Sunday morning and stuff your cooler full of food for your family.  Most people choose to wear their favorite team’s T-shirt/sweatshirts during the tailgate. I just ask for the MSU stuff to be toned down.  OSU paraphernalia will not be tolerated :)…not that I’m picky or anything.

Have great week.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Snoring can cause all sorts of marital trauma.”

Disclaimer: The title has nothing to do with Anne or myself as neither one of us snore.

Now that I’ve defused that potential bomb.

The title is a quote that came up on my twitter feed yesterday and made me both laugh and think a bit deeper about a subject that most people enjoy…

Sleep.

My affinity for the show M*A*S*H has me very familiar with the term “trauma.” In most episodes, the show depicts doctors assessing trauma during triage. Triage, simply said, is the process of determining the priority of patients’ based on the severity of their trauma. Today is a day to do a bit of “triage” to determine if we have caused undue trauma to our lives based upon our lack of proper rest. Trauma defined is:

  1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience
  2. Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis
  3. Physical injury

Looking back at the original tweet, I might reword it. I would say, “Losing rest will cause all sorts of trauma.” Without rest, you, your family, your walk with God, are all susceptible to trauma (distress, shock, and injury). Marriages go through trauma because couples have no rest as individuals and, perhaps more importantly, have rest as a couple. People suffer trauma because their mindset says rest = laziness or weakness.

In my opinion (which I believe is in alignment with the Lord’s opinion) the subject of rest is completely underestimated and overlooked. We forget, rest was a part of creation.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Gen. 2:2-3

Rest (coupled with worship) was so vital, God put it in the ten commandments, right along with don’t murder or commit adultery. In fact, a closer look at scripture shows God spent more time (96 words!) on the importance of obeying his command to REST than on any of the other 10 Commandments! For a workaholic like me…that’s hard to wrap my mind around.

We live in a culture which has fooled us into believing that excess is better and busyness is a virtue. We brag about being able to multitask so that more can be accomplished. Far too many people in our world experience spiritual, emotional, and physical trauma because they are overcommitted and fatigued. Hall of Fame NFL coach Vince Lombardi said it best, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

I don’t believe that God wants us to be one step from a nervous breakdown, always on the edge of exhaustion. What I see is a lack of rest is really lack of trust. Maybe we think if we lay down or have down time, things will fall apart because EVERYTHING in life hinges upon US.

The ten commandments tell us to share in God’s rest; to rest ourselves in honor of His perfect creation and His absolute control. Genesis 2, God rests because nothing more needs to be done. We rest because we honor a God who has finished all of it. If He rests, so can we. His control guarantees that the world will not fly apart if we take a day off. In other words, resting, I acknowledge my trust in His control. Rest is more than a mental construct. Rest is a behavioral, practical, visible sign that I trust Him.

If our frenzied lives cannot set aside for rest, what does that say about our trust in the one we claim to worship? Does it mean that we still subtly need to take charge? Does it mean that we dishonor Christ when we think we and our activities are so important that we cannot rest? And what does it say about a religious attitude that ignores this visible sign of trust in God? What does it say to the world when we cannot let go for fear that something won’t get done? Does that reveal the kingdom of God or the kingdom of us?

What’s the answer? There are no easy formulas for success, but there are some suggestions that I want you to think about today:

1. Cut back and do less. Some trauma is so self-inflicted. If this means making less money, cutting back on your social obligations, or even taking a night off from activities, then do whatever it takes to not be so overcommitted and fatigued. I once was told, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”

2. Take naps.

Thomas Edison napping in his lab

Dad taught me the art of the “power nap.” Ask Anne, between work and an evening activity, I’ll pop my ear buds in and take a 10-15 minute nap to rejuvenate me for the night’s events. In fact, do some research and you’ll find that there are historical figures that perfected a life of napping (see above pic). A friend of mine posted a fascinating article by Michael Hyatt on 5 reasons you should nap.

3. Personal Rest. This is different from sleep. If I was preaching I would say TRUTH: Rest should be a nonnegotiable time in everyone’s life. When we rest we get a proper perspective on our life. When we rest we can reflect on what has taken place in our life during the week. Don’t cause undo trauma because you haven’t taken care of yourself. Does your life have control of you, or do you have control of your life? Rest and reflection will help you answer that important question.

4. Marital Rest. You and your spouse NEED a break away from the kids and life. Go on a date. Go for a walk. Meet for coffee. Anne and I for a number of years would put the kids to bed at 8 and sit in bed and watch shows together. We protected that time together. I have counseled far too many couples that struggle with marital trauma at 20+ years of marriage not knowing the person they married. You need frequent rest times together!!! Like #3, this is a nonnegotiable in everyone’s marriage.

I believe that “rest” is stewardship over this life that is a gift from the Lord. We take care of ourselves by resting and I believe that rest is honoring the Lord. It shows a trust in Him.

That’s all I have for today. Get some rest. Show the Lord you trust him by releasing yourself from business. Like me, maybe you need to repent from not properly resting.

Psalm 116:7 I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings…”

Thanks for letting me ramble…

6 items I want @kalamazoofirst to know on Labor Day

Happy Labor Day KFirst!

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

#1 – What an awesome day at KFirst yesterday morning.  Pastor Matt brought a great word “Connect the Dots.”  If you missed it, check out the KFirst Website or download it in iTunes in the next few days. PMatt shared his testimony and challenged  us with a TRUTH: “The next generation will know Jesus because of people who chose to obey Him today”  I found myself reminiscing of those people in my life that have influenced me and are the “dots” in my life story.  It was an amazing site to see our students and school faculty come forward for prayer as they are challenged to live out another TRUTH: “How you live your life today has the potential to change someone’s life tomorrow”  Awesome job Matt!

#2 – Tomorrow is, officially, the day where all of our children will be school.

  • Pray over their transition into a new school year, a new schedule, and for some, a new school surrounding.
  • Pray over their connections to peers and faculty.
  • Pray for protection for them.
  • Pray for the faculty and administrators (teachers, principals, custodians, bus drivers, etc).
  • Most of all, pray over outreach possibilities your children will have as they live out Christ in the one of the greatest mission fields in the world.

#3 – Today is Labor Day. Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement. It is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  Oddly enough, Labor Day is seen as a day of rest.  Find some time today find some rest.  But also find a way to invest in your marriage, family, and/or friendships.  Have a BBQ, invite some friends over, and celebrate friendship.

#4 – This is a the week we launch “Dust.” As I stated this past Monday, this series has been developing in my heart for quite a few months.  The 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.

#5 – DON’T MISS WEDNESDAY!!!

Night of Worship and Prayer is this Wednesday at 6:45p.m. It’s going to be a great time of soaking in the Lord’s presence as we intercede over our school year.

#6 –Pastor’s Prayer has changed to Wednesday at 9:30 JUST FOR SEPTEMBER.  I can’t wait to connect with the prayer team and launch into the fall.

In case you missed our video announcements, here you go.

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

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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…