2018 Bro Dan's articles


  • July 2018 newsletter article

    My wife loves to decorate with interesting, unique, old, often “one-of-a-kind” handmade items. Our house is filled with little this’s and that’s to look at and enjoy. All of the unique little pieces give a warm and welcoming feel and the wonderful old mismatched furniture creates an atmosphere that I truly love. I have found over the years, that unique things are interesting and mass produced things are boring. You go to a
    department store to buy cheap things to consume and then discard but you go to interesting little mom and pop junk stores to rummage around to find the interesting treasures. Here is where I cause a stir…. Our
    churches, programs, outreach events and christian lives look much more like department stores than mom and pop shops. Certainly the church people are getting a fine product to consume but lost people don’t want to buy a plastic gospel.


    Why do we so often package the Gospel like an item on the shelf at a department store? Mass consumed, Generic, Impersonal… Like a huckster in a traveling circus peddling our wares looking for one more consumer to titillate and entice we sell church rather than invite people into a unique and personal relationship with the risen Lord. When we “reach someone” we want them to conform to our systems, our services and our structure and drain the life from Christian living. This is why we see so many bored, lifeless people at church with little Spirit and Living Water flowing from their hearts. We have forgotten the uniqueness of the message of the Gospel.


    So what is unique about the Gospel? The answer is found in the person and work of Jesus.
    Jesus promised something very different and far more fulfilling than that which we are peddling
    when He lived, died, and rose again. Jesus was never boring. Most of His teaching was
    controversial and he lived in constant danger. Also, he never lowered his message to pander to
    the baseness of the mass market but did speak in a way that was understandable and relatable.
    Jesus was and is unique.


    Self-help has been peddling “I’m OK, You’re OK” for decades. “Give it 110%” is routinely
    pushed on burgeoning athletes. Hundreds of other trite phrases and vapid memes litter social
    media telling people that they are not broken or can fix their own brokenness. All fail for they
    are not true. The truth is we are broken and in need of a Savior. Nowhere else will people find
    the cure for brokenness. Nowhere else will people hear that they are loved by God and that he
    has reached to them in the miraculous life of Jesus. Nowhere else will people hear of unmerited
    grace, mercy and forgiveness. Nowhere else will people hear of One who has power over
    death and promises eternal life. Nowhere else will we find such a unique message and unique
    Savior. What makes the Gospel unique? It is unique because it is true.

  • June 2018 Newsletter Article

    Spending Time.  Such a simple phrase that has staggering consequences.  So casually we spend time and the reality of what is happening just beneath the surface, outside of our consciousness, eluding scrutiny.  No one merely spends time because time isn’t a thing it is a measurement. You would never say, “I have an inch.” Immediately, all will want to know, “Of what?” It only makes sense to say, “I have an inch of rope” or some such thing because an inch is a measurement of something.  Time is no different. Time is a measurement of life so we never spend time. We are always spending life.


    The constant flow of life can lull us into the foolish practice of living as though our life has always been and will forever be.  As we live with this fatal conclusion many will see days, weeks, months and years pass, spending life as though it is limitless. Life is finite. You only have a moment in history. James reminds us to question, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”


    Therefore life is precious. Everything that is truly limited is extremely valuable.  Precious metals and precious gems have intrinsic value because of their scarcity. Your life is far more precious because it is so brief in the rivers of history.  Your years are like diamonds and your days are like gold coins so spend them well.


    What is worthy of your life? Entertainment? Frivolity? Work? I suppose there is room for all of these things and more if they are done on purpose, and the purpose of life is to, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Spend life loving people and serving Christ and do so mindfully.  Think deeply about how you will spend your life. Live it on mission with the gospel. The river is flowing and a precious, finite commodity is floating away. Seize it! Drink deeply from the well of life and spend your days with joy and passion for the gospel and the glory of Christ.

     

  • May 2018 Newsletter Article : Fear of God

    A great vacuum of fear is crippling the church today.  That isn’t to say there is no fear in the church. We are riddled with fear; fear of declining numbers, financial instability, and social change just to name a few.  Surprisingly the fear of God is not first on the list and in many cases it does not even make the list. We simply must return to an overwhelming sense of the fear of God if we hope to live, love and please our Lord, so walk with me and think of the fear of the Lord for a moment.  


    God is so wonderful and dreadful!  When I think of the overwhelming power necessary to create all that exists, my mind races and spins and is left lacking and in wonder.  I also feel a creeping sense of exhilarating dread because thoughts of God’s attentiveness, knowledge, holiness and justice drive me to the conclusion that my sin has left me undone and God loves me anyway.  Why would all powerful, infinite God care anything about me? I am little more than a flea on a dog yet I am an object of his attention and affection. His attention makes me quake and causes me to dread. His affection is exhilarating and puts my trivial fears in perspective.


    Take a moment and consider God in his infinitude.  His will has subdued every kingdom of mankind throughout history.  God has exerted his rule over the great societies of Egypt, Canaan, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Russia and the United States.  His will was undaunted by the persecution of these nations so the weight of the nations in the Middle East, China, and North Korea are like “dust on the scales.” In comparison the social changes in the US and around the world do not cause God any alarm for He is far above all of this and righteously judges, rules and reigns.  “Since God is for us who can be against us?” Why would I fear man. I need only fear God.


    When the gripping fear of God is pervasive there is an accompanying liberty among God’s people.  A man who is deathly afraid of God can courageously face virtually any challenge so long as it is worthy of him.  And I suppose a man who is deathly afraid of God would have little interest in anything but that which is worthy of his life and God’s glory.   So it seems fear of man shackles us from fulfilling our God given destiny while fear of God energizes us to live and be powerful overcomers in this present age. Be wise. Be powerful. Fear God not man.


    And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28



  • april 2018 newsletter article

    This month I am dedicating my article space to share some pictures of the CMBA cabin the Volunteer Christian Builders are graciously building for us at the Green Country Camp. This will be a Pastor’s Cabin to use when you need time away to prepare, rest, revive. Thank you to our Volunteer Christian Builders, and thank you to all our churches, and individuals that helped with the meals. The builders were here the month of March, and much progress has taken place. To see these pictures click here:

  • March 2018 Newsletter Article

    One percent. Most immediately think, “Not worth my time. Insignificant!”  One percent is ringing in my ears though.  What does a one percent positive change look like? ….in your church? ….in your town? ….in our association?  When considering such a small bit of progress I cannot get three glaring truths out of my mind.

    A one percent change can be done by nearly everyone. Since most churches have fewer than 100 members a one percent change can be one encouraging phone call or notecard per day. I was speaking with a friend the other day and I asked him, “When was the last time you remember a church leader calling you to check on your family or to simply show care and concern?” He admitted that he could not remember such a time and that if it ever happened it was quite rare.  I suppose a homebound saint could pray, write notecards, make phone calls and generally be an encouragement each and every day of his life.  A dear friend of mine, Bill, passed away several years ago and at his funeral his wife and daughters were careful to include his cell phone with the most important things with which he was buried. Why do something so strange?  Although at the end of his life he was not able to visit family and friends he spent his days on that cell phone calling, texting and sharing the love of Christ with everyone that came to mind. Bill made a one percent difference.

    Leading your church to be one percent better each day, consistently, methodically, and intentionally will one day result in a huge change.  But herein lies the problem; where to start.  I say start with your heart.  What keeps you awake at night; weighs heavy on your mind throughout the day; seems to creep back into your thoughts even when you try to focus on other things.  Start there.  Instead of spreading your efforts around it seems more effective to focus your one percent on the one thing that is likely to spread like a fire.  Don’t throw sparks everywhere and hope something catches.  Invest time and passion in one focused pursuit and see what God does with your work.

    When several people lean into making a one percent change their cumulative efforts are much more than nothing.  They are more than just a little something.  They are, in fact, miraculous! I have found that people will follow passion and purpose.  Imagine gathering an army of people who are willing to make a one percent change, giving them direction and then turning them loose.  You can’t even imagine what they will accomplish!  Even a few willing people can make an enormous difference if they are working together to do a good work.  The other night I was talking to a small group of people at one of our churches.  I asked them about their one percent difference and their eyes brightened!  They saw the wonderful effect of a one percent difference.

    By the way, this mindset has nothing to do with numbers and has everything to do with heart, passion, tenacity and willingness.  What will your one percent be?  Whatever it is “do all for the glory of God.”

  • february 2018 newsletter article

    When I began serving as the Director of Missions of Craig-Mayes Baptist Association a single reality captured my mind and heart.  It is continually on my mind and heart and is the only rational purpose for our existence.  We live in a lost world surrounded by lost people who have no concept of their “lostness.” None of our churches can engage all who are lost so it is vital that we join forces if we are to complete the task.  Out of these truths our purpose statement was born in my heart.  Craig-Mayes Baptist Association exists to courageously unite our member churches to be on mission carrying the gospel into the world for the glory of God.  I still believe this statement clearly defines our purpose but regrettably I made a very obvious mistake when writing it.


    A purpose or mission statement is a mere group of words.  This group of words has no real value or meaning simply because they were strung together even if they were penned with precision and excellence.  Such a statement only has value if all involved affirm, approve and adopt it as their own.  My mistake was assuming all would see the merit of the statement and readily embrace it and live it.  It was my statement not OUR statement.  In the wake of this failure I have four simple requests:

    Forgive my failure.  I ask forgiveness simply because I wrote the statement alone rather than including you in the process.  Writing the mission statement alone over values my opinion and ignores the value of your wisdom.  For that I must apologize.


    I don’t think the mission statement is invaluable or incorrect though so I ask you to consider the truth of the statement.  Is it not true that we must be united if we are to make a recognizable, vast impact in this world? Don’t we find great courage and strength when our voices, efforts and desires are united toward a common worthy cause? Isn’t our biblical mandate to take the gospel to the nations? If not I have no idea why we exist.


    With all of this in mind there still might be a very different way you would like to communicate our mission to each other and to the world.  Consequently I would very much appreciate your input.  Please communicate your thoughts, feelings and amendments to our statement.  Enter the discussion. Debate if necessary.  But above all do not remain silent. 


    Once you have invested your thoughts in our mission statement embrace it as your own.  Craig-Mayes Baptist Association isn’t an office in Pryor.  It isn’t a Director of Missions or even a committee of church leaders.  The association is you….your church joining arms with other churches doing the kingdom work of sharing the gospel with the world.  That is why this statement of mission is yours and must be embraced by you.  I pray the Lord will greatly use your church and our association of churches for His glory.

  • January 2018 Newsletter Article

    The Power of “I”

    “They were hard-headed and wouldn’t make a decision.” “Somebody needs to fix this mess.” “We always seem to be stuck in the same problems.”  I don’t know who “they” “somebody” and “we” are but I do know that I don’t want them on my team!  They sound absolutely painful!  I understand that these statements come from a mind and heart that is quite frustrated and frankly, we all fall into this trap. I am quite sure I have spent some time there today.  At times like this I find it helpful to remember a powerful truth. I am called by God to make a difference in the world for His glory….TODAY. 


    “I” is a ground shaking word. There is great power and history changing influence in that littlest of articles.  For a few moments read these next sentences to yourself.  Hear them in your voice and let them resound in your mind.  I have the power and authority to speak the eternal truth of the gospel and it often results in eternal salvation of the hearer.  I have been endowed with the privilege of laughing with the joyful and weeping with those in sorrow.  I am the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and as a new creation in Jesus will build up my brothers and sisters, shut the mouths of those who oppose the cause of Christ, infiltrate a desperate world and see it transformed by the grace and mercy of God. 


    Just to be clear, this is not a message of self-help new-age sentimentality.  It is, however, a call to Godly proactivity and personal responsibility under the Lordship of Christ.  Church statistics are demoralizing.  The state of Christianity is humiliating. It seems our Enemy is winning.  Why would we continue down this path? 


    Some problems are quite complex and even defy understanding; this is not one of them.  The answer is simple.  Do the things that point people to Christ and don’t do things that turn their eyes away from Him.  Be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving toward one another.  Bless and do not curse.  Let love be without hypocrisy. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Have these qualities and increase in them and they will keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful. (Ephesians 4; Romans 12; 2 Peter 1)  In short, be a person of the book, walk like a son or daughter of God, and thus be the Body of Christ in the world.  Then “they” will have no power, “we” will get unstuck and God will use YOU to be “somebody” that fixes a very broken world.  

2017 Bro. Dan's Articles


  • november 2017 newsletter article

    Why do painters paint? Why do musicians write songs? Why do dancers dance and singers sing? Something deep within wells to the point of bursting forth and simply must be expressed.  Great artists don’t create in order to become wealthy or famous. That is a modern construct of American capitalism.  In fact the greatest artists often remain unnoticed during their lifetime; creating and composing behind the curtain while mere performers take the stage and put on a show basking in the glory of the spotlight.

    So as Christians are we mere performers or true spiritual artists?  I suppose that depends on the purpose, sincerity and depth of our worship.  Do we sing and praise for show or does our expression of worship flow from deep within begging for expression? Do our churches desire God’s glory or soulless growth of the mechanized organization we have labeled church? When we put growth before glory we have lost sight of our purpose and will see the death of a once beautiful expression of God’s greatness. 

    I know it is a romantic notion and to many it will seem to be a fairy tale but imagine with me for a moment.  Put yourself in the middle of your sanctuary on that most special day in your memory.  For some it will be a common worship service long ago that uncommonly gripped your heart.  Others will remember a special revival meeting that left all in attendance chattering about it for years.  Still others will envision a day long past where the building was full, people were gladly greeting one another and the air in the room just seemed crisp and fresh.  What was the difference? The programming, structure, leadership, or style of worship? 

    Might I suggest that purpose dictated by the Spirit of the living God made the difference? When God plants purpose deep within you and your church it will burst forth in glorious praise to the Most High God.  You will paint your life with testimonies of His greatness and love.  You will sing and dance with joy and delight in His presence.  Your praise will exceed any mere art for it will be a holy expression of love, devotion, and worship of our King. We must come to our senses and grasp afresh our unique purpose of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.  If we do so, all will be well and God will again build His church around His people for His glory. 

     

  • october 2017 newsletter article

    There once was a fisherman. He loved to fish! Each time he went out to the water he felt joy and a sense of personal fulfillment confirming he was created to cast a line and reel in the bounty of the deep. It was no surprise to anyone that he would love fishing. From his earliest years family and friends saw him, pole in hand, headed to his favorite spot. Nothing made him happier than a plain cane pole with a little line tied to the end and a few worms. He always caught a few and certainly some got away but he proudly presented his stringer when he arrived at home with his catch and a fish story about the “whopper” that got away.
    The fisherman seemed haunted, though, by the near misses and the invisible teems of fish he would never be able to catch. In a moment he determined to never lose another, so he went to work perfecting his skills and amassing the greatest collection of fishing gear the world had ever seen. He spent hours in his yard casting and reeling, pinpointing his accuracy. He became so skilled that he could knock over a tin can at thirty feet with a single cast. He spent thousands upon thousands of dollars obtaining every kind of pole, reel, jig and lure. He had poles for brooks, streams, rivers, lakes, and deep sea fishing. He even had an extensive collection of ice fishing equipment (even though he had no idea when he would ever go ice fishing.)
    All of his friends and family were amazed at his collection of jigs, lures, flies, and baits. Just when they thought he had every conceivable thing a man could want in his tackle box the man would, with gleaming grin, bring out yet another interesting rare artifact to capture their attention. He had the most extensive fishing collection anyone had ever seen and was constantly contacted by other fishermen wanting to see his treasures. In time the man built a small museum and put his prized possessions on display. Fishermen came from all over the countryside to see these rare gems and to swap stories.
    But each time he overheard one of these fish stories he felt a twinge of pain in his gut. He loved fish stories almost as much as he loved fishing but now those stories fell lifeless on his ears. Something had changed but he wasn’t quite sure what. He surmised that all of this time spent in the museum had resulted in getting a little rusty. He was right; he no longer could hit his target with deadly accuracy so he went to work casting and reeling. Quickly he regained his proficiency and even put on a show or two for the visitors to his museum. All marveled at his remarkable abilities and hailed him the best fisherman they had ever seen. Strangely the man was not warmed by their praises. In fact they left him cold and restless. Something was very wrong and he needed answers.
    He read books on fishing. He searched the internet for the newest and best gear. He spoke to every visitor to his museum about their favorite professional fishermen. Nothing was satisfying. He even thought for a moment about just closing the museum and selling his collection but then he came to his senses and redoubled his efforts. Sure, fewer people came to look at his collection and certainly the exhibits were a little dated and dusty but he still had the greatest collection and reputation money could buy. He decided to advertise his museum and even go on tour speaking to clubs, civic groups and anyone that would give him a platform. Sadly, the man worked harder and harder and grew colder and colder.
    One day in a fit of frustration and depression he sat brooding on his front porch. Just then a young boy moseyed by cane pole in hand with a few worms stuffed in his pocket. The man was drawn to the simplicity of the scene and instantly he was hooked. He wandered behind to see where the boy might be going; maybe to his favorite spot! How long had it been since he sat on a riverbank and wetted a hook? The man turned and walked past the museum to a small shed out back and dug around for a while. A few minutes later with his old cane pole in hand he was sitting at the river’s edge wondering why he had ever left this beautiful place and ignored his first love. He was doing exactly what he was created to do; joy and personal fulfillment flooded the dark void within. He was a fisherman again.


  • september 2017 newsletter article

    The authority of Jesus has commanded my thoughts for the past few weeks.  Intellectually I know that Jesus has all authority because he clearly stated such in Matthew 28:18.  Still spiritually and practically I struggle to submit to his authority, simply living my life walking as he walked, doing what he did, and loving who he loved.  I have no illusions that I will ever perfectly imitate Jesus but I am persistently compelled to follow Jesus and burdened to invite others to do the same.  I believe the basic truth that Jesus is actively ruling over his church corporately and his people individually is the defining fact that determines our success in this lifetime.

    Pastor, you have no authority over the church.  I know such a statement will furrow a brow or two but it is nonetheless true.   Jesus is the head of the church and will not be supplanted by anyone.  Submission to his Lordship is the key to all Christian leadership and will result in deep spiritual peace and contentment.  Living under the delusion that the success or failure of the church depends upon your abilities, leadership, diligent labor, spiritual prowess or personal fortitude will only result in your exhaustion and frustration.  Jesus has all authority and simply requires your love evidenced in obedience.

    So what is a pastor to do? Pray that the Spirit of Christ will powerfully transform people through the message of the Gospel.  Prepare a hearty sermon that is solely concerned with biblical truth and devoid of human speculation or philosophy. Preach in the power and the uncommon wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Lead his church down the simple and narrow path of holiness. Make much of Jesus and lead your people to make much of Jesus.  Forget about exercising authority and instead practice and proclaim grace. 

    What is good for the pastor is also good for the church member.  You too have no authority in Christ’s church. How do you suppose our churches would look if those who confess Jesus as Lord actually followed him as Lord? That is quite an easy question to answer.  Disciples would be made. Lost people would be led to Jesus. The Nations would rejoice in knowing the gospel. Peace, harmony, joy and love would be found in every corner of the building and every heart in the congregation. Contention, strife, and resentment would be a thing of the past never to return. I imagine even a few wholly submitted to the authority of Jesus would be revolutionary since it is self-evident that the Lordship of Jesus is not our singular ambition.

    I know some will be irritated by these words and that is my intention. Change is found in the wake of discomfort. Like it or not, Jesus has all authority; you have none. Lord forgive my hypocrisy in these words and help me to be your willing slave. May we once again live in submission to his Lordship and see his glory fill our churches and our world.     

  • august 2017 Newsletter Article

    Here I sit looking at a computer screen again.  Such a small window into the world.  It isn’t a trustworthy representation of reality yet it grabs our attention and relentlessly fights to dominate our thoughts and lives.  We once thought the TV was our greatest adversary and yes it is still a robber of our our most precious commodity; time.  Now we have computers, tablets, smartphones and every other type of gadget robbing our time as well.  We have succumbed to the allure of electronic friendships which are not friendships at all.  We “keep up” with family members and friends through facebook, texting and email insulating ourselves from the discomfort of actual communication and connection.  And we are systematically losing the ability to talk to people about the least of things much less the most important thing in all of life.  The reality of Christ has been substituted with a lie only this time the lie has a glowing screen. 

    So here is my challenge to you today. Look a real person in the eye and give him a reason for the hope that resides within you. Notice someone and share the Gospel face to face.  Turn off the screens filled with bad news and go out into a real world with the Good News.  Pray for someone in your life that is far from God and write a real note to her with paper, ink and love. Serve a living breathing person stamped with the image of God in order to bring Glory to our Creator. Turn away from the inauthentic and embrace a real world with a true Gospel.  Trust me, it will be fun!

    A couple of things will likely happen.  At first none of this will feel “right” because it has been so long since you have done such things.  Over time though, joy will fill your heart that you have not experienced in quite a long time.  Your joy will be full, and real because you will have embraced the reason you were created by God.  You were not created to spend your life looking at a glowing screen filled with half-truths, embellished stories, and empty trite phrases.  You were created to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever.  Now turn off your glowing screen and tell someone about our glorious Savior!

  • July 2017 newsletter article

    Beauty is everywhere. Take a look around; I am going to guess that most have spent the majority of the day unaware of the glorious beauty that engulfs us.  Take a couple of minutes and watch the trees sway in the breeze.  Enjoy bees and butterflies bouncing from flower to flower.  Delight in the faces of your beloved family. There is so much beauty in the world and those who are called by the name of Christ ought to revel in God’s beauty and use it as inspiration to glorify our great God who is the creator of all beautiful things.

    Far too often we are only reminded of the ugly realities of life and we must be mindful of their existence.  Racism is real, pervasive and destructive.  Addiction is overtly destroying precious lives. War is raging in so many corners of the globe.  We are staggered by the onslaught of pain, disease, despair and hopelessness.  None of these ugly realities will be solved with more ugliness though.  Our best counter attack for all ugliness in the world is the beauty of the cross and the love of Jesus Christ.  We need not fear that our efforts to spread the love of Christ will be in vain and end in loss.  The beauty of the love of Christ is eternal and will most definitely overcome all wickedness and evil.

    Take a few moments today and turn someone’s attention to the surrounding beauty.  Be a conduit of the grace of God by telling of the love of Jesus openly and often.  Point at the majesty of creation and beckon all mankind to worship the Creator.  You will be amazed by the simplicity and effectiveness of a small encouragement to open blind eyes to the splendor of the beauty that is just outside your window.

    Before you can herald others to see the beauty of God you must personally be overwhelmed by it.  Take a walk with the God of all creation and see how you feel after such a time of intimate fellowship.   Sit and listen to the pure songs of small birds and be reminded that God seeks their best and values you far above many sparrows.  Look deeply into the night sky and be filled with awe and wonder knowing God measures all that you see with the span of His hand; the very hand that leads, guides, and protects you. God Himself is beautiful and He has given you many good gifts by which you might see a tiny glimpse of the beauty He delights to create. I pray you will see, understand and believe. 

  • June 2017 Newsletter Article

    Pure joy is found in Christ. Six simple words strung together like pearls in a necklace which convey a priceless truth. People often find a taste of joy in family, friends or special events, but I believe there is a great shortage of pure joy. Pure joy lingers and is satisfying. It is substantial and is seasoned with eternal ramifications. Pure joy is precious beyond measure and rarer than ever before in history but it is yours for the having if you desire it. If I told you that you could experience unspeakable, immeasurable eternal joy with very little effort would you enthusiastically embark on the journey toward joy? It is my prayer that today you will thirst for pure joy in Christ for thirsting seems to be the first evidence of a spirit destined for joy.


    It is difficult to say how someone is to gain joy in Christ but it is quite easy to describe someone who is joyfully in Christ. One who has pure joy loves the word of God; it is his spiritual food and he finds life in the pages of the Bible. He also loves the people of God and takes great comfort in their company and intentionally gathers with them to be strengthened and encouraged. The joy-filled Christian tends to have a song in his heart often whispering his worship as he goes about his daily business. These are not steps to joy but mere evidences of its presence. Trying to give such trite steps toward joy is akin to selling the gift of the Holy Spirit to Simon the sorcerer because joy in Christ is fruit of the Holy Spirit. He produces joy and His beloved delights in its benefit. You have not nor will you ever create joy; that is Divine work.


    So what is a thirsting soul to do? I suppose a wonderful place to start is to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit and willfully submit to His molding hands. Isn’t it a marvelous thought that the Holy Spirit of God is present with you right now, is smiling on His beloved and is gently and kindly nurturing your heart? What do you suppose is the feeling that is welling up inside you at this moment? Could it be the fledgling presence of joy in Christ? Such a presence is both deeply satisfying and creates an insatiable desire for more. So I suppose there really is nothing for you to do but there is much for you to believe.


    Believe that Jesus loves you, died for you, and is risen in power. Believe that He has saved you from the penalty of your sin and has promised a Helper that will instruct you in all holiness and will produce in you His good fruit. Believe that He is your only source of true life and that He is even now working to present you pure and without blemish to a loving holy God. Believe and you will be in Christ and in Christ you will find pure joy.

  • May 2017 Newsletter Article

    Created to Worship

    We were created to worship; more precisely to glorify God and enjoy relationship with Him.  Yesterday a couple of friends and I discussed this foundational truth and I have been provoked ever since.  If your best life is one filled with wonder, mystery, awe, reverence, delight, joy, and glory in relationship with God then you must become a worshiper.  I wish I could present a quick easy recipe for worship but that is a fool’s errand on many levels.  I will, however, remind you of a few spiritual realities that I hope will encourage more fulfilling worship today.

    Stop for a few minutes.  You are quite tired of the pace you have been keeping.  You can stop but you choose not to, so choose differently today and stop.  Take your lunch break and look at something beautiful, something miraculous, something that can only be explained as the handiwork of God. Think about its complexity, fragility, and remarkable existence.  In a mere moment you will be transported into a time of wonder, awe and joy. 

    Think for a few minutes.  Your mind is consumed with minutia much of which is designed to distract you from your greatest joy.  Think deeply of God and His love for the world.  Think of His eternal plan of redemption; your redemption.  Think of the grace that was lavished upon you at the cross and the pure love of Christ that was on display for all of the world to see.  Think of the life you have been saved from and what you have been saved to.  It only takes a few minutes of quiet clarity to grow a hunger for more.

    Listen for God’s voice leading you to your greatest joy; a life of worship.  Be careful and be warned, if you stop, think and listen you just might hear from the Almighty and you will respond as all do when confronted with such majesty.  You will neither proudly stand before Him nor complacently sit in your comfortable chair unmoved, unstirred, and unchanged.  You will bow before Him in worship, fear, and reverence but there you will also find your greatest delight.  I pray God will give you the grace to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.


  • april 2017 newsletter article


    Why does your church exist?  Some might take offense at the question while others roll their eyes and say, “Here we go again!”  It seems there is a never ending flow of blog articles with a myriad of opinions on the subject.  Yet still the subject seems to be unsettled because more emphasis has been placed on being creative and relevant than on being biblical.  Furthermore, it seems a misalignment of purpose has resulted in a church that has no purpose other than existing.  Your purpose is simple; you have, “a battle to fight, a race to run, and a crop to plant.” 2 Timothy 2:4-6

    “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits….”  I am afraid that the church is heavily entangled in many pursuits that have little or nothing to do with the purpose of the church.  Consequently, we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the people around us while heaping up religious activities and diversions for ourselves.  We have been called to the task of reconciling a lost world to a gracious Father not merely to another bible study or church program.  May the Lord’s people fulfil its fundamental purpose of reconciliation again. 

    “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” We run to please the Father.  We discipline our minds, hearts and bodies in order to grow in godliness and personal holiness.  We must never forget that the Lord sanctifies, forgives, cleanses, renews, and causes growth in our lives.  But we are much more than passive participants; we must be willing, disciplined, and devoted followers of Jesus.  There are no shortcuts to personal discipleship.  The church’s roll in discipleship is to bring followers of Christ together for the purpose of mutual edification; we build up, strengthen and encourage one another to continue running the marathon of life.

    “It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” So what are you planting in your “fields”?  I assure you, the laws of the harvest are irrefutable.  You will reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.  If you are planting the gospel in the hearts and minds of your co-workers God will most definitely cause your labor to be fruitful in time.  Never tire of planting and watering. God will cause the growth.

    May God breathe life into every listless church that regains sight of her biblical purpose for existence.

  • March 2017 Newsletter Article

    Life is short.  Invest your time wisely.  I say invest your time because when time is spent it will never be regained.  Each and every day you must discipline yourself to take time to invest in something that is eternal in nature; if you don’t establish this discipline much of your time will be wasted in controversy, dissention and quarrels.  Such a life is unprofitable and worthless. (Titus 3:8-9) Instead invest in spiritual matters that will have eternal dividends.

    This may be obvious to most but people are spiritual beings.  We think of them in terms of flesh and blood but as followers of Jesus we must remember that this body of flesh is fading away and that the spirit is eternal.  So, each step we help someone take in their journey of sanctification will last forever.  Catch that simple reality!  Each step we help someone take in their walk with Christ, being conformed to His likeness (sanctification) is an eternal step

    Are you making spiritual investments?  Suppose you identify someone in your church and begin investing time into that person’s life; you help her understand the scriptures more clearly or you teach him a better way to live for the glory of God.  Out of love for our Savior you share the gospel with a friend or neighbor. In humble service to the Father you serve the least among us.  How would this change the church?  It is my opinion that such spiritual investments would be the very thing that would render us neither unfruitful nor unprofitable. 

    Life is short.  Invest your time wisely.


  • February 2017 newsletter article

    I love old books; specifically old bibles or books about the bible.  I like their musty smell, their yellowed pages, and the gentle reverence with which you must handle them.  Come into my office sometime and I will show you the oldest book I own; a copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis published in 1816. I have a Swedish bible, a German bible, and a number of English translations.  Each time I find an old bible, buy it from an antique store (better described as an old junk store) and proudly display it on my shelves I feel I have rescued that copy of God’s word from a miserable existence.  One such book that I rescued for FIFTY CENTS is entitled The Baptist Catechism.  I thought it quite peculiar simply because we Baptists don’t tend to catechize our children.  Question number two might be familiar to you, “Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  I wonder, do we really understand what that means anymore?

    What is your “chief end”?  Why do you exist? What purpose do you fulfill?  To be successful, joy-filled, and have a deep sense of purpose you must persistently aim to live out the message of Christ in front of a spiritually blind world.  When we lose sight of our “chief end” we will undoubtedly fail to glorify God and will instead feed our most base desires. “Whether, then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31) “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17)

    How do we “glorify God”? We do not add to His glory.  He is, by nature, glorious. We cannot add to or diminish His glory.  Rather it is our task to convey… reveal… reflect… display His glory.  When you finish reading a great old book and declare, “That was a good book” you are exalting the book’s author.  Likewise, when we speak of God’s goodness, graciousness, kindness and love, the word of Christ dwelling in us richly is read aloud for all the world to hear of our glorious God.  Nothing is more enjoyable and fulfilling.   

    I spoke to a friend of mine some years ago about enjoying God.  She admitted that it was very hard to think of God as “enjoyable” because He is so high, otherly and holy; enjoyment seems so low, common, and carnal.  If you cannot enjoy God then the god you have envisioned is not God at all.  Furthermore, if you cannot enjoy God you do not understand how to enjoy anything at all.  Enjoying God results in a deep and eternal satisfaction that quenches our spiritual thirst and subdues our fleshly lust. Enraptured by the glory of God we are caught up in worshipful adoration and all other thoughts fall to the earth like dust.  If you have not enjoyed God in quite some time then repent and return begging the God of heaven to grant you times of refreshment.  He will graciously give you such a gift.

    Occasionally, when I am searching for an old bible I come across one that is still in pristine condition.  Although it is more than 100 years old it seems untouched and unread.  A slight sadness comes over me at that moment for I know that the purpose of this great book has never been fulfilled.  Its message has been imprisoned within its pages. Its words have not been grace to a longing soul. Don’t allow your life to be like a dusty old book on a shelf.  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)


  • january 2017 newsletter article

    “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!”  William Carey

     I wish I could read a transcript of Carey’s sermon; then I could confidently conclude what he intended in these words, but all that remains of his compelling sermon is its title, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!” Such a poignant line is enough so please allow me to share with you what this famous quote stirs in my heart. 

    I have come to the conclusion that we most often get what we expect.  We take teens to camp and EXPECT God to move and curiously He does.  We subsequently show up at church on Sunday failing to EXPECT God’s handiwork so we settle for our own meager attempts.  My expectations of God are quite low.  Most days I expect God to do very little.  I assume today will be like yesterday; that this Sunday will be much like all the Sundays before.  Carey calls us to a radically different mindset.  He calls us to eagerly anticipate God’s ever-present work by tirelessly busying ourselves with God’s redemptive work.  

    Expecting great things from God conveys a deep trust in God’s intentional presence in our lives. This kind of expectation does not presume to obligate God to anything.  It does, however, look in anticipation for His glorious work trusting that He will most definitely complete any work He starts.  But to trust God you must believe IN God and believing in God is no small task; it is, in fact, quite difficult.

    When we believe IN God we are certainly taking a step beyond believing things about God.  For instance many will affirm that God is loving, but ask those same people how God has shown love to them in a very personal and particular way.  Their answers are often impersonal “canned” responses that betray a distant or merely intellectual relationship with God.  So, do you believe IN God’s gracious provision in all of life….your next breath….the beating of your heart….His constant presence as you walk through life’s   corridors for His good pleasure? When God becomes this personal and you believe IN Him for life, breath, salvation, and life purpose it becomes natural to EXPECT great things from Him.  It also makes sense to then make grand attempts for His glory.

    So what will you attempt for His glory?  I would like to remind you of a couple of important truths as you consider this question.  First, attempts for God’s glory will always be redemptive in nature.  We have been called to share God’s message of redemption with the world.  Sometimes we use humanitarian means to accomplish this task but please always remember God sent His Son to redeem the world not to house, clothe and feed the world. 

    Second, great attempts for God’s glory are often small in the world’s eyes.  The world (and even the church) “keeps score” so it values bigger, better, and more. It rarely values purposeful, substantial, and meaningful because those are attributes that are very hard to quantify.  Please never forget that helping someone love God deeply is no small task.  It is hard, often thankless work that is truly great.  Never forget that honestly and completely preaching the word of God is not small; it is, in fact, a great work to attempt for God’s glory.  Never forget that sharing the truth of the gospel with a co-worker is an enormous task that has been entrusted to you.  Never forget that you need not go half-way around the world to attempt a great thing for God.  God has purposely placed you and uniquely gifted you to accomplish His perfect will.  Expect great things from God TODAY and attempt great things for God FOREVER.

2016  Bro. dan's articles


  • December 2016 Newsletter Article

    During his annual address at the Oklahoma Baptist State Convention Dr. Jordan challenged us to write what he called a “Legacy Letter” for our family, friends, and descendants so they might be able to know of the hand of working in our lives for years to come.  My article this month is that letter and I hope it will encourage you to tell your own story to your loved ones possibly as the most significant Christmas gift you have ever given; the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

    Some say, “People never change” while others claim, “The only thing you can count on in this world is change.”  I believe people can and do significantly change every day it just never happens by accident.  People change at recognizable life altering crossroads in life.  Some crossroads are chosen; most are chosen for us.  Those that are chosen for us usually involve great loss, heartache, and remorse over a tragedy suffered. Granted, some are happy “surprises” but all of these crossroads must be navigated through reactions based on the personal substance of our lives.  It is at these moments that we can best see the great presence of our powerful God in our lives or the devastating and debilitating lack of His life giving presence.  It is my prayer that you will find yourself at one of these life crossroads and you will choose to “take up your cross” and follow Christ.

    I was raised in church.  My mother was a church secretary when I was born and most of my earliest memories involve church.  I remember seeing my mom and dad having personal quiet times and sitting with them in the pews every Sunday.  I remember stealing a morsel off of the mysterious Lord’s Supper table before services started just to find out what I was missing and quickly determining that I wasn’t missing much.  I fidgeted in the pews, leafed through the hymnals, wondered why the pastor was so boring, and slept as much as my father would allow. 

    One summer my mother was asked to cook for the group that was going to Falls Creek and my dad went along as a counselor/bouncer.  The sermons must have been exceptionally evangelistic because it seemed everyone wanted to talk to me about accepting Jesus as my Savior.  My dad was the most convincing of the evangelistic hoard and so at seven years old I looked up at that massive figure and submitted to whatever he suggested. 

    Two years later the Falls Creek scene repeated itself.  Mom was cooking and dad again went as a holy bouncer.  On Thursday night of camp Bailey Smith preached his well-known sermon from Matthew 13.  I vividly remember sitting center left of the congregation about two-thirds of the way back in a sea of teenagers but the message spoke directly to my heart.  I knew that I looked like a Christian but there was no spiritual substance of conversion.  That night during our cabin devotional I stood at an eternal crossroads and chose to follow Christ. 

    There have been many other spiritual crossroads in my life; coming to grips with God’s calling to vocational ministry, choosing to attend Oklahoma Baptist University, meeting and marrying my beautiful bride (to name just a few.) One such crossroads stands out as a pivotal moment in my walk with Christ.  Off and on as part of my spiritual life of devotion I read my bible and prayed.  There are even vivid moments of God shaping me into the man I am today but those moments were disconnected and inconsistent.  In 2010 I made a conscious decision to devote myself to a time of worship, scripture reading and prayer every morning.  I religiously went to my swing every morning to spend time with the Lord.  Several times I shoveled snow away from the swing so I could get to my “place” and when it rained I looked despondently at that swing and grudgingly sat in a chair in the living room for my time with the Lord.  That swing became a sacred place where God changed me.  He took the raw materials of my devotion and formed a much deeper connection to His Spirit than I ever could have imagined.  I made a very conscious choice to elevate my time with the Lord to the very highest priority but God took that choice and changed me more deeply than I understood was possible.  So, you now understand why I say people change every day but it never happens accidentally.

    If you haven’t submitted your life to the Lordship of Christ choose to follow Him as Lord and Savior right now.  If you often feel that there must be more to the Christian life, let me emphatically declare that there is! Choose to take up your cross every day and follow Christ.  Read the scriptures. Pray with fervor.  Worship a great and worthy God with great passion and courage. If you will simply meet Christ at the crossroads He will take you to depths you have only dreamed of seeing.  And with each step along the path you will be writing the epic story of a life well spent for the glory of God.

  • November 2016 Newsletter Article


    I know you don’t want to read another take on the presidential election. I don’t either! I will however utilize the opportunity presented by such a tumultuous election to share a little truth with anyone who will continue reading. I have been troubled to read the thoughts and opinions of God’s people related to the current state of affairs. If I was a lost person I might readily conclude that Christians are a fearful people who believe the government is ultimately in control of the fate of the Church. By way of reminder please consider the following biblical truths.


    God is. Such a simple statement yet infinitely powerful. God always has been, He is now and He always will be. When Moses asked God for His name a powerful statement was heard, “I am who I am.” We serve a God who is undeterred by hard hearted rulers, who sees His people’s distress, and hears their cries. We are a people who are called by His name and can confidently rest in His fatherly love. So, pray more. Worry less. Remember, God is.


    Jesus is Lord. When we recite such an audacious claim over and over we may become jaded to its amazing truth. As Lord, Jesus is ruling over His church and ultimately over all of creation. Nothing is outside of His purview. So the unmatched Lord of all is also Head of the Church and looking over her as His beloved bride. American culture, our nation and world are foreign to us for we are a people who are set apart from the world for His good pleasure. Our Lord is above the princes of this world so trust Him; Follow Him; Believe in Him. Jesus is Lord


    The Gospel is our message. When we preach against the ills of society we lose a wonderful opportunity. We are far too often like people who go to a cancer ward to tell the afflicted that cancer is bad. The message of the Gospel has never been, “Do better. Work harder. Stop sinning.” The Gospel always reveals our inability to live a virtuous life and God’s infinite ability to save the lost from their sin and grant abundant victorious life. So, live a gospel life knowing only Christ and Him crucified. When His message of redemption is fresh on our lips our thoughts and opinions will be seasoned with the grace of Christ and the hope found in His eternal reign. The Gospel is our message.