💎Dave’s Diamonds: “Ask Anything”💎
I don’t want to ask a dumb question. I don’t want to look stupid in front of the class. I don’t want to embarrass myself by asking something I should keep to myself. There are many things that hold us back from asking questions. My kids will often say to me in an embarrassing tone, “Dad, you ask way too many questions.” Whether it is my curiosity or lack of filter, yes I do like to question things. I’m glad that Jesus is on my side and invites us to seek answers to questions we might have. Jesus says to his disciples in John 14:14, “You many ask me for anything.” I love several things about this invitation. First, I love how approachable Jesus is. Jesus wants us to ask him for help. He is able to help us and desires that we ask him for assistance every step of the way. He never says, I don’t have time, not now, or don’t be a bother. Second, I love how available Jesus is as he invites us to ask him for anything. Did you hear that? A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g! Nothing is too trivial, insignificant, or unimportant for God. Third, I love how accommodating Jesus is. He makes room for us and opens himself to our struggles, setbacks, and sins. Jesus invites us to come to him, bringing our burdens and worries right along with us. Jesus wants to develop a deeper relationship with you and He is there to hear from us and help us. Don’t be afraid to ask! Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
💎Dave’s Diamonds: “Good Medicine”💎
How many of you like to have fun, like to smile, like to laugh? A joyful spirit is healthy for the body as we are reminded in Proverbs 17:22 that “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” People who laugh tend to live longer, have a healthier immune system, and are less susceptible to chronic illness. Those who have a positive outlook on life are in a much better position to handle adversity when it comes their way. Medical journals and doctors alike would all agree with Proverbs 17. As your pastor, I enjoy having fun and bringing joy to worship and to our lives. Someone recently said to me, “Your church is different.” I asked, “How so?” She replied, “You have fun in church, people laugh, and they enjoy being there.” Church should be a place where we are encouraged in our faith, where we learn how to handle adversity, and where we celebrate the greatest news of all: Christ’s redeeming work on the cross. Whether it is through a children’s message, music, or sermon illustration, we need to remember that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Loosen up, laugh, and live! Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
💎Dave’s Diamonds: “Seeing the Good”💎
It’s easy to dwell on the negative and to point out the shortcomings in others. Did you see what she was wearing? Did you see what he did yesterday at work? Finding fault in others comes so much more naturally and easily that looking at the positive. In the opening chapter of the Bible, as God created the heavens and the earth, God looked out on five different occasions and saw that it was good. God sees the good and invites us to do the same each day. It’s easy to dwell on the smoke that has settled into the Yellowstone Valley; it’s easy to focus on the political tension that separates Democrats and Republicans; it’s easy to concentrate on the rising costs of food and gas; it’s easy to remember the aches and pains of our aging bodies. But when God looked out among creation, God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:25). I want to challenge you to see the good that is in front of you this day. Choose to see the good in people, the good in your family situation, the good in your daily life. Choose to see the good in God’s abundance and blessings; the good in Christ’s work upon the cross; the good in our Savior who loves us unconditionally. By changing your perspective you will change your life. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “In His Hands”
I played the violin for about two weeks in the fourth grade before my parents exclaimed, “That’s enough!” and took the instrument back to the music store. The first song I tried to master was Hot Cross Buns, but the way I played it sounded more like a bunch of alley cats in a Friday night scrap. In my hands the violin sounded pathetic and wretched and I might go down in history as the world’s worst violin player.
Itzhak Perlman, born in 1945, is considered one of the greatest violinists of our time. He has performed all over the world including dinners at the White House, presidential inaugurations, and for Queen Elizabeth II. People pay big money to see him perform, while my parents paid big money to see me stop. What’s the difference between me and Itzhak? We both are men, we both played the violin, we both share a passion for music. The difference, however, comes down to ability. In his hands the violin is alive and beautiful and in my hands, well…you know.
The same is true in our relationship with God. There is a great verse in Ephesians 3:20 that says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory.” We can accomplish so much more when we allow our lives to be placed in God’s hands. Like the violin, the performer makes all the difference. Allow your life to be placed in the hands of the Great Performer and he will allow you to do things so much greater than you can imagine on your own. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Destruction”
Have you driven past the downtown Burger King lately? If so, you will not see much as it has been demolished. And not only the Burger King, but the former US Bank drive-thru building that sat adjacent on the corner of North 27th Steet and 6th Avenue. In a matter of just a few days those two properties were leveled, leaving a few piles of stone, concrete, and bricks. What took months to build only took a few days to destroy.
How true is that with our lives? Sin can bring us down in a hurry. Our reputations can be shattered with one bad decision. The powers of darkness through addiction can leave us in a heap of rubble. Jesus wants to build us up and by following God’s provisions we can stand through all kinds of adversity. Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus is in the business of restoration and building us up. We all have made mistakes and have fallen away from the truth. By seeking God’s forgiveness, living under the umbrella of his grace, and following God’s precepts, we can remain strong and encouraged. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Words”
I knew I had made a mistake as soon as the words left my mouth. I tried to take them back and stop them, but by then it was too late. We have all found ourselves in this situation, and for me it was last Sunday. I have often said that our words are like toothpaste—once they leave the tube they are impossible to put back. Our words can hurt, cut, wound, and upset. They can offend, damage, abuse, and insult. The Bible tells us that our words are like the rudder of a ship, small but powerful as a small rudder can steer a large vessel. (James 3:4-6). Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” I want to do better with my words and use them to build people up and bring health to others. God desire that our words bring sweetness to others and are used to edify those with whom we come in contact. Will you join me in bringing life, health, and joy to those who we will meet on this day? Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Who Can We Trust?”With the recent string of email scams that have been going around, it is hard to know who to trust anymore. Most of us are cautious to answer an unknown phone call; we are advised not to disclose any personal information over the phone or computer; and many of us are leery to stop and offer help to people on the side of the road. Several weeks ago, after being stranded at a rest area near Missoula due to a deer collision, I approached several strangers seeking a ride back to Billings. One man said, “I’m not sure that I can trust you.” After telling him that I am a pastor and a chaplain with the Billings Police Department, he said, “I’m still not comfortable with giving you a ride.” Who can we trust?
I appreciate the trust we can place in the Lord. God is one we can count on, one we can lean into, and rely upon. The Lord’s track record with helping people spans millennia and we know that we can count on the Lord. Psalm 20:7 states, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Stay strong and encouraged in your faith as we can trust in the Lord. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Stuff”
Dave’s Diamonds: “Fizzle Out”
Dave’s Diamonds: “More Alive?”
Are there times when you feel more alive as a person? I know this question sounds rather strange, but bear with me. Are there times and seasons in your life that you feel a greater awareness to life? I raise this idea following our recent mission trip to Denton, Montana, where one of the youth told me that they feel “more alive” when they are serving God and doing things for others. I thought this was a profound statement and fully agreed with her idea. Scottish theologian Thomas Torrance observed, “Jesus Christ represents humanity fully alive.” There is something to this idea of giving and serving that bring out the best in us, perhaps even the real us. Jesus would agree. After washing his disciples’ feet, he says something very interesting and important. In John 13:17, Jesus reminds his following by saying “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” The word blessed in this context means whole or full of life. Yes, when we do things for others we have a greater sense of who we are and a deeper consciousness of life.
Jesus invites us to have life and life to the fullness (John 10:10). We enter into the depth of this life when we do things for others. I invite you to bring out your best self and experience a deeper life by helping another. When we do this, we will be blessed! Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Flat Tires”
I got a flat tire on Monday night coming home from work. Doesn’t it seem that flat tires come at the most inopportune times? By the time I noticed the tire going low, there were no tire stores open and trying to find a gas station with a working air pump was more of a challenge than it should have been. Does life ever bring you unexpected challenges? The answer for all of us is a resounding yes. Some of you might feel like the character Pig-Pen from the Charlie Brown cartoon who has a dark cloud hovering over you on a regular basis. Jesus knew this about us and in John 16:33 he says, “In this world you will have troubles, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” Jesus says clearly that not everything will go our way and that we will face challenges and obstacles throughout life. But we can be of good cheer because Jesus is the overcomer of things and helps us through our challenges. The next time you are faced with a challenge, remember to call upon the Lord and seek his ways and he will cheer you up. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Faith Development”
Many of us can trace our faith journeys back to an experience we had at a summer camp, retreat, or vacation Bible school. It was likely in those special times when our faith was impacted the most and we felt closest to the Lord. For me, I can vividly remember a youth retreat I was on during my junior year in high school as I felt God leading me and nudging me to a deeper faith. I came away from that weekend near Lake Tahoe with a stronger faith and greater appreciation for God. Many of you have shared a similar experience. It is for this reason that our church places a strong emphasis upon our ministry to children and youth. Statistics show that most people (78% in a recent study) come to faith before the age of 18. This goes to say that the most effective time to teach people about God are in their formative years. The Bible reminds us to “Train up a child in the way they should go; and when they are old they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Let’s work together with our upcoming VBS week, summer camps, and mission trip to help spur kids on in their faith and trust in the Lord. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Thank You”
I have a deep appreciation for those who serve in our military and veterans who have served. We have many in our church with military experience and service. Our oldest veteran is Don Harr (99 years old) who served during World War II. Others from our church have served in Korea, Germany, Vietnam, the Middle East, and among other places. Our military has fought to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today. Many of us take for granted the freedoms of speech, religion, and right to assemble. These freedoms didn’t come without a price, for many have sacrificed physically, emotionally, and mentally to maintain these liberties. The cost associated with these freedoms in manifested in higher rates of suicide among veterans and current military. Many of our veterans have been affected by PTSD as a result of trauma they experienced in the military. The divorce rate for military personnel is higher due to the demands that are placed and the length of absence many have from their families.
As Memorial Day will be celebrated this Monday, let’s join together to say, “thank you.” Thank you for your service and sacrifice, thank for your time and talents, thank you for your selfless actions to make our country and the world a better and safer place. Jesus says it so well in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than one who lays down his life for others.” To the men and women who have served and continue to serve, we salute you! -Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Stressed Out”
May is a busy month with lots of celebrations, including graduations, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. Many of our May calendars tend to be quite full. With all of these activities, it can raise our stress level just a bit. For those hosting parties and gatherings there are houses that need to be cleaned, food that needs to be made, decorations that need to be arranged, and invitations that need to be sent. I can feel the stress level around our house on the uptick as we are preparing for a wedding, guests, and a rehearsal dinner. The apostle Paul had much more to worry about then we do these days. He could have been worried about being persecuted for his faith, worried about being imprisoned unjustly for his belief in Jesus, and worried about what the future would bring. While imprisoned in Rome in the Emperor’s Jail, Paul writes these words to the beloved church in Philippi, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Paul gives the secret recipe to alleviate worry: share your problems with the Lord, be thankful for what you have, and receive God’s protection through the peace He provides. Remember to include God into your daily lives, seeking God’s help, and receiving God’s blessings of peace and calm. This is a good combination for a busy month. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Routine Maintenance”
“My car is making a weird noise,” a friend of mine told me over the phone several months ago. “What kind of noise?” I asked. “It’s kind of a low gravel sound and then becomes a screeching noise when I turn my steering wheel.” “Sounds like your power steering fluid is low.” “What is the power steering fluid?” “Just bring your car by and I will take a look.” Sure enough the power steering reservoir was plumb empty. I added the much needed fluid up to the fill line and the problem went away. Routine maintenance is essential for a vehicle to run smoothly. Regular oil changes, fluid level checks, and tire rotations help add life to your vehicle. The same is true with our faith. Practicing routine spiritual maintenance like daily Bible reading, prayer, worship, and involvement in a small group help us keep our lives running smoothly. Psalm 68:19 reminds us, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; for God is our salvation.” I encourage you to spend time daily with the Lord and you will find great benefits as a result. Don’t wait until your tires are low, your oil is out, or your power steering fluid reservoir is empty. Seek the Lord every day and your life will be blessed. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Dried Up”
Some years ago our family visited Hoover Dam, along the Colorado River outside of Las Vegas. We visited there in July and by the time we got to that large mass of concrete the temperature was 115 degrees. The sun was beating down on us and taking its toll upon our bodies. Erin, who was six years old at the time, was impacted the most. As we were making our way across the dam and back to the visitor’s center, she sat down on the concrete and said, “I just can go any farther.” Drips of sweat were coming from her head and her cheeks turned pale. We got her some water, got her to her feet, and then got her into the air conditioned visitor’s center. The water and cooler temperatures did the trick and in a matter of a few minutes she was back to her six year old self (some of you remember that six year old Erin).
The prophet Ezekiel addresses a group of dried up people who were running on empty. He looks out and sees a valley of dried bones, and as he is looking at this scene of parched and thirsty bodies, he sees something interesting take place. The Lord comes and breathes new life into these bones, attaches tendons to their bodies, and bring new life to this washed up valley. I appreciate the ways God brings new life to us and can transform our dry and parched lives with his abundant life giving Spirit. The Lord says, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live” (Ezekiel 37:14). Maybe you feel washed up, depleted, and left out to dry. Allow God’s Spirit to penetrate your bodies, bringing new life to your soul and encouragement to your being. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Faith Looks Up”
Think of a great challenge you have faced in life. Perhaps it was finishing your education and getting all of those assignments in and passing your final exams. Maybe it was paying off debt…the student loan, a car payment, or even paying off the house. Perhaps it was a medical issue…fighting cancer, overcoming an illness, or recovering from an injury. Maybe it was facing grief and walking your way through the darkness of losing a spouse, parent, child, or friend. We all face challenges in life and how we approach those challenges can make a world of difference. I came across a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson several weeks ago, “Sorrow looks down, worry looks around, but faith looks up.” Sorrow causes us to keep our heads down in grief; worry causes us to look around in fear; but faith invites us to look up and see God at work amid our challenges. We are told in Mark’s account of the resurrection that when the women “looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away” from the entrance to the tomb (Mark 16:4). What a powerful image and invitation. The next time you are facing a challenge, remember to look up and embrace the power of God who is there to help you through. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “He’s Not Here!”
One of the first lessons we learn in our Christian faith is that Jesus is everywhere. He is on the mountaintops and in the valleys; he is in our churches, schools, workplaces, and homes. There is nowhere we can go where Jesus is not present. We hear stories to this truth and sing songs about this fact. But there is one place where Jesus is not…he’s not in the grave. As the women make their way to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning, they are greeted by a young man dressed in a white robe (presumably an angel). He says to the women, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here” (Mark 16:6). He is not here. It is one of the great statements of faith as Jesus is not present in the tomb or contained to the grave. He is risen and invites us to embrace this new reality of faith as we worship a savior who is alive and with us. Let us choose life, and in doing so we embrace the reality of hope, joy, and eternal life. Stay strong and encouraged in your walk with the Lord. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “A Crockpot Faith”
The purpose of Jesus’ gradual appearances are to help deepen our faith and trust in the Lord. John writes in John 20:31, “But these stories
are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Slow and steady wins that race of faith. Stay strong and encouraged in your walk with the Lord. –DaveI much prefer the microwave to the crockpot. Microwaves provide instant results, whereby a crockpot takes time, and lots of it. Microwaves can pop popcorn in under two minutes and can warm up leftovers in a jiffy. Crockpots can take up to eight hours to produce a meal, and who has time for that? We live in a microwave society of instant results and drive through service. If we have to wait in line for more than five minutes we become agitated and restless. We want fast internet speeds, express checkout lines, and the Instant Pot meal. Jesus was on the “slow cooker” setting in the days following Easter. He neither makes a splashy appearance in Jerusalem nor a flamboyant arrival in Rome. No fanfare, parade, pomp, or spectacle. The first to arrive at the empty tomb were a few women and then the word spread to a few disciples. From there it spread to a few more and then a few more. In all, Jesus made 17 appearances over a span of nearly 60 years. Slow, gradual, steady. Isn’t that just like Jesus, making his way slowly into our lives? Kind of like a crockpot.
Dave’s Diamonds: “In the Morning”How long will this pain last? How long will I feel this way? Is there any relief in sight? Will things ever get better? We all have asked these kinds of questions, and they usually come from a dark place of despair. When you are going through an injury, illness, or walking through the valley of grief, there are times when you think that life will never get better. It’s easy and quite natural to sink into the mire of misery and think that our best days are behind us. I love the optimism of King David in Psalm 30 when he writes, “Weeping will last for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
David is in a tough spot as he writes these words. He feels surrounded by his enemies; he feels alone and isolated in his pain; and his current situation has brought him to tears. This was the same David who was victorious over the giant Goliath, the same David who ruled as king of Israel for 40 years, the same David who people still recognize today as the greatest leader in the history of Israel. This verse reminds us that we all will go through difficult times and these times can leave us despondent and disillusioned. But weeping isn’t the last word in this verse, rejoicing is. As Christians we are people of Easter hope and this hope sustains and supports us in the promise that better days are ahead. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “The Son’s Difference”
The snow storm we had over this past weekend was one of the most unusual storms I have ever experienced. I have seen lots of winter storms throughout my life, having lived in Alaska, Wyoming, Iowa, North Dakota, and Montana. But, what made this storm so unusual was the varying levels of snow that accumulated in one’s yard or business. For example, here at the church we had very little snow accumulate in our church’s parking lot, but on our church’s playground we had almost a foot of snow. Another example, our driveway at home had very little accumulation, but the driveway directly across the street had a vast amount of snow. The distance between the two locations is only a matter of several hundred feet, but the amount of snow that accumulated seemed to be the difference between San Diego and Siberia. So what was the difference? The difference came down to areas of sun and areas of shade. The snow accumulated in areas of shade, but melted in areas of sun. What a difference the sun made last weekend. As people of faith we would also say the same thing: the “Son” makes all the difference. Jesus, the unique representation of God in human form, is unlike anything else in all of creation. Acts 4:12 says it so well, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to humankind by which we must be saved.” As we enter Holy Week, we are drawn to Jesus who hung on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and on the third day rose again. The Son makes all of the difference for us, both now and into eternity. May we join in praise and worship to the One who is unique. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Help!”
I’m not one who likes to ask for help, and I’m guessing that we have this in common. Asking for help is often associated with a sign of weakness, disclosing a frailty, or admitting a vulnerability. “I can do it myself” is one of the first complete sentences young children will say. I avoid asking for help because I don’t want to be a bother to someone else, putting them out, or dipping into their time. Many things get in the way of us asking for help: our pride, admitting weakness, or surrendering control to someone else. And, as a result I find myself struggling to lift a lawn mower into the back of a pickup by myself, dislodge a car from a snowbank by myself, or complete my taxes by the April 15 deadline by myself. Psalm 121:2 reminds us, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Remember, these words were not written by a weak, incapable, and vulnerable person. They were written by King David, who ruled Israel for 40 years; King David, who took down the giant Goliath with sling and stone; King David who is still known as the most valiant soldier in the history of the Hebrew people. Yes, King David admitted his weakness and realized that his help came from the Lord. What a great resource we have in the Lord. Tap into his power, lean on his promises, and be renewed by his presence. In addition, when we seek the help of others we come to realize that we help others fulfill their purpose. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. –Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Leftovers”
How many of you like eating leftovers? There are certain foods that make better leftovers than others: lasagna, meat loaf, and sweet and sour chicken are some of my favorite left-over dishes. But, to be honest, there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal. Apparently, God is not a big fan of leftovers. As the Israelites were wandering in the desert for those 40 years on their way to the Promise Land, God provided them with daily bread. Each day God would supply the multitude with manna, in a quantity that was sufficient for the day. Being resourceful people, some tried to store the manna and make provisions for the next day through leftovers. But, as we learn in the story, these leftovers spoiled and were not edible. There is an important “leftover lesson” that God is teaching us: God provides just what we need for each day, nothing more and nothing less. Jesus, in teaching us how to pray, instructs us with these words, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Daily bread, neither leftover bread or future bread, but daily bread. May we trust in the Lord this day. May we dwell in God’s presence this day. May we tap into God’s resources this day. When we do we will find the strength and provisions we need to get us though this day. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith on this day. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “I’m Sorry”
It’s very difficult to admit when you are wrong. Whether you are three or 93, most of us have a hard time saying “I’m sorry.” It’s been said that apologies are the Brussels sprouts of relationships: even though they are good for us, most of us will chose a different option. Pride, control, embarrassment, guilt, and fear all stand in our way of apologizing. There have been times when I’d rather go to the dentist than have to apologize for my mistakes. We tend to want to justify our transgressions, cover up our mistakes, or minimize the hurt we have caused others. Yes, forgiveness, according to author Philip Yancey, is “an unnatural act.” But there is something freeing and therapeutic about coming clean with our sins. The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” When we admit our mistakes and come clean with a contrite heart and a humble spirit, growth will come and salvation will be achieved. As difficult as it is, forgiveness benefits us and helps our souls not only heal, but grow. During this season of Lent, may our spirits be broken in order that we might find the wholeness that is available in Christ. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “A God Thing”
I had an experience last Sunday night that can only be attributed to the hand of God. The events that unfolded last Sunday night, beginning in the church parking lot and culminating in a time of reconciliation with a family, was more than just a coincidence. I am convinced that God had his hand in the entire situation, orchestrating and directing the many facets and intricacies of the details that played out over a period of several hours. People often say things like, Why doesn’t God work today like God used to in the Bible times? I wish I could see the hand of God in my daily life? I wonder if God is still working in our world today? We are reminded in Romans 8:28, “God works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” It is exciting to see life and faith intersect and witness the hand of God upon the life of a 38 year old woman who needed to get her life back on track. We need nudges and reminders in our lives that God is still working, that faith is still relevant, and that our Christian lives matter to the Lord. It is an exciting time to be a Christian and to witness the power of God at work in our lives and world today. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Spiritual Boot Camp”
In all of my years as a pastor I have never ever heard anyone say I’m looking forward to the season of Lent. We look forward to Christmas and Easter, but not Lent! The season of Lent, the forty days leading up to Easter, is like a spiritual boot camp, as it provides a time to get into spiritual shape and a time for a deeper discipline in our spiritual journeys. Lent, along with Boot Camp, often have negative connotations. We often think of giving things up for Lent, a season when we have to withhold things from our daily lives. Some give up sweets, others give up caffeine, while others give up meat. Yes, who would look forward to that?
Instead of thinking of Lent as merely a time for us to “get through,” I want us to think about using Lent as a season to grow and deepen our faith and trust in God. I have found that we grow best in our faith during times and seasons of struggle and discipline. The Bible reminds us, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). Lent may not feel pleasant at the time, but if used properly, we can find it to be a productive and effective season to grow in our faith. I hope you will use this season to read your Bible, join a small group, get involved in Sunday school, attend worship, and deepen your faith in Christ. Stay strong and encouraged in your faith. --Dave
Dave’s Diamonds: “Destination”
I can’t imagine the surprise and embarrassment Kingsley Burnett must have felt as he landed in Billings last week. Most of you know the story by now as he m