When most things in life are going my way,

…I’m rarely wowed by Jesus.   Maaaybe grateful to Him for the “blessings” I’m experiencing, because He appears to be enabling my agenda.  But it’s all about me.  Pulling the strings in my life according to plan.  With His help, of course.

But when nothing seems to be going my way, I’m much more likely to recognize my indifference to Jesus: my dissatisfaction with Him, and His performance imputed to me.   And frequently the Spirit convicts me of my self-absorption, so I realize afresh, what astonishing, amazing love He has for the likes of me.

Now, I’m wowed.

Success doesn’t nurture wow for Jesus and His love for me, but failure sure does.  Fertile soil for Jesus-dependency, Jesus-absorption, so I hardly care about the areas of my life where I’m obsessive, controlling, intense.

And when I’m wowed by Jesus, those around me — both believer and pre-believer, are much-more likely to be wowed by the Jesus in me, making a big difference in my life, giving me a joy and a peace that pre-believers want.  Wow is contagious.

–ShepherdDave, always needing prayer to be DumbSheepDave, captivated by his Shepherd (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

 

“Dave, your posts shout self-contempt.”

I understand why some feel that.  So lemme splain.   Years ago, I was filled with self-contempt, did not handle failure well, did not extend grace to myself, but was blind to all this.   But in 1984 Janet and I went through World Harvest’s Sonship Course, and God used it to begin to change our lives.  For many years thereafter, He continued to use it to change me, as I soaked in the good news of Jesus every day, sometimes many times a day, and for years I’ve been asking Pray-ers to pray for fresh conviction of sin in my life, so I’d be less concerned about Dave’s performance, and more concerned about Jesus’ performance, imputed to me.  So I’d be less in love with myself, and more in love with Him.  The result, is that I am today much more aware of my sin/idolatry/failure, but also much more self-accepting than ever before in my life, because I feel so loved and accepted by the only One who counts.  So I’m free-er than ever before, to look inside and see the awful truth about myself, so I can confess what the Spirit shows me, to be wrong.   Without this foundation of grace, I lived for years, in major denial of my feelings, my failures.   And the people who had to live with me, suffered the most from my cluelessness/insensitivity.

The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin, so I’m feeling freshly forgiven, feeling freshly loved by Him, just as I am, warts and all.   So while it may seem like the guy who writes this stuff is an unhappy, morbidly-introspective, self-absorbed person, I’m just journaling what the Spirit is teaching me, about myself, God, others, and my circumstances, and this truth sets me free-er and free-er, and I’m way happier than ever, in my entire life!  So if you’ve been praying for me, thank you so much, and if you haven’t been, please begin.

–ShepherdDave, who is way more DumbSheepDave than ever before in his life, because folks pray (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

 

The biggest lie I believe,

in my less-sane moments, is that I know what’s best, for me, and those I love.  Without this confidence, it would be impossible for me to be the agendified, control-freak perfectionist I am, impossible for me to be intense, hurried, worried, frustrated, or discouraged.

New blog address: dumbsheepdave.com

Jesus came to rescue me from myself, and I need rescuing every single day, all day long, because I’m so gullible about believing this big lie.   I’m ShepherdDave, leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes.

But when the Spirit of Jesus loves me well, and freshly convicts me of my sin of shepherdness/independence, I’m sane again, dunno what’s best for me or the other sheep, happy to be protected from myself by my Shepherd, curious and expectant to see what He will do next, and able to thank Him about everything, because sheep don’t know which things are thankable and which are not.   Ahhh, what a counter-intuitive-but-wonderful life.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to be DumbSheepDave more, so he’s havin fun, not circumstance-dependent for his joy and peace, the envy of those around him, especially pre-believers, so they want what he has (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

 

I worship human accomplishment.

Others’ accomplishment.  My accomplishment.   I unwittingly worship/adore/revere that which wows me.   I’m wowed by excellence in human endeavor.  That is, when I’m ShepherdDave, leaning on my own understanding, wise in my own eyes, so I can captain my soul, master my fate.   Flagrant independence.   I’m not braggin, but confessin.

Observing the excellence of others, strokes me in the direction of independence/sheperdness/self-reliance/pride, makes me wannabe great too, so I feel good about self.   This kind of idolatry weirds me and my relationships, and leaves me joyless and peaceless, unless things momentarily go my way.   “God bless my agenda,” is the prayer of believers who function as independents, because independents know what’s best for self and others.

But when the Spirit lovingly convicts me of my understanding-idolatry —  my independence/shepherdness/self-confidence, my dissatisfaction with Jesus and His righteousness imputed to me, I return to being DumbSheepDave, just havin fun, like a three-year-old toddler, protected from himself by his Parent.   DumbSheepDave could care less about his own accomplishment/performance, or the performance of the other sheep, because he’s so wowed by his Shepherd, and by the performance of his Shepherd.

Ahhh.   Tis so sweet to be a clueless sheep — asking about everything, thanking about everything: curious and expectant to see what the Shepherd will do next — which doors He’ll open and which He’ll close.   Sheep dunno what’s best.   But they believe their Shepherd does.  Ahhh, carefree living.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to function like DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: http://gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: http://dumbsheepdave.com

Waiter murders two, then changed by Jesus.

Brian Phillips is a young missionary hubby I mentor, who’s headed to Spain.  Your faith will be nurtured by reading below, these excerpts of his prayer update last week.  And if you’re looking for a new missionary family to support, check out their blog. http://briankassie.com

–WeakDave, trying to promote more non-Christian fellowship

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: http://gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: http://dumbsheepdave.wordpress.com

Praying friends,

I want to thank you again for your prayers and notes of encouragement. If our partnership with you does anything, I hope that it dispels the silly notion that missionaries are  “super-Christians” or have any less need for grace than non-missionaries. Believe me, if missions were only for the have-it-all-together Christians, Kassie and I would not be qualified! This time of deputation/support-raising keeps on showing us how selfish and faith-less we are. God is overhauling our souls, but it ain’t a pretty process. I feel myself doubting a lot, while I know ALL God wants from me is trust. That’s why we named our youngest son Jairus, because to him Jesus said,  “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”


For the last few months, I’ve been asking people to pray for our friend Manuel Cazares. Manuel was our favorite waiter at our favorite restaurant. I tried to share the Gospel with him, but he said, “Nah, I’m too bad for that. Maybe when I am older.” Many months later, Manuel murdered his girlfriend and her paramour. After visiting him in jail (getting to visit him in itself was a work of God), I was able to share about hope and forgiveness found in Jesus many times to Manuel. He wanted more information and was eventually transformed by God. Manuel was later found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.

Support raising was looking pretty bleak a month ago, but is now more encouraging. I was reminded that my job is not to raise money. My job is to tell as many people as possible how God has been working in us and why we are excited to join what He is doing in Spain. His job is to raise the money. We’re over 15% now and I’m asking God to get us to 30% by the end of May. No matter what, I know that God is in control and His plans are perfect.

Prayer requests:

Manuel – pray that he would be assigned to a prison with solid, Spanish-speaking believers and that he could hug his son before going to prison. There is a possibility that I will speak at his sentencing trial in St. Charles, MO.


I’m not wowed by Jesus,

unless I’ve been freshly convicted of my sin, and typically, my sin of independence/shepherdness/self-confidence/orphan-ness/self-reliance.   And I find that others aren’t wowed by the Jesus in me, if I’m not freshly wowed by Jesus, and His salvation of me, His righteousness imputed to me.   Especially pre-believers.

Fixing my eyes and thoughts on Jesus doesn’t seem to do anything for me, unless the Spirit is at work, freshly convicting me of my sin of trying to find LIFE someplace other than, in a relationship with Jesus.   But once I’ve been freshly convicted, it’s so easy, so natural, for me to fix my eyes and thoughts on Jesus, to be overwhelmed by Him and His love for me, so that nothing else hardly matters.  Effortless.  Doesn’t last long, however, due to the world, flesh, devil.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to function as DumbSheepDave, just havin fun, without strong agenda, curious and expectant to see what doors his Shepherd will open and close (please pray now)

To read past email updates or free subscribe: http://gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: http://dumbsheepdave.wordpress.com/

Why Dumb Sheep Dave?

Because humans were made for dependency, like dumb sheep, and we encounter enormous stress when we created-dependents try and function as independents: shepherds.   Dumb sheep are protected from fear, frustration, discouragement, boredom, when we function as dumb sheep, looking to our Shepherd, curious and expectant to see what He will do next, rather than trying to shepherd my self, captain my soul, master my fate.

Dumb sheep are like a loved three-year-old, protected from him/herself by a loving Parent, and the three-year-old just has FUN.  Carefree, fun, stressless living.

Okay, Dave, I see that, but I’m such a shepherd.   How do I change myself to function more like a dumb sheep?  Impossible to change yourself in this way.   You, I, need intervention from on High, fresh conviction of our sin of independence/shepherdness, over and over, so that over time, we begin to embrace, more and more, being dumb sheep, not apologizing for being so weak, helpless, needy, embracing the way The Creator made us: dependent.   And who gets the glory for our gradual change from independency/shepherdness to Jesus-dependency/dumb-sheepness?   Only Jesus.   Ahhh.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to function as CluelessSheepDave, so his carefree living is noticed by the pre-believers around him, so they want what he has (please pray now)

Why I’m thankful the Church is so sick

Jack Miller used to say that the difference between what would happen normally, and what happens with an infusion of grace, that difference, is the glory of God.

So if we believers are known by the watching world for being the proudest, most self-righteous, poorest lovers of those most different from ourselves, and then are dramatically changed by a powerful outpouring of the Spirit in a widespread awakening, into supernaturally-humble, supernaturally-loving people, the watching world would be wowed by God’s work in us, and we’d be wowed too.  Glory to Jesus.

Imagine the impact of the watching world two thousand years ago, if the Pharisees were overhauled into supernaturally-humble, supernaturally-loving children of God.   Well.   Many were.   And it rocked many in the watching world, and they came to the Jesus overflowing from the early believers who enjoyed the favor of all the people.

And I’m thankful for a bloated and corrupt federal government in D.C., for the same reason.   If the Church were to become the Church in our day, our nation would be changed dramatically, and this would rock the watching world.

And I’m thankful for my superiority addiction, that causes me to always be looking for ways to feel superior to others, so I can feel better about myself.   As I am more and more set free from this horrible bondage, this will rock the world of both believers and pre-believers around me, giving them hope in the power of Jesus to change the unchangeable.

–CluelessSheepDave, thanking DaddyJesusSpirit for the things he thinks are bad/wrong, cuz it helps him be curious and expectant to see what the Shepherd will do next, working all things together for the good of us kids of His, and for His glory (please pray now)