What wows pre-believers?

Jesus making a wow difference in believers.  What might that look like?   Howbout a contagious thankfulness that makes no sense, given my present circumstances?   So freshly overwhelmed with Jesus and His performance imputed to me, that nothing else in my life hardly matters to me, no matter how harrrd, no matter how much my flesh hates it, no matter how much sympathy and pity others give me for the ruggedness of my circumstances: I just ooze with thankfulness for Him and the perfectness of His plan for me.  I ooze with thankfulness for each harrrd in my life, that nobody in their right mind would be thankful for, believing as I do, that He’s promised to work all things together for the good of this kid of His.  Who lives this way?   Only someone freshly captivated by Jesus, freshly convicted of his sin of independence/self-confidence/shepherdness/orphanness by His Spirit, freshly undone/contrite, thankful for everything He’s used, no matter how painful, to bring me to the end of myself, and to contagious thankfulness.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s back to being DumbSheepDave, with a thankfulness that’s contagious to both believers and pre-believers around him, including the turned-off and even the antagonistic

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Helps me so much,

when I see the wickedness/evil of my independence, because otherwise, I tend to think of myself as not so bad, tend to be more focused on the weaknesses/sins of others, tend not to see my dissatisfaction with Jesus and His performance imputed to me, tend to not feel keenly the need for a SaviorShepherd, tend to not have a sense of having been forgiven much, and therefore tend to not love much — Jesus and others, especially pre-believers, and especially ones with values vastly different from my own.

Nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us kids of His, is to freshly convict us of our sin of independence/wickedness/evil, so we are freshly overwhelmed by Jesus, experiencing the ecstasy of His unconditional love for the likes of us.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to return to his Shepherd and embrace being lowly DumbSheepDave (please pray now)

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If I’m not fruitful with pre-believers,

it’s because I’m self-dependent way more than I’m Jesus-dependent.   Prove it, Dave.   Well, Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”   Follow Jesus, rather than following self.   Jesus-dependency verses self-dependency, i.e. leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes — human power verses Jesus-power.

Okay, Dave, so I’m a failure at following Jesus, as evidenced by my unfruitfulness with pre-believers, not to mention how circumstance-dependent I am for my joy and peace.   So how do I improve at following Jesus?   Not by trying harder — reforming myself, but by confessing my unbelief, my self-dependency, my willfulness/agenda, my dissatisfaction with Him, my using Him to get my way: “Jesus, bless my agenda.”   Ahhh, tis so sweet to be freshly convicted of my sin of independence, freshly dead to my own performance/righteousness, and freshly in love with Jesus, and others, especially those most different from myself, like turned-off-to-the-Church pre-believers, and even the antagonistic.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to be way more Jesus-dependent, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want his Savior  (please pray now)

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Walt Kendall’s memorial live streamed Thurs @ 10:30 EDT

For those of you who have known beloved Walt Kendall, grace-junkie pastor of 56, who died yesterday of cancer, the worship/memorial service will be live streamed at the link below.    From Westminster Presybterian Church, Sumter SC.

Live Stream

–WeakDave, who is thrilled to be able to attend from far-off Philly, through cyberspace, cuz he expects it to be powerful

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I’m bored with Jesus,

whenever I have high ownership for my relationships, ministry, favorite sports teams, my next used car/motorcycle I’ll purchase, my health, my investments.  And because folks have been praying for more Jesus-dependency in my life, I’m finding it easier to spot the cancer of independency/shepherdness that leads to high ownership of areas of idolatry that are all good things, but distractions from being captivated by Jesus.

So what’s a guy ta do, when he spots high ownership in his life for distracting idols?   Confess.  The enemy wants me feeling defeated, not confessing, that I’m so easily distracted from Jesus, trying to find LIFE in good places, but not the best place.   Actually the only place where LIFE can be found.  But hope springs eternal for my flesh, that other areas can provide the LIFE it craves.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to get off his throne, and take the lowly place of DumbSheepDave, so his joy and peace are contagious, especially to pre-believers (please pray now)

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Do I have a contagious love for Jesus?

That causes other believers and pre-believers around me, to want what I have, because He’s so awesome that nothing else hardly matters to me?  So I have an other-worldly humility, and an other-worldly love for others, especially those whose values are opposite of mine?  So I operate in out-of-character-for-Dave kinda ways?  Self-forgetting/uninhibited?

Or is my faith saltless, impotent, my love lukewarm?

How does one get fresh faith: that contagious-kinda love for Jesus?   I don’t see it starting as a cognitive/intellectual thing: not something I will into being: not something for which I get glory.   Faith is something granted.   A God-thing.  From the Spirit via fresh conviction of sin, especially the sin of indifference/dissatisfaction with Jesus and His righteousness imputed to me, wanting some of my own: wanting to feel good about Dave’s performance, as a believer, hubby, father, friend, Gospel-centric discipler, writer, lover-of-pre-believers, investor, manager-of-his-health-issues.  All good things.   But usually distractions for me.  From being captivated by the Lover of my soul.  So my love for Him is contagious.

–LukeWarmDave, needing prayer so he’s freshly wowed by Jesus, head-over-heels in love with Jesus, can’t stop thinking about Jesus, so the pre-believers around him are wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

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High-caste Hindus now following Jesus,

and paying a high cost.  Sareeta and Sunitha followed Sai Baba, a person that is worshipped as a god.  One of their sisters had a powerful mystical experience with the Hindu gods.  Her family and community started to look at their sister as a god herself.

Sareeta moved to London and everything went wrong.  She found herself all alone in the hospital.  She was dying but the doctors could not determine why.  A worker in the hospital shared that Jesus could heal her and he prayed for her.  She survived.  The Lord now had her attention.  God brought a series of Jesus-followers into her life and soon she gave up Sai Baba and became a follower of Jesus.

When she visited her family in India she told them about this Jesus who saved her life.  Her sister Sunitha became a believer too.  Both of them received abuse for their belief.  All Indian Christians are low caste.   They were giving up their high-caste somebodiness to be considered low-caste nobodies.   They endured shaming and abuse heaped on them by family and others.

Sunitha moved to London too.  Mounika, the daughter of their sister who is respected as a god, also wanted to learn about Jesus.  When her parents discovered this they shouted at her and her dad beat her.  She wanted to learn more about Jesus so she moved to London to live with her two aunts.

Today, all of them attend church and several Bible studies, including two run by missionaries I know who have created Indian-friendly Jesus-communities in several parts of London, full of both new believers and seekers.  Sometimes these three former high-caste Hindus call, Pat, a missionary for whom I pray, and invite her over to teach them some more.  Pat says they are voracious studiers of God’s Word.

–WeakDave, trying to get us believers to see ourselves as the ones most needy of further change by Jesus, so we hang out with pre-believers in fruitful ways (please pray now)

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Relax and enjoy the ride.

I sit behind the steering wheel, like God Himself, assuming I know the way, know good turns from bad.  Is it any wonder that life is so hard for me?  Boy this driving job seemed like a fairly easy one, but now I’m feeling pressure: like someone completely out of his element.  Sometimes fearful, sometimes frustrated, and sometimes discouraged.  ShepherdJesus is sitting in the back seat telling me it certainly doesn’t have to be this way.  I can crawl over the seat and sit in the back anytime I want.  ShepherdJesus is more than ready to switch with me and take the wheel.

But can I relax and enjoy the ride from the back seat?  Do I trust Him to make the right turns?  Am I sure He knows the right route to get me the happiness/LIFE I’m wanting?  Whoa, why is He turning down this street?  This doesn’t seem right to me at all.  What is He doing?  Is He worthy of my trust, or is He in fact the nincompoop, ne’r-do-well that I am beginning to suspect?  Uh-oh, another turn up a street that seems equally bad.  I think I’d better jump back into the front seat and take control of this car.  I’m just sure I know a better way.  This is out of the way, we’re taking some roads that could be very dangerous/hazardous…especially to my comfort, reputation, self-esteem.

“Okay, ShepherdJesus, that’s it; get out from behind the wheel; I’m taking over.  I may not have the self-confidence I’d like in all areas of my life, but I doggone sure know good turns from bad turns, good roads from bad ones, and this is not a good route You’ve taken me on.  Stop the car: either I want the wheel, or I want out.”

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to embrace being childlike, dependent, riding-in-the-back-seat DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by the difference his Shepherd makes in his life, and want Him too (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