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)

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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)

Is Jesus the answer to all my problems?

In other words, is He enough for me?  Or when I run to him with a problem, do I use Him, to get my way: want Him to fix it according to my agenda?   Or do I confess to Him, that He’s only enough for me, when He fixes my problems according to my agenda?  Is He enough for me when He does not fix my problem, according to my agenda?

Am I transparent enough with my pre-believing friends and relatives for them to see that Jesus is enough?   Or is not?  I.e., do they know how Jesus-needy I am: what a failure I am at following Jesus, and that Jesus came for sicko’s, not the spiritually together?

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to be JesusDependentDave, so he hardly cares about anything but Jesus, so that his pre-believing friends are wowed and want the same freedom/fun/LIFE (please pray now)

Not my problem, not my job.

God’s problem, God’s job.  Wow.  I can’t tell you what a bombshell this has been for me.  Maybe obvious to you, and I feel a bit silly for feeling so profoundly impacted by such an obvious statement, but over the past month, this has been changing my life, and I can only conclude that it’s an answer to your prayers for me, to live more as a Jesus-dependent, adopted son, clueless sheep, go-fer, rather than the independent, orphan, shepherd, CEO of my life, that fosters intensity in me, and confines me to a prison of drivenness.  Now maybe you’re not a hyper-conscientious type like I am, so maybe it won’t be as dramatically helpful to you, as it’s been to me, but what are the circumstances in your life, today, that tend to weigh on you, rob you of the joy and peace that is yours in Christ Jesus?

As I’ve been going through my day, I find myself saying to myself, “Not my problem, not my job: God’s problem, God’s job.”  Or shorter, “Not my problem, not my job.”   If you’re struggling to rest in Jesus in light of all you face right now, try it.   So what is my job?  As CluelessSheepDave, my job is to be curious and expectant to see what my Shepherd will do next: how He will lead me.  And when I struggle to do my job, to be curious and expectant, all I need to do, is confess my sin of unbelief in Him and His promises to work ALL things together for my good, and His glory.

Satan wants me to believe, that I’m supposed to be in charge of my life, supposed to be responsible for all that I face, supposed to make a difference, supposed to know how to engineer happiness for myself and those I love.  Wrong.  I was not created independent, but dependent.  I’m CluelessSheepDave in my saner moments.  ShepherdDave, in my less-sane ones.

Okay, Dave but what about being responsible, when it’s clear God’s called me to something?  Well, if it’s God’s job, not my job, I won’t be all weirded and worried by it, and I won’t have the kind of ownership that causes me devastation when I fail: I’ll be relaxed, curious, expectant, and if things don’t go my way, the way I want them to go, think they ought to go, I’ll find it interesting, not devastating.

–CluelessSheepDave, asking for more prayer, to live as a clueless sheep, so he’ll have a healthy indifference to all the things that charm him most, including ministry, money, health, family, so the nonbelievers around him will be wowed by his joy and peace, and want what he has (please pray now)

Proclaiming the Gospel – Today

Proclaiming the Gospel today, requires a different

approach than in Paul’s day.  Seems to me.  Why?  Two thousand years of people all over the world, hearing about Christians and Christianity, with many negative opinions formed about us, most with justification.  What worked for Paul, doesn’t work today, with most audiences.  If Paul were here today, I think he would understand his audience, just like he did in Athens.

(Announcement: I’ve begun posting these weekly updates on a new Facebook Page.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/GospelFriendships-WeakDave/151549114904487?sk=wall  Or search on FB for GospelFriendships – one word, and you’ll find it.  This update today is taken from the “Info” section.  If you’re on FB you might prefer to read and pray for me on FB: all you need to do is “like” the Page.)

Proclaiming the Gospel today in a skeptical world, needs to be done in the context of individual relationships, so pre-believers can hear from a believer they have come to know and trust, how the Jesus is impacting the life of the believer, setting the believer free, from the worst aspect of the human condition: the notion that independency is desirable, and dependency, anathema.

But if believers are not experiencing Jesus-dependency, what do we really have to say to pre-believers? What hope can we give them?  We are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals.  So our biggest need, is a changed us.  Our message will flow naturally, effortlessly, from a changed us.  The hindrance to pre-believers embracing Jesus, has more to do with us, than them.  And most pre-believers don’t know us that well: don’t know our struggles to rest in Jesus, our failures in following Him.  And frequently, it’s because we don’t know ourselves very well, living in denial of how pathetic we really are, ashamed to admit to ourselves, less other believers, much less pre-believers, the truth about ourselves.  He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves Jesus and others, only a little.

The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us, is to freshly convict us of our sin, especially the sin of independence, so we are undone afresh, dead to our idols/agendas afresh, in love with Jesus afresh, experiencing afresh the peace that is superior to understanding, and a joy unspeakable, so we are in a position to love others, especially the hard to love: those with values most different from our own.

–IndependentDave, needing prayer to function as a Jesus-dependent, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed and want what he has (please pray now)