I love feeling superior to Penn State,

and Jerry Sandusky, love seeing others as evil/wicked, love feeling outraged at the failings/weaknesses/sins of others, so I feel superior, so I feel good about myself.   At least my flesh loves it.   ShepherdDave loves it.   CompetitiveDave loves it.   JudgeDave loves it.

But when the Spirit freshly opens my eyes to the ways I’m just like Jerry Sandusky, and other losers — not on the surface, but down deep on a root level — independent at my core, willful, agendified, leaning on my own understanding so I think I know what’s best for me, so I can engineer my circumstances toward happiness/LIFE, I’m freshly convicted of my sin of independence.   Jerry is more independent/evil/wicked than I am, but this doesn’t excuse my independence/evil/wickedness, which motivates me to pray, “God bless my agenda.”  Because I know what’s best for me, and don’t trust that Jesus does.  He’s my MagicGenieInTheSky.   And IndependentDave/ShepherdDave is never satisfied with Jesus and His performance imputed to Dave: he wants something more: some of his own.

In my Bible, as I’ve read through it in recent years, whenever I come to the words “evil” or “wicked”, I scratch them out and write in “independent”.   It’s changed the way I look at myself, God, others, and my circumstances.   He who has little sense of having been forgiven, Jesus said, has little love for Jesus, and others, especially those hardest to love: those with values most different from his own.   And only feels loved by God when things go his way.  Feels unloved by God when they don’t.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s freshly undone, and his undoneness is contagious, enabling him to love the pre-believers around him in ways that melt their hearts and cause them to want a ShepherdJesus for themselves (please pray now)

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I’m never wowed by Jesus,

when I’m JudgeDave, clear-sighted about the weaknesses/failings of others — especially the opponents of my favorite sports teams.  JudgeDave is always blind to his own sin, always leaning on his own understanding, always wise in his own eyes.   Only when the Spirit of Jesus freshly convicts me of my sin of judgeship/independence/orphanhood, am I freshly wowed by Jesus and His love for one of His sheep who is unsatisfied with his Shepherd and His performance, wanting some performance of his own, wanting to shepherd his own life, so he can feel good about himself.

And only when I’m freshly wowed by Jesus, are the pre-believers around me wowed by the Jesus in me, because of the supernatural-humility and supernatural-love they experience being in relationship with me.

–JudgeDave, needing prayer today and everyday, for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he no longer needs to prove himself to himself or others, because he’s freshly overwhelmed by Jesus’  amazing love for an ungrateful, runaway sheep (please pray now)

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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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In the upside-down Kingdom of Jesus,

shepherds are losers and sheep are winners.   Why?  Because He created us humans to be dependents, not independents.   Pride is only a problem of shepherds.   And self-righteousness.   And feeling superior to others.   And irritation, impatience.   And control-freakness.  And fear.   And discouragement.  Why?   In the right-side-up kingdom of this world, we shepherds think we know what’s best for us and those we love.

Lowly, humble, clueless sheep don’t know what’s best, are not wise in their own eyes, do not lean on their own understanding, so they look to their Shepherd for direction: they ask about everything.   And because they don’t know what’s best, they thank Him for everything, even the harrrd.   But.   Clueless sheep have fun in this world, while shepherds have misery, unless things momentarily go their way.   And when things go their way, they become even stronger shepherds.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to have more fun as DumbSheepDave, so the other shepherd-wannabes will want what he has, want his Shepherd, and the fun of being shepherded by Him (please pray now)

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The yoke of a created-dependent sheep,

trying to be an independent/CEO/orphan/shepherd, is extremely heavy, burdensome.  A Curse, weighing down the sheep: we get stressed, exhausted, from having the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Why do we sheep do this?  We believe a lie, that we’ll be happier functioning as shepherds/somebodies, rather than lowly sheep.  Common.  Ordinary.  Nobodies.  Losers, by comparison.  Unable to direct myself, captain my soul, master my fate.  No glory to me, because all glory goes to shepherds/somebodies.

But the Good Shepherd offers His own yoke to His sheep, and it’s as light as a feather.  Easy as pie.  And for those who are humbled by the Spirit, into wearing it, LIFE-giving.  Effortless existence when I function as DumbSheepDave, because my joy and peace have nothing to do with my circumstances.  Ahhh.  Tis so sweet to freshly trust in Jesus: freshly dead to being something I was never designed to be.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he experiences LIFE as DumbSheepDave, enticing the pre-believers around him to want what he has (please pray now)

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It feels like I’m alone,

a lot of the time, because the world, flesh, devil want me feeling alone, that it’s up to me to make my life work, leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes, as I attempt to engineer happiness for myself and others, solve the problems before me, make decisions, captain my soul, master my fate, as ShepherdDave.

But when the Spirit of Jesus graciously, lovingly, tenderly, convicts me of the sin of independence/shepherdness, I confess my sin and am restored to the bliss of created-dependency as DumbSheepDave. Ahhh. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Tis so stressful to trust in Dave.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so his joy and peace wow those around him, especially pre-believers, so they want what he has (please pray now)

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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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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)