Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Called to testify

New Heights Fellowship

609/613 Main Street

Toledo, Ohio 43605






At Twenty-Six years old I was married with one child. The bank owned my house and more my net worth was negative by a lot. The day my father and I went to but a riding lawn mower so I would not have to work so hard to mow the lawn that accompanied the house I realized I had purchased everything that I had ever thought I wanted. We worked all the time. Sherri and I were managers in the restaurant business and we hardly ever saw each other and never saw our daughter together unless it was a vacation day.

    It just hit me that there had to be something more to this life than debt, collecting things, and surviving. So, Sherri and I started attending the church where the only person we knew that seemed to us like what we thought a Christian should be went. After six months of sitting in the pews I began to see that what the pastor was talking about applied to me.

    As a non-Christian I was deathly afraid of looking out of place. We had done all the things that we thought it would take to fit in. We even put money in the offering plate every Sunday. I could not get up in front of people. I had missed dozens of days of High School to avoid having to give oral reports in front of class. As a manager conducting meeting with people that I would oversee and could fire was still (because of my fear) a traumatic experience which included my heart racing, my palms sweating, and cotton-mouth so bad you could knit a sweater.

    Then God called me to go forward in front of everyone to proclaim my love for Him and to my surprise after some resistance, I did. That began the journey. Now I am a Pastor, Church Planter, and North American Mission Board Missionary. I speak in front of people and to strangers all the time. God has changed me. I used to care about almost nothing and nothing at all as much as me. Now, I care about the work of God and people who are dying and going to Hell.

    Since the beginning of our journey God has changed me, used me to lead people to Him, and gifted me to do what I know I never could have done. I am broken and humbled by His mercy and grace. I pray always that I may preach the word with Boldness. Often I wonder how anyone could ever preach it as boldly as it, as boldly as He deserves.

                                Daniel R. Stevenson

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Overcoming fatigue

I'm hot, sweaty, a little sun burnt and a little sore. However, today I have been kind. Though hurried I have been giving. We went and gave. We sought out the lost. For that fact, I may be sweaty, a little sun bunt, hot, or sore, but I shall never be the same.
Go King Jesus!

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Monday, May 23, 2011

Forty-Six days left!

46 days to what?

So, about six months ago God laid upon my heart a thing. We have affectionately dubbed it the 7-7-11 vision. It is a vision of what the ministry will be on 7-7-11. I 'm not sure about the whole thing really but I know it is a call to be something more than we have been.

Forty six days to 7/7/11

7-7-11 is forty-six days (if I'm counting correctly) away. It is a certain thing that if we arrive at that date and the goals have not been reached and we have not done all that God has allowed us to to fulfill the goals-then we will feel responsible. We must get the gospel out and show people that we love them. At that time of year when most people are making all kinds of plans to get too busy for God a number of New Heightsers or New Heightsians or New Heights peoples or whatever are making plans to get busier than ever for Christ.

Eighty outreach events in Forty-Six days
Over 80 outreach events most of which are servant evangelism type events are now scheduled with one lead persons name assigned for each event and the details (time, place, type of events recorded on a master calendar with other church events.

Eighty outreach activities in 46 days! Is that not a God thing? The whole thing will culminate with an outdoor service on 7/7/11 at which we hope to baptize a number of folks. Who knows what's actually going to happen? Well, God of course!

We are Reaching New Heights in Jesus!

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Everything is essentially worth what someone would pay for it. Time is no exception. The problem is you can not buy time. You are not qualified to deal in such things. Even if you pay someone to do something so that you have more time to do something else you can not control other variables that might result in more time needed.

Life can last. Because of Jesus I will have enough time. Though time may run out on certain things, I can be certain that I have accomplished what the Lord has arranged for me to get done if I am genuinely seeking to walk with Him and in Him every day.

This I want to do.

What would I pay for it if I could? My everything. Simply, my everything. And so, I do not find Jesus' words "If any many should want to be my disciple he must deny Himself, take up his cross and follow after me," very offensive at all. I would gladly pay you yesterday for a single nacho today-cause it's gone and I can't do anything about it anyway. But for tomorrows I would pay everything!

Go King Jesus-he paid it all.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stuck in my head

Sunny day after a lot of rain:

Young Woman on blue bike with hairy dog on long leash, standing in big, wet puddle drinking with long, pink tongue

Pastor Dan Stevenson



Everyone left me. My wife is traveling today. She has to go to a very tough property. I'm a little concerned. My daughter got up and made the bus this morning. I'm happy she did cause we used to have trouble with this and you never know when such things are gonna pop back up. My boys got up when called and got ready no problem. Now, I'm planning my day and blogging-cause I love you guys that much.


It's a work day. There is much to be done. There is no bed of roses. There is no time to waste. Time is a valuable commodity which God hands over in little bits as He keeps all the rest. When He stops it'll be gone.


My days are numbered. I hope it's a pretty big number but when it comes up.I'm Gone.


I'd like to say more but other than a short haiku that I'll write in another entry-I'm gone.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Your eyes are tired and dry. Your neck is stiff or your back is sore. You have had enough but life goes on. You fall asleep when someone is talking to you. Your eyes drift shut but a second later you are wide awake and you feel fine. It's fatigue.

Maybe you've pushed yourself too far. Maybe you've burnt your candle at both ends. A few late nights, a few too many early mornings and your fatigued. But that's not the only way.


TV fatigues the mind as the screen continually refreshes to mimic the actual movement of real life. (Watching TV is not rest.) Emotional moments fatigue a person psychologically. The brain creates chemicals and chemical byproducts of emotions build up so that only rest will free the brain for proper balance.


Water is used in virtually every process of the body and tons of people (I think maybe almost all ordinary people) are struggling under the effects of dehydration. I even think that sometime when people's body are calling out for water they eat (resulting in all sorts of other problems.) Hydration makes health and strength possible. Drink more water (nope-more than that.)


Good health is the antithesis of Fatigue. Sure, we will still get tired but not so much fatigued. Exercise, hydration, proper nutrition, periods of peace, and Sabbath are the solution. I say that knowing that I sometimes fail in these areas. In fact I am fatigued this morning after a long weekend and missing my Sabbath yesterday due to an emergency.

Peace. No God? No Peace. I'm not stirring up trouble. Realizing that living without the one you were created to relate to is fatiguing is absolutely necessary. Dodging that reality has become a pass time for some. They work very hard at it even finding substitutes for as long as they hold out. Sounds Fatiguing doesn't it?

Sabbath: Sabbath is the time set apart to reflect on God, yourself, and especially your relationship to God. Leave God out, scripture out, or reflection out and you are not having Sabbath. Rest is good but Sabbath is the God given answer to fatigue.

So, you tell me? Should the TV be on during Sabbath? Should read a good book? Should you sleep it away? I think, no. I think you can incorporate these things in small amounts but the Bible, you, and quiet are the principle ingredients. One more thing ,the ratio is 1/7th. The Bible teaches that you need to take the equivalent of one entire day every week. This is not complete rest. It is as described above...

Lord help us. We have become a nation that has forgotten this most important principle.

and the result?


Pastor Dan Stevenson

God's care

To God be the glory!

What an awesome weekend we had! God gave us the weather we prayed for and people turned out. Thank you thank you Thank you!

We had tons of volunteers and lots of friends and family come to give glory to God through the march of the crosses and the free block party following. I've actually never seen anything quite like it.

The mission team from little flock was awesome and they not only worked hard but gave all glory to GOD!

Several persons gave their lives to Christ. We served 500 hot dogs, approximately a thousand sticks of cotton candy, several hundred sno cones, and gave away lots of door prizes (love in tangible form.) This was all for the glory of God. Think about the service hours and the kindness and gentleness of those were there for no other reason than to give of themselves. Go God!

Pastor Dan

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two boys two rooms

I've got a six year old and a nine year old. They are both incredibly smart and I'm not jsut saying that cause I'm biased. They read very well (well above their age level0 and they use words like evidently and superficial. They msut have gotten it from their mother-cause she is really smart to-She knew I needed her before I did.

Anyway, lately I have noticed how they have been acting out the scripture which says steele shapens steele. When they are together they spiral up and up until things are out of control. It's the effect they have on one another. They are always trying to one-up or escalate to the next higher stopping point like in a lunch room full of children all trying to shout over one another. Except, there are only two of them...

So, today they are grounded from being in the same room for any length of time. I thought it was fitting. They don't like it. We let dinner and the car slide but they have their computers in the same room and so can not both play computer or watch tv or play with their little nephew at the same time. It seems to have gotten their attention. Perhaps they will learn to appreciate one another more. Then again, maybe not.

Thank God I'm not really the one in charge here.

Thank God He is.

Pastor Dan Stevenson
In 16 hours we march!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

The Calm Before the Storm

It's about to begin. It's almost time. Butterflies in the stomach...Cotton in the mouth or sweaty palms or both. It's almost my turn. She's looking at me. What will the answer be?

When many things are about to be revealed or many things are about to connect or just one thing that you can't stop thinking about is on the verge of unleashing its effect in your life...

Sometimes this eerie calm sets in. "The Calm Before the Storm."

The fact is there is nothing left to do. You can not now change the outcome. Only prayer and silence before the already determined effect of the unveiling is left to you.

The calm before the storm.

But we see only what our eyes let us see. We forget that there are so many more things that we do not understand. We think in linear time. We might even contemplate whether we can squeeze in one more thing before the climax. We decide no. We decide there is no time left and we are left with the anticipation alone.

The storm.

We perceive that it is not yet. We perceive that it is coming. It will be here any second. We become fixated on the thing and its ramifications. We wonder, what will become of me after this? Or do we? We wonder, Will I service this? We begin to think-I mean even when it's just will the answer be yes or no-we begin to think that if this thing does not go the way we want we will not live on after. Of course, that may actually be true where real danger exists. As in, the calm before the battle begins for a soldier. On the other hand, in most cases, we will survive this too. In fact, in most cases, we have already survived worse than the worst this situation could deal to us.

So, is it the storm that is worse or the anticipation of it.

The mind.

The mind is a powerful thing. We do not use it. Let's face it. We don't even memorize any more. Or even remember well. We can't calculate like used to be necessary. Smaller computers turned out to mean smaller intellects. Or at least less use and if your brain is like a muscle it atrophies from lack of use...

But the mind unleashed is a powerful thing and it can unleash itself at times. your mind can unleash itself on you.

So then, is the storm the event? Is it the anticipation of the event or is it the unleashing of an un-utilized ability to anticipate the event and its ramifications.

Coming events:

Saturday Cross March and festival: This will bring glory to God if we just do as we are supposed to do. My mind wants to wrestle control away from me and away from God to think about all the ramifications. I will not allow it. I submit myself to God. i submit my mind to God.

Jesus' return. If it is soon- I will not see my kids grow up. I will not see my grand kids grow up. if it is soon my friend will be eternally separated from God and me. We will not play together in heaven because he does not accept that God could save us this way or indeed that God cares. It seems that some believe that if it were soon they would do more or be better prepared. If they new it was soon. Tare down the billboards Mr. Billionaire-God said no one may know the time or the season of Jesus Return accept the father Himself. Hopefully he's got enough millions he won't sue me for that-hmmm.

NOW is the calm which I say is actually the storm. Jesus is coming. When? I don't know and I don't have time to waste on letting my mind go crazy about that. I want to be found serving Him when He does come. Perfect love casts out all fear. 1J4:18


As for delaying while I wait for the ramifications or contemplate the outcome to try to calculate at exactly what second things will go down. No.

As for busily anticipating His return without being about the things that He has commanded. No.

As for ignoring the potential immanence of the unfolding of these events. No.

As for me and my house-We will serve the Lord-A different J.

Alfred Lord Tennision said, I must lose myself in action lest I wither in despair.

The storm is not the storm. The calm before "the storm" is the Storm. Get uncalm.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cross walk

The day before Easter we are planning a big event. Please pray with us that we have good weather. We are marching a variety of crosses down Main Street regardless of weather but we are hoping to have a large free block party open to the community. We have an ad running in the Blade and the Suburban Press. We are hoping to attract some attention but there is no alterior motive-everything is free-WE do hope to tell people why we are doing this. Because we love God and God loves them. Invite people to our event, please... Pastor Dan www.newheightsfellowshipchurch.org

web sites

Internet It amazes me this thing we call the internet. People are sending thought electonically-Sometimes it'sn like telepathy through a machine. Then they are charging for the services and using the services to sell the services. Website Today I had to relist the church website cause the people who were hosting it for free (as part of a business membership's fringe benefits stopped doing so. So, I waited on hold for three separate times for a representative who then put me on and off of hold while ordering someone in some little lab somewhere to put my website info over onto their server. So, now we have to pay them for what was free (though we will likely now be cancelling the business membership which was not free.) Anyway, we wanted to be able to keep people who use web sites to keep informed so we were 'over-a-barrel' so to speak. There will be no interruption of service and there will be no recognizable difference to our website users. It'll just be stored in some other computer somewhere. So be it. Pastor Dan Stevenson www.newheightsfellowshipchurch.org

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Recently, my wife and I traveled to Atlanta. We found some interesting and unexpected things. Traffic: The traffic in Atlanta is unbelievable. They have lots of roads and apparently live mostly on them. We crossed the city and it took 2 1/2 hours. We were frazzled just by the number of stops and ammount of time spent. When we arrived a trusted source commented that our time was actually a good one. This throng of humanity survives out of courtesy for one another and a willingness to exist under adverse circumstances. The government appears to have done a great deal to make possible the masses of traffic. Business are amply spread and there is a lot of preserved green. Three to four lane highways are the norm. People stopped to let us into traffic. There is a new and undestandable movement to put everything that one needs in one general local-like the mega-blocks from Judge Dredd(TM). you live, eat, play, and work all in one general local-your neighborhood becomes "the block." It's cool, but it certainly breeds a different mind-set. I guess I'm spoiled, thinking I can get in the car and drive to where I am going and have a reasonable expectation of getting there between bathroom trips. Anyway, we would still have taken the offered jobs and moved there if that is what we felt the Lord wanted. However, it appears that God has other plans right now. So, thank you for your prayers, or if you knew nothing about the offers-sorry to spring it on you-and we'll be staying here for now. I did get to reunite with a friend and to make at least one new one. I wish I would have had more time but we all must get back to serving the Lord... I have no idea how long God will keep us here serving on this field. It looks like for a while anyway. I hate that it means at least for now Sherri has to continue to travel way more than I would like. God Bless Dom. Corp They have been good to us. In turn God has been good to them. It works that way, ya' know? Genesis 12-Them which take care of us-God will take care of. You ain't seen nothin' yet! Pastor Dan Stevenson www.newheightsfellowshipchurch.org

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crazy Days

It occurs to me that whenever a person sets themselves out to serve Christ in whatever capacity possible...they will endure crazy days. There's this odd combination of what becomes normal, like scheduled events, and what invades your life, like opportunities to serve Christ. You wind up talking to the girl at the register a little longer than expected and someone calls who has no groceries and you already had a Bible Study scheduled and people are counting on you and you're leaving for the airport at 5:30 AM and there's paperwork to be done and who hugged your kids today? Academically speaking, one should not use that many ands in a sentence. I think Paul-or at least the translation of Paul in the NIV seems to do that but that does not make it good writing, academically. Then again, his run on sentences, as translated into English are the word of God, are really good writing, and prove to be the exception to the rule. So, I used way too many ands... It is a fairly realistic picture of certain days. This would explain why I blog not enough. Anyway, I believe that this is life and life more abundantly. Did I really only live one day since I put these socks on this morning? Can that much stuff get crammed in one day? This is my excuse for why I often do not know the day of the week as readily as I should. Though, I find that this phenomenon happens to many folks. (The forgetting the day thing) So, then, now it's late. I was going to get cleaned up before I get nestled in. And even though the day has seemed so long, i just looked at the clock and was genuinely amazed that it is not much later than it is. Very interesting isn't it... God loves me and that really is all that matters. Stink for God-2 Cor 2:14-21; I like this motto, but Amalya thinks it has issues. God Bless and Good night-stinker... Pastor Daniel Stevenson www. newheightsfellowshipchurch.org

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two Hour delays

Two hour delays have become all the rage in our school district for teacher in-service. For me, it throws my whole day out of whack. I wonder if that's true for every parent around. Some probably have to restructure their entire day. I suppose that used to the be the case for whole days off too. Maybe it's better. IDK

Here's a thought-we don't like delays in general. I hate waiting. I know God wants me to wait on Him. I'm just glad that His version of waiting isn't sitting around doing nothing. I get to be busy in the war effort while I wait for Him to reveal Himself completely.

Listen to me....As if God were playing some cosmic game of hide and seek! Nope. He's right here, waiting on us to take notice of His plans and join Him in them. I remember when I was a kid-the guy who wanted to be it would dance around the guy who was it trying to get him to tag him. That wasn't funny.

Then, when he was tagged he would run off after whoever it was that he was trying to punish. In some cases however, the guy who was it didn't want to tag whoever really wanted to be tagged. It made the scene comical as the guy who wanted to be it followed around the guy who was it waiting for him to get tired and finally give in and tag him. Now that's a picture of God and his persistence with people who really don't want to recognize His availability. He's right there waiting for them to get tired of doing it all by themselves and they are refusing to let Him in. Silly.

Your it right now (at least you are trying in some sense to convince yourself that you're it.) God wants to be It. Stop trying to lead your effort and let God do it. Say, Okay God, Tag your It. Let Him lead your effort. Let Him lead everything. He paid the price for it. He's dancing around trying to get your attention. Tag Him. Go ahead. I dare ya...

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Thursday, February 24, 2011


My boys are growing up with a different image of serving Jesus. In their minds a person who loves God (and follows His commands) knocks on doors. They wait to see if someone comes and if no one does they leave a flyer.

Other than myself, my son Aaron has left more flyers than anyone I know. Even full grown men who love Christ and work for Him when the opportunity arise can't compete. I know that this is no contest. Aaron does not think along these lines. Usually, I do not either (but let a father be proud.)

Why wouldn't a person want to spread the word about the most important thing in the universe? Some people still do not understand the mystery of Christ. God chooses through His great mercy and grace to spread that knowledge by proclamation. So be it-let us proclaim.

New Heights set a goal of a 100,000 touches by April 17th, 2011. It looks like, we are on track to reach more like 200,000 touches. A touch is as Stan would say (Stan's the guy who runs the Anime shop in our focus area-you probably don't know him and he's not the most authoritative source to quote but when you're right you're right) Anyway, Stan says a "Premeditated act of decency makes the world go round." So get decent-Proclaim the gospel.

What about those who don't want to here it? Well, I say whisper when they are around. If they are on their way to hell and they don't want to hear the alternative-or believe in hell at all-then why ruin what little bit of enjoyment they have left by preaching and annoying gospel to them? However, we must speak even when people don't want to hear-but no necessarily to those who don't want to hear. Talk to someone who knows enough to listen.

By the way, there are those who are supposedly listening but really they are just trying to drain the strength of your resolve. Probably best to let them go as well... Look for people who are genuinely interested in something better. They are ripe. How do you find them? Tell everyone and the one's who are genuinely interested will float to the top...

So, we flyer. We put the word out. We knock on doors and talk to anyone who will listen. Sometimes some of us do it instead of say...eating. How important is it? I can not adequately express!

The harvest is ripe-I pray the Lord of the harvest send more workers. I pray He continues to send us.

God Bless your labors for Him.

Pastor Daniel Stevenson

BTW Community movie night 02/25/11 7 PM different movies for adults/children/youth.
Fore more information get our number from the link above and give us a call or show up.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time keeps on Slipping away

It's late. In fact, it's tomorrow. Tomorrow will be lost in recovery. Today, got out of hand. I have a wonderful family and we always block out time to be together and it's important. However, try as I might I did not get my papers written the way I would have liked...

Isn't it interesting how when you look back you can't believe how fast the time has gone but when you consider what you are trying to cram into a day you think about how little time there is. We get time perceptions all screwed up that's for sure.

Anyway, so here I am too tired to find my way to my tooth brush and pillow in that order and I'm writing this to whoever you are...

Let God do something amazing in your life. He wants to redeem your days. Then at the end of a long day, whether it's filled with shouting or hugging you will be able to say this day was valuabel for the Lord.

I will cram more into each day than is humanly possible. I believe that there is more to life than meets the eye-even the trained eye-even the faith-powered eye. God alone can see certain things!

So, write papers and do your job and love your kids and hug your wife and wash teh dishes on borrowed time cause there simply is no other way. Let God redeem the day. Don't waste these precious moments which He paid such a high price for...

The bus comes early. Where's my tooth brush. If I don't get some consistent rest I won't need bags for my next vacation cause I'll store my cothes in the bags under my eyes...

Not funny? Well, maybe tomorrow then...

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Integrity in the Underdog Church-wake Up!

Why does the church keep acting like the underdog? I'm wondering why since we have God on our side we don't just go for it? Old, established churches, gather (and sometimes don't) and they are completely sold on hearing what the pastor has to say (and sometimes they aren't.) They take it with them but sometimes seem to reach a point where it isn't relevant (the teaching) through out the rest of the week. How can this be?


Segmenting your life is dangerous. It seems almost necessary in this day. We want to believe that much of what we do does not change who we are. We don't know who we are in many cases and we are deathly afraid of finding out. Non-Christians probably should be. In some way who you are will reflect where you are headed and when Hell is the destination, the reflection isn't pretty.

Doubt equals fearing your reflection

Maybe Christians have the same problem. Christians are going to heaven. That was settled at Calvary. However, all it takes it doubt (and there seems to be plenty of that) and we could start fearing the reflection.


I used to have a cat that would bat the cat in the mirror. It was cute. Not so much so in humans who are afraid of the reflection and try to preemptive strike it by not looking. Take a long look at who you are. It is who God made you to be-or at least it is how far you have come...


Anyway, all this seems to lead people to avoid self-examination. Probably because they are afraid of what they will find. Avoiding self-examination naturally leads to segmenting your life. See, I was getting back to it all the while...

We segment our life because we don't want to admit that that crap we are taking in is affecting us. We watch criminals perpetrate horrid crimes (fictitious or real) on TV and think-that is not real and its not me so I am fine...But what you watch is you. Not that you are criminal or even "like them." However, you have chosen to put that stuff in your head.

Recycling Bin:

On the computer, whatever you put in the "recycling bin" remains on your computer. The idea is that some people make mistakes and then want to un-delete something that they have sent to the recycling bin. It works. I have done it. In the mean time your hard drive is still partially filled with the junk that you have plans to be rid of. It still affects your hard drive-say if it has viruses in it.

The only way to stop this is to quarantine any infected files. I am not a computer person per se. I do not need any more details than what I have on how this works. However, the point is, that what's still there is still there.

The only way to get rid of it is to delete it-"actual and whole."

The same is true with our lives. When we put junk in our heads which it's really easy to do...Then the only way to be rid of the evil influence of it is to delete it "actual and whole." Problem-This is not within our ability. We can delete the source-we stop watching. However, forgetting is only questionably under our control.

Born again:

God can, However. He can help you erase the junk you've put in. So, repent. Turn from the junk that you are putting in and pray to God that you know you need healing from it. Stop watching evil and pretending that it doesn't effect you. Stop trying to compartmentalize it. This same principle applies to the mundane. Mundane is not inherently evil but is essentially uselessness compared to usefulness and so can be evil to those who are supposed to be useful.

God initiated an invasion and we are supposed to be part of it. The scheming enemy is focused in purpose to keep us from our potential. He wants to distract even divide. He seems to be succeeding since the church is acting like the underdog.

Wake up!

But we are not the underdog. You can actually do whatever you choose to do for God! You can change the wold for the better or for the worse now that you have Christ. You do not have to allow age, sex, race, nationality, economic status, or anything else to get in the way. Do not be divided against yourself. Decide now that nothing and no one will stand in your way from passionately living a life of purpose and love for the God who loved you that much to give his self for you-"actual and whole."


Integrity is being actual and whole. While division within yourself may seem useful now to allow you to dabble in things you should not-It is ultimately draining and weakening to the point of uselessness and the enemy knows this. So, stop. Be one person, know yourself, and your destination. Let that be the purpose of your life. Reaching new Heights in Christ!

You are not the underdog here! You have already triumphed (in Christ) over everyone of these distractions and hardships. They will one day all be permanently deleted. How can you do for Christ what you have never done before? Are you old and tired? Giving, working, and especially loving are energizing! Get alive and then live alive until it's time to go home...

God Bless you as you pursue Christ.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Friday, February 4, 2011

Little things

There's an epidemic in our midst. It seems that people regularly bring up concerns or tell someone something that they just think they should know without thinking about the ramifications. These are little things that make no difference in the grand scheme of things but here's how they drain the strength out of everyone involved.

But first, a quick plug for being the church...Why doesn't the church stop playing like we are the underdog and start playing like we are the favorite to win it. If I had to put money (and I think gambling is a sin when a person does it hoping for gain) I would bet on the power packed, children of God over the earthy lost folks of this world every day. In fact the way I see it-Only one horse will even finish the race. So, if you're a believer, rock the pillars! Let's get moving and live out that which we know to be true-We are God's awesome agent of power in this lifetime!

We will we will rock the house! Unless of course you think that the God of the world paid such a steep price to set us up to lose. Nope, I don't think so either.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I was illustrating the epidemic. So, someone says something that perhaps should not have been said or should have been said differently. They meant no harm 9as far as anyone knows.) Then someone spends some time thinking about it and decides something simply must be done-This is the start of the fatigue-they are tired now and even saddened by the necessity of confronting the person and trying to figure out how to do it in a loving way. Maybe they do or maybe they don't. Anyway, after whatever time of preparation they go to the person- that is if they don't harbor ill feelings (very tiring) or spend some time gossiping to someone else about the whole thing (Tiring for the person and the audience.)

So, they go to the person who unintentionally misspoke and they confront them. The mis-speaker does not see it coming because they (allegedly) meant no harm. They are caught off guard but perhaps apologize (tiring) or defend themselves (tiring) or promise to think it over (tiring.) The bottom line is that all this effort went forth from one comment that was made in a somewhat carefree manner (notice I did not say careless.)

What stinks about the whole thing is that at some point everyone gets tired-hard feelings develop-and in the mean time no one has been doing what they were made to do. Relating to God and enjoying the reassuring nature of his presence-Read evangelism and discipleship.

Evangelism is when someone tells someone else the good news about Jesus and asks them to believe and live the same. Discipleship is done by Jesus and occur rs when a person who is plugged into Christ lives for Christ a little more every day. If teaching someone how to say something or that they have misspoken in some small way is part of helping someone to be more like Jesus then we are missing the big picture.

The power of God is set aside for those who are spreading the Gospel. Jesus sat down at the right hand of the power of God and lo He is with us even unto the end of the age---If we are spreading the good news-Matthew 28:18-

So stop fretting the little stuff and get busing telling people the big thing. Really, do we have time for all this nitpicking if we are busy doing the right thing? It sounds like persecution to me...

Pastor Dan

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marching Band, Extracurriculars, and Learning to Live

Marching Band

My daughter is a flautist (I just love that word-It sounds like your beating someone up with something like a garden hose.) It actually means you play the flute.

Anyway, my daughter is a flautist in the local high school band. The band has gone through some changes in the past couple of years. They have an ambitious leader and some policies have been changed. For example, pretty much every student that is part of the band is now required to be in the marching band.

I'm not sure about requiring it but I think it's generally a good idea.

Service in extracurriculars

Anyway, I have a few thoughts about band and extra-curriculars in general (I could almost hear my daughter groan when I wrote that...) If only I had a blog or something to share my thoughts...Well, would you look at that. Well, hear goes.

I think that extra-curriculars are about service. I know. Our nation has trended toward the worldly thought that leadership is not about humility. If our society remembered that leadership is about service then it would see extracurriculars as training for leadership. A person is a better person because he serves others. He is a better person because he wants to serve others.

Service forgotten

However, our current social condition as a country seems to forget the service aspect. This is probably because schools have now become a baby-sitting service for over-employed parents or otherwise occupied anyway. Academics as well as extracurriculars which should be geared toward making a productive member of society (and in our school system as far as I can see they are.) But, this is not the entire battle. People need to be trained for charitable service. True charitable service is grueling. When you are through, you fall on your bed exhausted.

Students mostly need not practice their extracurricular on their own. They should but they don't because to them it is not about being the best you can be or serving others with a true servants heart. Factually, even Christian students who should be doing their work as if they were doing it for God rarely go the extra mile. This is probably because things in their life vie for their time and actively pursuing skill in representing your school in service in a certain area does not outweigh the cultural barrage.

Was there a day when students were encouraged by their parents and teachers to serve their fellow students with untiring effort? Did students regularly practice their instruments, their cheers, and whatever other extra-curricular abilities? Not sure actually...

However, I know that if it existed under a public school system like the one we have now it was somewhere between the need for twelve year olds to drop out and get employed and the need for eighteen year olds to stay in and grow up.

If we encouraged our children to make their extracurriculars about serving others would we look freakishly odd? Maybe the student body doesn't want to be served. Maybe in today's world it is assumed that persons who participate are doing it because they like to do it-because they were wired to do it. How does being uniquely equipped to do something disqualify you from using your gift for others' benefit?

The world has been turned upside down from what the King (God) would want. I suppose that's why people have to be BORN AGAIN (Fresh Start in Christ) because they have been raised in a world of different values from the Kingdom values. I suppose that's why parents of Christian families always have to wonder whether their children would be better off in a private school.

Here's my cry to educators. Stop and examine why you do what you do. Tomorrow is at stake.

Bible removed from Schools
When today was at stake we outlawed teaching the original text book (The Bible.) We lost sight of unique values that genuinely make a world better even when the person is not sold out for Christ. Most self help books are somehow based in things one could learn from the Bible. The strength to aggressively follow what the Bible says comes from the Holy Spirit but every person could get value out of a life style of service and doing unto others what they would have done to them.

So, cut the sovereignty of God and the fear of judgment if you must. Cut the TRUTH but at least lets get back the self-improvement texts can't we?

Oh, I guess it's even worse than that. In the pursuit of knowledge (Which puffs up by the way) we have even written off most of the old sayings. I remember my teachers teaching me 'a stitch in time saves nine' and 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' and so on. What happened to that?

Is it possible that somewhere along the way education became about knowledge and not wisdom? Did someone figure out that wisdom can not be taught?

If so, I disagree!

Our younger generation is dying in many senses. In a society that uses their kids as an excuse but watches TV instead of spending time with their kids, parents who have forgotten more wisdom than their children will ever be taught in school depend heartily on a governmental education system to keep their kids out of their hair and to produce mature, effective citizens.

Parents in Education
It's not gonna work. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children and the more that we stray away from that the more the next generation is doomed to suffer the same fate only multiplied.

So, what's the solution?

1-It's time extracurriculars became about service again.

2-Someone needs to tell kids and parents that a full school education will not by itself equip them to be successful in life. It's admitting weakness on the part of the administration but it should be maybe the first lesson and repeated over and over more than- say- how to spell your name.

3-Return wisdom to the curriculum. Teach the truths of the Bible. Even if the TRUTH (Jesus) is not taught then teach the wisdom of the Bible and let children, teens, and eventually young adults ask the questions how can this be and what do I do now? Education can not only minister to the mind and if that's all it does then why does the school day last so long?

4-Teach students and parents that education is about the next question not about the last answer. Runners running at high speed lean forward. Students learning at high speed should be leaning forward in their mental posture. [Don't get me started on the whole grades thing.] Teaching minds to reach is challenging but not teaching them to reach is the same as locking them in a cage.

My disclaimer. I am not a teacher. I do not lead a marching band (no rhythm.) I am not a superintendent of schools. My degree is not in education although it is an education degree. I dropped out of college twice before I was a Christian and didn't learn much (including motivation) about being a good student until I was near to finishing my undergraduate degree.

Still, even in a school system as good as my home town's we've got real problems. I'm not saying I see them clearly. the list above is not all-inclusive. But our education system needs to be born again (a fresh start) in certain areas if we are going to survive and prosper for as much time as we have left.

Pastor Dan Stevenson

Friday, January 21, 2011

TV commercials

If we put a TV commercial on and it goes out to X thousand people-Can we count that as that many touches?

Backing up that truck (as a friend of mine used to say.) Our church is in the middle of trying to get 100,000 touches by April 17th. A touch is an act of Kindness. While it might seem like a little thing to hold a door for someone or to smile or to say hi (people even look at me funny sometimes) it is what God meant for us to do. Our people are actively making the world a better place. That being said, April 17th is not that far away and we are only in the 30,000s. We have extensively plans to band together and make a difference in Toledo but 65000 touches in a short time even with all the touches people have forgotten to record, seems like a lot.

However, i have produced a commercial that encourages people to consider God based on Psalm 46:10. It;s a feel good kinda thing. It would surely count as a touch. However, does it count if we put it on the TV and lots of people watch it and should we slightly discount the number of touches since ratings are just estimates? What do you think?

Is anyone there?

Well, I think it should and in the end, I'm the one doing the counting. So, unless someone persuades me otherwise you just might get touched in this way sometime soon. Either way I'm going forward cause the most important thing in all of this is to make the world a better place and of course the only lasting way to do that is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. He's a personal friend and I want to tell everyone I can about Him. You should really meet Him. Or maybe you already have...

Weigh in on this issue by leaving a comment. I'll axe anything vulgar or inappropriate but everyone else is welcome.

For the Love of Christ, Tell someone!

Pastor Dan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Atheism, Agnosticism and other simple notions

The Atheist position is completely untenable. That means that it makes no sense and has no real arguments founded in logic. The main argument is that we know that there is no God. That argument only works if a person or people can claim to know everything in every place at every time. Nope, no one can do that except say, God.

Thus the argument for agnosticism makes a little sense. It says that we can not know that there is a God. That means then that a person knows what can be known in this time, this place. That might actually work for some. However, it occurs to me that a being that knows everything there is to know (in order to know what can not be known) on a given topic is still claiming a rather extravagant extent to their knowledge. Unless of course this limited knowledge position is actually arguing that we can not know because our knowledge is limited which leads us to to beg the question. If you can not know then how is that you have concluded that you can not know.

In my opinion it makes logical sense that: 1-There must be an intelligent designer who we call God. 2-There must be a logically morally superior being 3-Those who claim that they have experienced God are more likely to be correct about what they have experienced than those that claim that one can not experience God (A person is more likely to believe that something (or someone can be experienced when they have experienced it/Him themselves and of course less likely to believe when they have not experienced it/Him.)

Narnia (TM)

By the way, it occurs to me that the popular Narnia(TM) series (based on Children's books by C.S. Lewis show an interesting alternative reality that is more likely than Atheists and Agnostic argue. These persons which are obviously quite intelligent in my opinion arguing for adult ideas to be swayed by logic that is not as sound as that found in Children's books.

I have heard the C.S. Lewis in his lifetime swore that the books were not based in great theological meaning. Anyway, neither is this blog...

Where was I? Oh yes, It appears to me that Atheists and Agnostics are not arguing so much against God as for a reality without the Christian God (or any God recognized by many.) In fact, they are arguing for themselves to be the God of choice. I am willing to accept that whatever being would be most extremely right in the universe and in the life of the person in question would be their god.

In other words, if an atheist succeeds in arguing against the possibility of knowing the real God then they have successfully argued for their own supremacy. Get it? If I win the argument against God then I get to be God or at least reduce Him to be like me. So, there you have it then. Same old game. "non-believer' believe in themselves or system or money or whatever. So, they seek to make that God.

In a nut shell, my position is that someone or something must be on top. failing to recognize that God has this rightful place or that Satan has claimed His place under many guises leads one to argue against God.

Not the God I might have created...

Even if the God of the Atheist and agnostic is on the surface, reason (This is what they often argue) then they have a God of sorts and will be servant to It. Let's just say I have met someone I would much rather serve than any construct empowered by man. I serve God. It isn't always fun. He isn't always exactly what I want Him to be. However, He is God and so where we clash I realize I must adjust.

The only thing in the universe that doesn't belong to God and therefore can actually be sacrificed to Him is a person's free will. For those who have not done so, no amount of testimony by those who have will explain the experience. But, He still seeking worshippers in Spirit and Truth and He is patient that all men might come to repentance.

Pastor Dan

Alabama Governor's comments

So he gets elected and speaks in a local church building on the same day. He urges the crowd to come to Christ warning that those present who do not know Christ are not actually his brothers and sisters. This is factual based on the Bible.

The debate rages right now on MSN(TM) about whether what the man says makes it unlikely that he can care equally for all of his constituents. Except, the debate isn't about that really. It is about what every crazy keyboarding atheist and wannabe Internet evangelist wants to argue-the authenticity of Christian faith and the reality of God.

I know I'm not the impartial speaker that would be required for someone to put an end to that debate...I believe God inspired the Bible and that there are no private interpretations. I believe that in order for a person to be educated they must have a working knowledge of it contrary to those who would argue that education makes it irrelevant.

The Bible is the single best attested historical collection of texts we have. Nothing in history has survived the test of time the way God's word has. Unlike some would argue the texts of the Bible have not been altered over time. There are subtle linguistic differences sure, but when you compare the writing found in the Dead Sea Scrolls with their counterparts in the modern Bible it is clearly evident that the text had remained essentially the same for hundreds of years.

Great pains were taken to ensure that it was so. Modern Bibles have been produced using modern vernacular and some can not understand how they can come from the same source. Clearly languages have different words for the same thing. The Bible does not contradict itself and has stood the test of time-something single-lifetime atheist will not do.

I believe there is only one way to God. I am sorry for all those who believe otherwise and contrary to how this fact may make them feel about me, I love them. They often say mean and sometimes hateful things to get me to shut up. As you can see, it hasn't worked yet.

While I do not begrudge them their right to free speech, I think that there are limitless even Christians who call unbelieving advocates idiots or worse should realize that they have crossed over a line. Unfortunately, the persons who are in the best position to argue the reality of God and the strengths of Christianity often have figured out that there is little profit in it.

I am secure in what I believe. I know in whom I have believed and that he is able to keep until that day that which I have entrusted to Him. He is not the Easter Bunny, He is not the Teddy Bear God some would make him out to be, and there is a terrible reckoning coming. I'm sorry for them that will not prepare by embracing the teachings and love of Jesus on every level-really I am.

But, a word of caution to my Christian brothers and sisters be careful how adamantly you argue. Don't cross a line with vindictive or adversarial speech. Remember, that ours is not to make this life time less enjoyable for those who will not hear-after all, it's all they have...

God Bless every missionary and evangelist who has dedicated his or her life to spreading the gospel among unbelievers who in return hate them the world over-including in America.

Can you imagine, some have taken up the mantle to argue against faith. Faith of any kind...God forgive them for they know no what they do...

Pastor Dan

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The right way: If neither is right and you choose- you fail, If either is right and you choose you have a chance. If both and you choose you lose. Choosing?