Friday, May 25, 2007


I spent this week in Phoenix, AZ for work. On Tuesday night, I met Jason, my wife's cousin, and his son for a Diamondback's baseball game.
We arranged to meet outside the stadium and walked together to pick up the tickets that he had ordered earlier in the afternoon. However, when we arrived at the "Will Call" window we were told that there was a computer problem and that we'd have to wait for our tickets to print.

We had been waiting for our tickets for almost twenty minutes, when suddenly a guy approached us with tickets, just before the game was about to start.

Thinking that he was selling them, Jason told him, "We're okay, we're waiting for our tickets to print."

"I'm not selling these." the man said, "I'd like you to have them for free, my wife and I have some extra tickets."

So, Jason returned to the "Will Call" window and cancelled the order for his tickets and we entered the stadium before the first pitch. The tickets that we were given were terrific....right behind the team's dugout, much more costly and closer to the field than the tickets that we had been waiting on.

As we sat watching the game, I thought about how interesting it was that if things had worked out perfectly, as we had planned, we would have gotten our tickets without delay at the "Will Call" window...but would have been seated high atop the stadium. Because of the problem, we were delayed long enough to be blessed by the kindness of a stranger.

For me, I try my best to avoid difficulty. But I need to be reminded that there is much to be gained from difficult circumstances. Pastor John Piper quotes Paul Brand in the book "Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants":

"Nearly all my memories of acute happiness, in fact, involve some element of pain or struggle."

He also quotes Charles Spurgeon:
"They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls."

Thinking about this whole idea of difficulty and blessing, reminded me of what our pastor, Dave Workman talked about this past weekend: that God will brings tests (or difficultly) in our lives to help change us. Here are a few examples in Scripture that Dave noted:

"God spoke through the prophet Zechariah and said that He will 'refine (His people) as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'' (Zechariah 13:9). Another time He reminded Jeremiah 'I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind...' (Jeremiah 17:10a). "

Maybe someday difficulty won't surprise me and I'll find it easy to embrace and even rejoice in difficulty. Until then, I feel like I have a lot to learn.

Blessings, Dave

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Seven Steps to Growth and Healing

Last week I worked in Toronto, Canada where I had a chance to talk to a friend who could name the date, seventeen years ago, when he had his last alcoholic drink. Talking with him made me grateful that today, more than ever, topics of addiction, recovery, growth and healing are discussed in the Church.

Over the past year, I've had the chance to lead some recovery oriented groups at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, where Sue, my wife, serves on the staff of the Growth and Healing Ministry. It has been amazing to see the depths of hurt, but also the healing that Christ offers.

A few months ago I put my thoughts on recovery in a small booklet called, "Seven Steps to Growth and Healing".

Here's the link to the file:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Servant Leadership

For the past two Sundays I served as the guest worship leader at "Lifeland Community Church" in downtown Mason, Ohio. I enjoyed seeing some old friends who attend there.

Last week Pastor Chad Fagerland taught on the topic of servanthood and looked at the New Testament passage of Matthew 20:20-28. In the passage, the mother of two of Jesus' disciples approached Jesus and asked him if her sons could "sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom".

The passage concludes with Jesus telling his disciples in verses 25-28:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Even though Pastor Chad was speaking to a broad audience, I was struck at how much the passage applies to Christian leaders. Those who want to "become great", Jesus says must become a servant or a slave. I have to admit, that this is a difficult concept for me follow. "Do I always regard others better than myself?" I thought to myself. "No." I quickly replied.

Afterwards I did a little reading on the word that was used in verse 27 for slave. In the original Greek, the word is δουλος (doulos), which is sometimes translated "servant".

I discovered that it is used throughout the New Testament to refer to followers of Christ. Paul used the word in Galatians 1:10: "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

"So, how do I become a servant or slave?" I wondered. At first the whole idea seemed so daunting, and so overwhelming. Then I remembered the Matthew 20 passage, that concludes in verse 28, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve".

"That's it." I thought. "I need to look to the Son of Man as a model of how to do this."

It still seems like a daunting challenge, but I do feel hopeful that I have a trustworthy model to follow.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Memories of Turbo Groups

We just returned from vacationing in Florida where we saw our friends Greg and Susie Kazanjian (pictured on the left). Seeing them made me think about how encouraging they were a number of years ago when I first began writing training materials.

It was 1998, and I had just finished leading my seventh Turbo Group at our church (a "Turbo Group" is what I called a short-term leadership training group, designed to help train individuals to lead Christian small groups and Bible Studies).

At the time, I was in the process of finishing a manual called, "Skills for New Leaders: A Turbo Group Training Program", but was not really sure if anyone would be interested in reading it.

Greg and Susie were our neighbors, and one day Greg said to me, "Davey-boy, I'll help you get the manual printed, how many do you want to start with?"

I said, "How about twenty?"

"Twenty?" he replied with a laugh. "I was thinking of starting with five hundred or a thousand. There's more than twenty people who are going to want to use this manual."

I eventually "compromised" by having him print three hundred copies and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the past ten years, I've sold or given away nearly 3,000 copies and a number of churches have used the training to teach new small group leaders important skills for leading.

I'm appreciative of people in my life, like Greg and Susie, who have faith when I don't seem to.

More information on Turbo Groups is available at my website:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

First Post

I’m a Christian writer, trainer and consultant. Over the years I have had the opportunity to help a number of ministry leaders with resources. This blog is designed to keep friends up to date on the latest things I’m working on.

More information about my resources can be found at