New Book Release

9 11 2022

I am happy to announce my book is finally available on Kindle. Download a copy to your Kindle reader.

For a free PDF of the book, which you can read through your PDF reader, click on the following link:

What does God see?

20 03 2022

I grew up in a Christian denomination that focused heavily on the dangers of sin. It was the central focus of our meetings and teaching. It felt like our only mission as a community was to combat sin in our lives and the world. To overcome this problem, my teachers taught me to strive for holiness by abstaining and separating myself from any hint of evil.

My Bible teachers also taught me that God hated sin and could not look at it. He must turn away from it like He did His Son on the cross. Likewise, if I sinned, God had to turn His back on me until I repented and asked for His forgiveness.

But something happened – I saw the truth. God does not see sin at all. He has zero knowledge of sin in our lives. Why? Because my sinful body was “done away with” through the death of Jesus on the cross (Rom. 6:6). God through Jesus even “erased” the decrees (laws) that pointed out sin in our lives! (Col. 2:14). Now there is nothing that says we are sinners. Instead, in God’s eyes we are flawless, unimpeachable in His sight (Col.1:23 CLNT).

But, you say, don’t we still “sin”? I would respond, is it sin or the result of pretending – acting contrary to who God says we are? God does not see sin but grieves that we are acting contrary to who we are to Him. We hurt ourselves through our choices, behaving as though we are still living like our old self.

As a pastor all I saw was sin in people. I preached to my congregations as though they were still flawed and needed correction. That is what I thought was my job, to teach, expose, and correct with Scripture. Is it any wonder that my listeners became discouraged with the Bible or did not want to attend church? Why would even a stranger want to be subjected to this “guilting”?

Blake Shelton, the popular country music singer, says it well in his new hit song called “Bible Verses.”

But Lord knows, I ain’t measured
Up to what’s inside
And they say that that’s okay
But I keep praying for the day

That I can open up that good book
And Heaven don’t look
Like it’s out of reach
When it feels like those apostles
Are giving me the gospel
And not the third degree
I just want it to read
Like Bible verses
And not the Bible versus me

What should have been the heart of my preaching and teaching? We are perfect in Jesus. God sees you and I as completely flawless in Jesus. We need to accept Him as our life and recognize who we really are. That means stop condemning yourself and others. Start seeing yourself as God sees you – flawless in Jesus.

The Bible is not a measuring stick but the revelation of God’s mercy and grace in restoring us to who we really are as an image of Jesus. The Scriptures are a reminder of what it looks to live in and as Him. My message now is not condemnation but restoration – restoring, and encouraging, presenting every man mature in Christ Jesus (Col. 1:29).

And this is how we need to see each other. Paul says from now on we are acquainted with no one according to flesh, we only see Jesus (2 Cor. 5:16 CLNT). If someone is still acting like their old selves, we restore with gentleness their image of themselves as Jesus. What would church be like if we did not see the flaws in each other – or that we felt self-conscious around each other? What would it be like to not have to pretend to be with each other? What if it was a safe place? (2)

More on that in the posts to come.

Dennis D

  1. Blake Shelton, with Joe Fox, Andrew Pebbles, Brett, Sheroky, April 2021, AZLyrics.
  2. Cf. This is a Safe place., Jesus as Us, 3/6/22.

Hold your New Year’s plans lightly

7 01 2022

What if everything you plan to do this next year suddenly changed? It is devastating enough to suffer from a major health or natural disaster, which many have. But what if something were to change inside of you, in your heart? What if your identity and self-story collapse into a whole different perspective?  

The apostle Paul had such an experience. While on the way to conduct his plan to arrest defectors from their traditional, Jewish religion, his life was altered in an instant. He thought he was a righteous defender of his religious heritage. But everything he thought was his identity, and the will of God for his life disappeared in a flash. In that binding light, he saw who he really was and into his life as the will of God. He was made to see into a deeper reality of his being.   

Most of us are taught to search for God’s will for our lives. But like Paul, God’s will finds us. It isn’t in the something that we plan to do with our life for God, but in the Someone who is our life. Paul saw who that Someone was – His Son (Jesus) unveiled in me (Gal.1:16). When Paul saw Jesus, and that He was actually existing in his life, everything changed. All his plans and passions were blown away in Jesus’ brilliant glory. Paul saw the secret of his true identity – Christ among (in me), the expectation of glory (Col.1:27). 

When you see Christ in you, everything does change. You realize that you no longer need to search for God or for what He wants you to do with your life. Your focus isn’t even on yourself anymore because your old self doesn’t exist (Gal.2:20). Instead, all is about Him. He lives in your heart and speaks to your mind. You find yourself tuned to your/His heart and listening for His thoughts and words forming in your mind and mouth. You are poised for the adventure of seeing His will unfold in you each new day. Your plans are His plans and goals. 

Jesus is your real life, the self that is actually you (Col. 3:3). Having realized this truth, Paul now introduced himself not as a zealot for Judaism, but as an apostle of Christ Jesus, through the will of God (Col.1:1). This was his true identity, and it took a dramatic revelation for him to see it. All of us, like Paul, live in and as Jesus, but just don’t know it. With that new revelation of His life, Paul affirms, there is no Greek and Jew, Circumcision and Uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but all and in all is Christ (3:11). Let’s discover who it is that wants to live our lives and perform His plans through us in 2022. 

(All scripture quotations from the Concordant Literal New Testament, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983.) 

Seven Needs of a Man #5

13 08 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men.

Men need a “rod” to count on. v. 4.

As a shepherd, David counted on his rod or staff to protect himself and his sheep from harmful  predators. He saw God’s protection in the same way. He learned that when he was journeying through dangerous life zones he could count on God’s rod and staff to be his safety.

21st century men still need the protective power of God. Men still need comfort and protection not only physically but in the dark valleys of depression, temptation, moral failure, discouragement, etc. Where do men go to overcome the fear and shame of condemnation that lurks in their souls? Read the rest of this entry »

The Seven Needs of Men #4

19 07 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men. (see previous posts, Category: Men Today)

No. 4 – Men need to know the right life. Ps. 23:3b


When the Psalmist wrote that “He leads me in the paths of righteousness..” he was affirming that God would guide him to always be on the right path. As long as he stayed on that path God would be pleased. That was the pattern for those who lived under the “old covenant” (Old Testament). Being right with God meant obedience to the right way (the Law).

Thankfully, that old way of trying to be right has been superseded with God’s better plan, the “new covenant” (New Testament). Read the rest of this entry »

Jesus IS my strength

14 06 2015

Most of us have recited the popular Bible verse of Philippians 4:13 when in a time of physical or emotional need. We are taught that we can count on Christ to provide us the needed help to get us through the crisis. Jesus is viewed as our “go to guy” for whatever we need.
Recently my wife Shirley showed me the graphic on the left that clearly points out a very different interpretation for this verse. It shows us the contrast between the common perspective of our relationship with Christ and that of the Truth. That truth is that Jesus is not just a provider for our needs, He IS the provision. He doesn’t just give us what we need; He gives us Himself, the total Life provision. (John 14:6)
Why has this not been clearly understood or so overlooked? Read the rest of this entry »

The Seven Needs of a Man #2

17 05 2015

Seven Needs of Man #2

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men.

  1. Men Need to know how to God. v. 2

Boy-by-lake-e1322500982288Most men know how to find time and places to physically relax and “unwind”, but do they know how to find relaxation for their souls? For many men, even believers, there is an anxious place in their hearts concerning their standing with God. Much of our Christian teaching has left men with the impression that their security with God is conditional and that he needs to make sure he keeps his side of the bargain to ensure His eternal standing. A recent survey by Lifeway Publishing showed that 56% of “self proclaimed evangelical Christians” believe that “people must contribute their own effort for personal salvation”.* This is the common theology called “Christ plus”, meaning that even though Christ died on the cross and paid for our sins, we are responsible to add to His work with our efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

Do Great Things for God?

31 03 2015

EasterFor most of my life and early pastoral ministry I followed this popular exhortation, “Do great things for God!” I was told and even preached that the best thing you could do with your life was to serve God with your whole heart. This was also the repeated challenge by the senior pastor of the church where I served as an associate staff. The more a member served God through the church indicated the sincerity of their love and heart for God.

But years of personally and aggressively trying to follow this belief only led to frustration and fatigue. Even trying to “balance” my time for God with my  family or other activities did nothing to stave off the empty weariness. The only consolation was that it was “noble” to burn out for God like so many gone before me.  I had accepted the popular idea that Christ died for our sins so now we need to gratefully devote our lives to obeying the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »

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