Monday, March 30, 2009

How Much Do You Have To Hate Somebody to Not Evangelize

Yesterday I preached on Matt 9:36 and John 4:34-36 giving a challenge to:


If God, the Gospel, Jesus, Heaven and Hell are real - it ought to make a radical difference in our hearts and lives in regards to our concern for those who do not have the saving power of Jesus in their life. We must share with them the Gospel and warn them of coming judgment.

After church a good friend told me about this video clip that you need to watch. It is from the Penn and Teller show - a show that I have never watched and don't know if I recommend or not. That is not the point.

Apparently, Penn does video clips called "Penn Says" in which he talks about life. In this clip he talks about a man who gave him a Bible and offered him the Gospel. Penn is an atheist but he greatly respected this man because he acted on what he believed. If a truck is headed straight for your neighbor but he does not see or believe it, the loving thing for you to do is to tackle him so he gets out of the way. He poses the question: "how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize. How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that."

Here you go:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Howie's Worship CD to Download

Howie Holm served on the worship team at Grace for more than eight years before going home to be with the Lord on March 21st, 2009. He and his family recorded this album during the summer of 2006. Many of us at Grace have been blessed by these songs. Howie's family has given us permission to share them with you. We know that Howie would love to know the God to whom he is singing in these songs. Please download and share freely (as he so joyfully did).

All songs are in mp3 format. To play the songs simply click on the download button below. To save the songs to your computer right click on download button and then click on "save target as...".

See here for source page at





I Love You Lord



Blessed Be Your Name



Open The Eyes of My Heart



How Great Is Our God



When I Look Into Your Holiness



How Great Thou Art



Here I Am to Worship



Awesome God Medley



Shout to the Lord


Sometimes Laughter Is Appropriate When We Think of God's Sufficiency

I was refreshed in my quiet time this morning when I read these words from Spurgeon on trusting in God's sufficiency:
Perhaps I was wrong to say “brave,” for it is not a brave thing to trust God: to true believers it is a simple matter of sweet necessity — how can they help trusting him? ‘Wherefore should they doubt their ever faithful Friend? I told my people the other morning, when preaching from the text, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” that for the first time in my life I experienced what Abraham felt when he fell upon his face and laughed. I was riding home, very weary with a long week’s work, when there came to my’ mind this text — ” My grace is sufficient for thee :” but it came with the emphasis laid upon two words: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” My soul said, “Doubtless it is. Surely the grace of the infinite God is more than sufficient for such a mere insect as I am,” and I laughed, and laughed again, to think how far the supply exceeded all my needs. It seemed to me as though I were a little fish in the sea, and in my thirst I said, “Alas, I shall drink up the ocean.” Then the Father of the waters lifted up his head sublime, and smilingly replied, “Little fish, the boundless main is sufficient for thee.” The thought made. unbelief appear supremely ridiculous, as indeed it is.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sermon - Be Reconciled to God

Below is my sermon from last Sunday.

My main points was - "Be reconciled to God" - 2 Cor. 5:20-21.

I had 3 categories of people in mind:

  1. Some are enemies of God and need to be reconciled by being truly converted (sincere repentance and trust in Jesus for salvation)

  2. Some of you are children of God but are disobedient and you need restoration (1 John 1:9ff)

  3. All of His children are given the charge to be give this message to others (being messengers of reconciliation)

My three points were:

Be Fearful.
Be Hopeful.
Be Urgent.

Here it is:

22.09 Be Reconciled to God 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 Read Read Listen

(right click the "listen" link and save to computer to download)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why You Should Come to the Funeral - Even If You Didn't Know Howie

Dear Grace Church Family,
The funeral for Howie Holm will be on Thursday evening at 5 PM, with a meal provided afterward. A nursery will also be provided for infants and toddlers.
(see previous posts)

If you consider yourself part of Grace Church, I really think you need to come to the funeral on Thursday (5 PM) if at all possible. I say this to those who have known Howie and Marie for years and to those who never knew him personally.

Why do I think you should come to the funeral whether you knew Howie or not?

If you call Grace your home, here are some reasons why I think you should come:

1. You are a member of a body—if one member suffers, the whole body suffers… 1 Cor. 12:26 says that we are all members of one body and if one hurts the rest hurts. This flies in the face of our individualistic tendencies. It is easy to say – “I am busy and I really didn’t know Howie…” or “it really won’t make a difference if I come because no one will know who I am.” Instead, think it terms of the body – one member (Howie’s wife) is suffering and we are called to come together to minister to her. Here is an opportunity for you to feel the pain and joy of someone you are united together with and grow in love for people of the church.

2. You are part of a family and families serve one another even by their presence. In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul says the church is like a family or household. I don’t think my generation has this down very well, but we need to think this way. Families serve each other with their presence. Your being at the funeral has a great potential to impact far more than you could imagine. You may never know the impact that your being at the funeral may have on Howie’s family, others who are there to grieve, or even the pastor who will preach the Gospel to many unbelievers and needs your support.

3. Funerals are a unique means of grace for the soul as it makes you ponder the brevity of your own life. Ecclesiastes 7:2 and 4 say that it is better for our souls to go into the house of mourning than into the house of mirth or laughter. Funerals have a very sobering affect on a person. They remind you that life is very short and that we need to be ready (Psalm 90:12). It is very good for our spiritual life to be reminded of things of eternity and funerals are great reminders of eternity. Parents, this is a great teaching opportunity to your children.

4. You may have never attended a truly Christ-centered funeral. I know it is possible that some of you have never been to a truly edifying funeral before. Let me challenge you – come ready to be blessed by God’s gracious work. Thursday will be a true worship service. Will there be grief? Absolutely. But the grief will be accompanied by the glorious confidence in Jesus Christ and the saving power that He has lavished upon Howie and everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus for salvation. By God’s grace (please pray for me), the Gospel will be proclaimed and people will be invited to partake of the same joyous relationship of salvation as Howie enjoyed (and continues to enjoy).

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you as you ponder your involvement in the family of God at Grace Church.

Pastor Daniel

Monday, March 23, 2009

Howard L. Holm, 1946-2009

Howard L "Howie/Buddie" Holm
Howard L. “Howie/Buddy” Holm, age 62 of Linwood Township, went to meet Jesus March 21, 2009 after a courageous battle with cancer. Howie was a dearly loved husband, father, step-father, grandpa, brother, neighbor and friend. Preceded in death by parents Howard and Evelyn and his best friend Kevin Sonsteby. Survived by wife Marie; children, Howie (Rachel), Laura (Bruce) VanHeel, Holly (Rick) Pergande, Jerald (Angela) Starks, Andy (Heather) Starks; 15 grandchildren; sisters, Carole, Darlene and Shirley; many other neighbors, family and friends. Howie spent most of his career life as a project engineer for Medtronic Inc. His first passion was to worship the Lord by serving on the worship team and in many other areas at Grace Evangelical Free Church. He particularly loved deer hunting and his annual Canadian fishing trips. He was a wonderful inspiration to his family and friends. Particular thank you to Pastor Daniel for being his friend and shepherd through the course of his illness and during the final hours with his family. A thank you also to the wonderful, compassionate care extended to Howie and his family by the Emergency Room and ICU staff at Fairview Lakes Hospital, Wyoming. Memorials preferred to the Grace Evangelical Free Church Building Fund. A Celebration of His Life will be held at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, March 26, 2009 at Crossroads Covenant Church, 17445 Notre Dame Street, Forest Lake. Visitation 4:00-8:00 p.m., Wednesday at Mattson Funeral Home, 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake and one hour prior to service. Interment at Linwood Township Cemetery.

For services info see here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Remembering Howie


There will be a visitation for Howie this Wednesday at Mattson Funeral Home in Forest Lake, from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. More information can be found on Mattson's web site.

Funeral Service

The funeral service for Howie will be on Thursday, at 5:00 pm at Crossroads Covenant Church in Forest Lake (click link for map and directions.) All are invited to a meal after the service.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Howie, home with the Lord

Howie Holm went home to be in the presence of Jesus a short time ago this evening. Marie said it was very peaceful. Especially now for Howie.

Jesus is risen.

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

2 Corinthians 5:8-9

It Is Not Death to Die and Howie Holm

Please continue to pray for our dear friend and member of Grace Church Howie Holm, Marie (his wife), his three children and extended family.

After a very good last few days, Howie was hit Thursday night with a very bad infection.He was admitted into the Wyoming Hospital early yesterday morning and he is in the ICU.

Howie loves Jesus and longs to honor Him in life and death. Please pray for sustaining grace to do just that.
I have spent much time with him over the past few months and I can testify to the fact that though his body may be wasting away, his inner self is being renewed day by day – by God’s grace.

To put it in his wife’s words this morning – “I think we are seeing the compassion of God right now.”

Howie has been in a lot of pain over the past 4 months (and he has fought cancer for almost 5 years). Because of the infection in his body, the doctors do not expect that he will live much longer. I just came from the hospital and they are fairly sure that apart from a miracle, Howie will leave this life very soon – and because Howie has Christ as his Redeemer we know that it means that He will be with Jesus (2 Cor 5:6-10).

Here is a song that has been dear to me as I think about my friend's death and joyful entrance into the presence of Christ - "It Is Not Death To Die": (see the lyrics below)

It Is Not Death to Die - Sovereign Grace Music

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God

It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just

It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Grace of Adoption

Ephesians 1:5 and 6 says that God "predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which he blessed us in the Beloved."

If we have been saved by God through Jesus, it's because he chose to adopt us to be His children.

Tomorrow my sister and her husband (Jason and Janelle Johnson) are following through on a choice they made to adopt four children from Minneapolis. This is truly a human redemption story. We pray that it will truly result in a spiritual redemption story as well.

Please pray for Jason and Janelle as they are excited about officially bringing in Katie (6), Preston (5), Paul (5) and Anna (3) into their family and make them their own children. The four kids are all biologically brothers and sisters.

Last Week's Sermon - True Conversion

Each week we post the Sunday sermons at

Here is last week's sermon on "True Conversion"

I asked four questions:
1) Why should I care?
2) What is true conversion?
3) How does true conversion happen?
4) Can we know if we have been truly converted?

Here is the sermon stuff that is pasted from
(you can download the sermon by right-clicking and saving on the listen link)

3.15.09 True Conversion 1 Thess. 1:4-10; 2:13 Read Read Listen

Contemplate...a Church Full of Soul-winners

I have been reading Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students in which he has a powerful chapter called - "On Conversion as Our Aim." He concludes this lecture by pointing to the importance of the whole church coming together to pray and earnestly seek the salvation of souls for the glory of God. Here is a quote in which he invites us to imagine the power of a whole church coming together for the salvation of souls. [color emphasis mine]

With all that you can do your desires will not be fulfilled, for soul-winning is a pursuit which grows upon a man; the more he is rewarded with Conversions the more eager he becomes to see greater numbers born unto God. Hence you will soon discover that you need help if many are to be brought in. The net soon becomes too heavy for one pair of hands to drag to shore when it is filled with fishes; and your fellow-helpers must be beckoned to your assistance. Great things are done by the Holy Spirit when a whole church is aroused to sacred energy: then there are hundreds of testimonies instead of one, and these strengthen each other; then advocates for Christ succeed each other and work into each other’s hands, while supplication ascends to heaven with the force of united importunity; thus sinners are encompassed with a cordon of earnest entreaties, and heaven itself is called into the field.

It would seem hard in some congregations for a sinner to be saved, for whatever good he may receive from the pulpit its frozen out of him by the arctic atmosphere with which he is surrounded: and on the other hand some churches make it hard for men to remain unconverted, for with holy zeal they persecute the careless into anxiety. It should be our ambition, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to work the entire church into a fine missionary condition, to make it like a Leyden jar charged ‘to the full with divine electricity, so that whatever comes into contact with it shall feel its power. What can one man do alone? What can he not do with an army of enthusiasts around him? Contemplate at the outset the possibility of having a church of soulwinners. Do not succumb to the usual idea that we can only gather a few useful workers, and that the rest of the community must inevitably be a dead weight: it may possibly so happen, but do not set out with that notion or it will be verified. The usual need not be the universal; better things are possible than anything yet attained; set your aim high and spare no effort to reach it. Labor to gather a church alive for Jesus, every member energetic to the full, and the whole in incessant activity for the salvation of men.

To this end there must be the best of preaching to feed the host into strength, continual prayer to bring down the power from on high, and the most heroic example on your own part to fire their zeal: then under the divine blessing a common-sense management of the entire force cannot fail to produce the most desirable issues. Who among you can grasp this idea and embody it in actual fact?
(Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, 391-392, “On Conversion As Our Aim”)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Seize Your Commute

I recommend you check out this website called "Faith By Hearing: Seize Your Commute."

What a great subtitle! Many of you drive more than one hour per day - learning the available options for listening to great free resources is a great opportunity to "seize your commute" for the glory of God and the good of your soul.

FBH is a great resource to check out with a healthy pool of listening resources.

Buying a good mp3 player can be a great investment when so many great resources are available online (to download) for free.

Preaching Regeneration

Main Entry: re·gen·er·a·tion
Pronunciation: \ri-ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən, ˌrē-\
Function: noun Date: 14th century

Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology) defines regeneration as the "secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us." It is sometimes called -- "being born again" (John 3:3-8).

In heart preparation for my sermon last Saturday night I read Charles Spurgeon's sermon from 1857 called "Regeneration." In his intro he writes:

I must offer the same excuse, then, for bringing before you this morning the subject of regeneration. It is one of absolute and vital importance; it is the hinge of the gospel; it is the point upon which most Christians are agreed, yea, all who are Christians in sincerity and truth. It is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation. It is the very groundwork of our hopes for heaven, and as we ought to be very careful of the basement of our structure, so should we be very diligent to take heed that we are really born again, and that we have made sure work of it for eternity. There are many who fancy they are born again who are not. It well becomes us, then, frequently to examine ourselves; and it is the minister’s duty to bring forward those subjects which lead to selfexamination, and have a tendency to search the heart and try the reins of the children of men. (Spurgeon, Regeneration, PSP – Vol 3)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy CAUSED US TO BE BORN AGAIN..." (1 Peter 1:3)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Longing for His Presence this Sunday and Beyond...

Charles Spurgeon is one of my heroes. I can't believe I haven't named a son after him yet. Lord willing--there is still time. :)
I read this paragraph this week that lifted my heart in prayer--begging God to make this a reality in the preaching of the word on Sunday morning (and beyond)...
Have you ever seen an assembly listening to an orator all unmoved and stolid? Suddenly, the Holy Ghost has fallen on the speaker, and the King Himself has been vis­ibly set forth among them in the midst of the assembly, and all have felt as if they could leap to their feet and cry, 'Hallelujah, Hallelujah!' Then hearts beat fast, and souls leap high; for where Jesus is found His presence fills the place with delight.

He then shares this experience of the Holy Spirit's presence in the worship service and its silencing affect on the people...
More than once we were all so awe-struck with the so­lemnity of the meeting that we sat silent for some mo­ments while the Lord's Power appeared to overshadow us; and all I could do on such occasions was to pronounce the benediction, and say, 'Dear friends, we have had the Spirit of God here very manifestly tonight; let us go home and take care not to lose His gracious influence.' Then down came the blessing; the house was filled with hearers, and many souls were saved.

God, make Your power overshadow us. Prepare us for its weight. Give us Your blessing and save many Jesus' name, amen.

Hymns are Not Gone...

I love the old hymns of that have been passed down through the church. I grew up with them and have not stopped appreciating them and I am glad to know that they are not going to die any time soon--in spite of the rejection of them in many churches. Of course, there are some lousy hymns just as there are lousy contemporary worship songs (that's an understatement!).

Check this out from Justin Taylor's blog:

Here's a cool project:
Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible and known again.They are some of the richest, most meaningful, and moving pieces of music ever written.
For a limited time you can download the album for free.

HT: Lukas Naugle

And if you don't know about it, also check out the Reformed Praise website. Here's an introduction:
Reformed Praise is a music ministry dedicated to bringing together the rich tradition of hymnody, especially from the reformers or those directly influenced by them, with the modern worship song movement. Sound like a bad idea? Please see our articles page for links to articles about reformed theology, worship, styles of music, and many other topics by various respected theologians and pastors pertaining to this issue.

We truly believe that an incredible wealth of worship music is being "lost" amidst a sea of often over-simplified contemporary praise choruses. Our worship songs should be full of biblical, rich, and powerful truth, truth that is all too often absent from modern worship songs. Hymns have long been a rich source of deep lyrics, but many traditional tunes used to sing these hymns hinder rather than help believers feel what they are singing. The modern worship styles (and there are many) offer a new arena to make these hymn texts come alive to new generations. When these classic and biblical texts are wed to contemporary tunes, the result is a truly powerful worship experience that enables God's truth to settle deep in our hearts and minds.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sometimes You Wonder If They Are Listening

Have you ever taught or shared something with someone and you were wondering if they were listening. Enjoy this video of Ben Stein from Farris Beuller's Day Off.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hacking Sin to Pieces

Two weeks ago at our Men's Freedom Ministry meeting Dana Jensen talked to us about killing sin. He had in mind primarily sexual sin, but the following Biblical principles apply to killing sin of all kinds. Thanks Dana.

Thoughts on applying Romans 8:13:
  1. We kill sin by hacking to pieces old sinful habits and cultivating new righteous habits.
  2. The instrument of killing old sinful habits and cultivating new God-glorifying habits is the heart.
  3. We kill sin by abstaining from fleshly lust (1 Peter 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 6:18).
  4. We abstain from fleshly lust by making no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14).
  5. We abstain from fleshly lust by fixing our heart of Christ (1 John 3:3).
  6. Sin is not killed when it is merely covered up (Proverbs 28:13).
  7. Sin is not killed when it is only internalized.
  8. Sin is not killed until the conscience is quiet.
  9. Having a quiet conscience is a large part of effective evangelism.
  10. Loud consciences are God's trumpet calling us to battle against sin.

I pray that you, with the guys in the Men's Freedom Ministry, will be challenged by these observations to put to death the deads of the body and LIVE!

Storytime with Daniel VanAcker

Often times God brings joy and peace to me through my children. There is something decidedly refreshing about the mind of a child. Recently, my son Daniel presented me with a story that he wrote (and typed) all by himself. At first I thought that it was just a bunch of random letters. As he read it to me however the words became plain. See if you can read it (below). Fabulous prizes for the one who gets closest.

Pursuing a Mark 10:15 faith,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free Audio Book - "Spiritual Disciplines"

As a follow up to my last post on the discipline of prayer, I recommend taking advantage of the free book of the month from called "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life" by Donald Whitney.

Here is the link to the free audio book. You will have to register with audiobooks (which is free) and you need to enter the coupon code to get the book for free (MAR2009).

The disciplines Whitney writes about are:

* Bible intake
* Prayer
* Worship
* Evangelism
* Serving
* Stewardship
* Fasting
* Silence and solitude
* Journalling
* Learning

Discipline Yourself to Pray Daily

I read this post a few weeks ago by Justin Taylor from one of John Piper's sermons on prayer. It is short and inspiring. We need to pray and we need to get away from the mindset that it is legalistic to insist on set apart times for prayer on a daily basis. I am not legalistic when I set aside time three times a day for eating--why should I not set apart time for something much more important. We are neglecting a spiritually life-sustaining reality in our lives if we forsake disciplined prayer. We need it but we foolishly starve ourselves.

John Piper:
But the hard truth is that most Christians don’t pray very much. They pray at meals—unless they’re still stuck in the adolescent stage of calling good habits legalism. They whisper prayers before tough meetings. They say something brief as they crawl into bed. But very few set aside set times to pray alone—and fewer still think it is worth it to meet with others to pray. And we wonder why our faith is weak. And our hope is feeble. And our passion for Christ is small.

And meanwhile the devil is whispering all over this room: “The pastor is getting legalistic now. He’s starting to use guilt now. He’s getting out the law now.” To which I say, “To hell with the devil and all of his destructive lies. Be free!” Is it true that intentional, regular, disciplined, earnest, Christ-dependent, God-glorifying, joyful prayer is a duty? . . . Is it a discipline?

You can call it that.
• It’s a duty the way it’s the duty of a scuba diver to put on his air tank before he goes underwater.
• It’s a duty the way pilots listen to air traffic controllers.
• It’s a duty the way soldiers in combat clean their rifles and load their guns.
• It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food.
• It’s a duty the way thirsty people drink water.
• It’s a duty the way a deaf man puts in his hearing aid.
• It’s a duty the way a diabetic takes his insulin.
• It’s a duty the way Pooh Bear looks for honey.
• It’s a duty the way pirates look for gold.

I hate the devil, and the way he is killing some of you by persuading you it is legalistic to be as regular in your prayers as you are in your eating and sleeping and Internet use. Do you not see what a sucker he his making out of you? He is laughing up his sleeve at how easy it is to deceive Christians about the importance of prayer.

God has given us means of grace. If we do not use them to their fullest advantage, our complaints against him will not stick. If we don’t eat, we starve. If we don’t drink, we get dehydrated. If we don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies. If we don’t breathe, we suffocate. And just as there are physical means of life, there spiritual are means of grace. Resist the lies of the devil in 2009, and get a bigger breakthrough in prayer than you’ve ever had.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grace Unmeasured

Welcome to the new edition of our blog at Grace Church, Wyoming MN. What was formerly known as "Better Than I Deserve" is now called "Grace Unmeasured." We are still at the same web address -

The name was inspired by the song by Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Music called Grace Unmeasured (Look to the left column to listen to the song).
We long to glorify God by treasuring the unmeasurable grace found in His Son, Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We hope to share with you helpful thoughts and resources that will spur you on to follow Jesus wherever He leads and whatever it costs by His grace.

Here are the lyrics to "Grace Unmeasured."

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).