Daniel Davis's Posts (127)



Discussion Questions
1) What issue did the Israelites have in their thinking about their relationship with God following their exile? How did God reassure them of his faithfulness to them, and his commitment to keep his promise (v. 6)?
2) What did God say explicitly of himself to the remnant that returned to Jerusalem? What does the word immutable mean? What is the main implication of this for the children of Israel (v. 6b)?
3) Because God does not change, what does he exhort his people to do (v. 7)? What does the history of Israel reveal about their inability to keep their word to the Lord (v. 7)?
4) Why is it important to recognize that God’s immutability is not merely an abstract idea but a living principle that every disciple must embrace and practice? Explain.
5) “Because God does not change, I need to really count on him to ___________.”

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"It strikes me when the Bible says that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet, he can be born, he can allow himself to be one of us . . . ." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
Join us in watching the video and sharing your thoughts on these discussion questions.
 
1) Solomon began his prayer at the Temple dedication with an affirmation of God’s covenant faithfulness, and the fulfillment of his promise to David (cf. vv. 22-25). How did Solomon describe God’s uniqueness as a covenant-keeping God (see vv. 22-23)?

2) How does Solomon describe God’s faithfulness to David, i.e., how does the building of the Temple represent a promise kept to David (v. 24)?  What does Solomon ask the Lord to continue to do regarding his covenant promise to David (v. 25)?

3) Summarize Solomon’s request for God to complete the fulfillment of his promise to his father David (v. 26). Why is it so important for us to recognize this characteristic of God, his ability and determination to fulfill his word to his own?

4) What rhetorical question did Solomon ask the Lord, in the wake of the Temple’s fresh construction (v. 27a)?  What does it mean that “the heaven of heavens cannot contain you,” (v. 27b)?  Why should this transform our thinking of the Lord’s being and person?

5) “Since God has no limits in his person, the one thing he can fill me up now in my life is ___________.”
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"Not only will he keep me for the rest of my life and time, he will keep me for the rest of his existence." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis

Take the time to listen to Dr. Davis's message on The Eternity of God. Then come back and spend a moment sharing your thoughts.
 
1) Explain the significance of God being “our dwelling place in all generations” Ps. 90.1. How does this help us understand the correlation between our being made in the image of God, and God being eternal in his being?
2) How does Moses reflect on the status of God even “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world” (Ps. 90.2a)?  Explain the phrase “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Ps. 90.2b).
3) How does Moses describe human being, our “return to dust” (Ps. 90.3)?  How does Moses compare 1,000 years (10 full centuries) to the being of God (Ps. 90.4)? What does this suggest about God’s being and normal “clock time” that we experience?
4) What three metaphors are used in Ps. 90 to describe the fragility of human life, when it comes to time? How do these help us to understand ourselves juxtaposed over against God’s mighty person?
5) “It seems that I am most aware that I am mortal and subject to an end of my life when I ___________.  I now know that because I believe in Jesus Christ, when it comes to time, I can be assured that . . . “
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Discussion Questions

1) Explain the testimony God gave regarding his people in Ps. 50.7. What role did sacrifices play in their relationship to God—what did God think of them (v. 8)? Why wouldn’t God accept any of their bulls or goats (v. 9)?
2) What statement does God make about “every beast of the forest” and “the cattle on a thousand hills,” v. 10? What does he say about all birds and all that moves in the field (v. 11)? What does God say about his “hunger” and to whom he would go, being found in that condition (v. 12)?
3) Summarize God’s command to his people in light of his supreme authority and power as God (cf. vv. 14). What does he promise to those who acknowledge his supremacy (v. 15)?
4) Why should we be wary of any view of God that makes him weak or in need of defense, help, or counsel? How can we better show our understanding that God is supreme and self-sufficient?
5) “Because God is supreme and enough for me, I can trust him today to help me to ___________.”

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"Worship him who has no beginning and who has no need for anything; who gives life to all." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
Check out the video, and share your thoughts on Dr. Davis's pondersome discussion questions.
 
1) What do you believe was Moses’ motivation in asking God of his name (Exod. 3.13)? Why is knowing God’s name so important in representing him before others?
2) How does God define himself in Exod. 3.14?  What are some implications of God’s self-declared name as “I Am Who I Am?”  Define the meaning of “the self-existence of God.” What does that suggest about his need for things outside of himself?
3) Why is it important to know that the “I Am” is precisely the same God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exod. 3.15)?  Why is his acknowledgment that “this is my name forever,” and which is “to be remembered throughout all generations” so key in thinking about God?
4) How should knowing that God alone has life in and of himself affect the way we see ourselves?  Why are all things absolutely dependent on God for their life and thriving?  Explain.
5) “One practical way I can truly “be still and know” that the LORD is God is to _______ _____________________.”
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Discussion Questions

1) What final instructions did Paul give the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 13.11-13? Why do you think he emphasized the themes of unity and peace with the Corinthians? How might our own unity help prepare us to reflect on the unity of Godhead?
2) How do you see the ways in which Paul described the members of the Godhead: the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (v.14)? What should we make of this summary of the members of the Trinity and their focus?
3) The doctrine of the Trinity is built on three concepts: unity, diversity, and equality. Summarize each concept and explain how it helps us understand God’s nature as both one and triune.
4) What roles should mystery and humility play in understanding the doctrine of the Trinity? Why must we acknowledge the limits of our reason when it comes to the being and person of God?
5) After reflecting on the triune nature of our God, I am led to affirm that ___________.

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"Genuine worship offered to the Father must correspond both to his nature and to the truth." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
We have so much good stuff for you today. Check out chapter 3 of A. W. Tozer's classic, The Knowledge of the Holy. Then check out Dr. Davis's message on John 4.19-24. After all of that, come back here and share your thoughts on these discussion questions. We can't wait to hear from you!
 
1) How did the Samaritan woman pose the question (John 4.19-21) regarding where Samaritans and Jews say we should worship?  How did Jesus answer her, and what are the implications of his answer on those who would argue where we worship is the central factor in approaching God?
2) How did Jesus contrast the Samaritan view versus the Jewish view of where we ought to worship (cf. vv. 22).  What did he promise, however, would happen in an hour that was coming (v. 23)? How do true worshipers worship God, and what does the Father desire from them?
3) Summarize the meaning of Jesus’ teaching in John 4:24 that God is spirit.  What does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth?
4) As a royal priesthood of God, what does it mean for believers to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”, 1 Pet. 2.10?  How are we as Christians equipped to worship God correctly?
5) “In order to worship the Father in spirit and in truth I must  ________________.”   Where should you begin?
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"This God, who makes the sun rise up every day, wants us to seek him and to know him." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
Don't just blow by this like it's another cute animal video. Watch the message, and then dig deeper with these questions, forged by the mind of Dr. Davis.
 
1) How does God reveal his immensity and splendor in Isaiah 40.12?  What has the Lord measured and marked off, and what does Isaiah say about what God has weighed? In contrast, who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or shown him his counsel (v.13)?
2) What are the implications of knowing that no one has ever given counsel to the Lord, or "taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding”, v. 14?  What does this suggest about our ability to comprehend him and his ways?
3) To what does God compare the nations relative to the Lord in Isaiah 40.15?  What is the sum total of the weight of the nations on the scales, i.e., how does God describe their significance?
4) Should the fact that God is wholly unknowable to human reason and wisdom alone discourage us from seeking to know him?  How so?  In what specific ways has God made himself known to us?
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The Missio Dei



"Don't be afraid. Don't allow the things that you see over the airwaves to break your confidence. Our God is a God of purpose, and he knows what he's doing." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
What is your role in this confusing world? Check out Dr. Davis's message, and then come back and share your thoughts on these discussion questions.
 
1) Explain the importance of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on the mountain after his resurrection from the dead in Galilee.  How should we understand their uneven response in meeting him?
2) Why is Jesus’ declaration that all authority is given to him in heaven and earth so crucial to understanding God’s mission?  Why can no valid missionary activity move forward without affirming the lordship of Christ?
3) Summarize the meaning of each of Jesus’ commands in vv. 19-20 (i.e., going, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching).  What is the significance of the mention of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the outworking of the mission of God?
4) How should the promise of Jesus never leaving us while we are going to make disciples impact our ability to engage and persevere in the work of God?  How can we be certain that his presence will always be with us?
5) “The role God has called me to play in his mission is ___________, and the way I can leverage my gifts and experience best to make disciples right now is to . . .”
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The Gift and the Gifts of the Spirit



"Embrace what he has given. Be thankful; use it for the service of others in the body." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
Thanks for watching the video. Pick a number between 1 and 5, and then share your answer to the corresponding discussion question below.
 
1) How does Paul consider the subjects of cursing Jesus (on the one hand) and confessing Jesus (on the other) to express one’s relationship to the Holy Spirit.  How does this show that the Spirit is the source of true spirituality?
2) Do you agree with the following statement: “The Holy Spirit offers a variety of gifts, services, and activities to each member of the body, giving any gift he owns to whomever he will.”  What does this suggest about who is eligible to receive the gifts of leadership and service?
3) Summarize Paul’s list of the gifts in 1 Cor. 12.8-11.  Are these gifts representative of others, or the only ones available to us from the Spirit?  Explain.
4) Why is Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit something that each church and follower of Christ must believe in and seek to experience?  How do we put ourselves in a position to see the Spirit empower us through his gifts and presence in our lives?
5) “The gift and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to me today as I ___________.  In order to experience the Spirit’s gifting in my life I simply need to . . . “
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"If you have lost, if you are suffering, if you are going through things, if you have experienced difficulty, know for a fact, that God almighty loves you, he knows you. He just simply wants you to cast your care on him." Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
Take a look at the video, and then challenge yourself with these discussion questions (please share your thoughts).
 
1) Why should we not be surprised at the “fiery trial” we endure as if “something strange were happening to you” (v. 12)?  What is the connection with our sharing Christ’s sufferings and the glory to come (v. 13)?
2) Explain Peter’s meaning of “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (v. 6).  Why is it always wise for the child of God to cast all their anxieties on God (v.7)? 
3) What does it mean to be sober-minded and watchful in the face of the devil’s adversarial stance against believers?  How does Peter describe “our adversary the devil?”  How does he advise us to relate to him? (cf. vv. 9-11)
4) How would you summarize Peter’s overall understanding of the concept of suffering in a Christian’s life? T or F  Is it always necessary for a Christian to comprehend the reasons behind her suffering and affliction to respond properly to it.  Explain.
5) “The lesson I need to learn right now regarding the suffering I have experienced is ______________.”
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"May you trust our God to lead you today, and all the way home, to that day." -Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis
 
After you watch the video, come back and share your answers to these discussion questions:
 
1) How does the Acts 17 text describe God as our creator and the source of our lives?  How does the text explain humankind’s dependence on God and how he sustains all human life?
2) How does Paul explain to his hearers that God is the very life and source of us all �(Acts 17.27-28)?  Explain Paul’s explanation of Greek poetry, “In him we live and move,” and “we are indeed his offspring” v. 28.
3) Summarize the phrase and concept that God has fixed a day to judge us all through Christ.  Why can we say that God’s divine being is not determined by human imagination, v. 29?  What does it mean to say that God commands all people everywhere to repent, v. 30?
4) How should we interpret the notion that God has actually fixed the very day when judgment of humankind will occur?  How does Jesus’ resurrection assure us of the certainty of this prophecy?
5) “I can be confident of God’s promise to redeem and provide for me because ___________.”
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The week after Easter was Evangel School training for church planters in Tanzania.  Bishop Charles Sekelwa and the leaders of the CEC denomination gathered 110 church planters for a week of training.

After a week of preparation, training and prayer they were commissioned and sent out.  Some will go as far as 500 miles from Mwanza in unreached areas of the country.  Bibles were printed and each church planter had 20 to take with them for their ministry assignment. 

One year earlier 25 church planters were trained and within three months 15 churches had been planted.  The TUMI seminary of Tanzania is then training the pastors and leaders who will follow to lead these planted churches. 

Bishop Sekelwa wrote "Our commissioning time yesterday was wonderful beyond expectation. People attended by hundreds to witness as the 110 church planters were commissioned. I invited several Bishops and Pastors just to be there and witness what the Lord's doing thru His chosen weak vessels, and we are already talking about having  another huge training come next year 2021 if God wills it."

Please pray for these commissioned Church Planters and for Bishop Sekelwa and his team and they continue to train church planters and pastors for the churches that are planted. We want to see a healthy church planted in every community of poverty, and Bishop's work is making a huge difference in Tanzania and beyond!



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If God Gave Revival to the City, What Would it Look Like?

If you are a believer, you probably have some idea of what revival looks like, or, at the very least, have longed for an extraordinary move of God to come in your family, church, and city.  Within believing circles, saints and congregations have historically prayed for revival.  Prayer concerts, camp meetings, special services, all night vigils, and seasons of seeking God dot our various church calendars, albeit less than a century ago.  Still, believers long for revival, for a fresh visitation of the Lord, for renewal of faith, for corresponding actions of justice and compassion, and for an abundant harvest of souls.

Often times, though, we associate revival with wild eyed preaching, scary spiritual manifestation, or targeted rants against particular social sins.  Those who do not wish to be associated with fanaticism will steer clear of revival speech, not wanting to be connected to an Elmer Gantry-style outreach of weird people all claiming that the Lord had spoken to them.  Others, disillusioned altogether with this kind of spiritual focus, opt out of any talk or vision of revival in any way, tending to view such behavior as extreme religious emotionalism without deep intellectual roots.

I do not believe that any serious thinking Christian who loves the city can avoid the importance of seeking God’s presence in our urban populations.  The history of dynamic change among the people of God is directly connected to his presence, frankly, to God’s “showing up and showing out,” to demonstrate his power and accomplish his will for his glory.  It is the Christian’s belief that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is God.  When he shows up, when he visits his people, then transformation, judgment, and grace occurs. To put it another way, if God does not show up, his Kingdom will neither advance or display.

To be sure, certain forms of revival possess a checkered history of sorts when it comes to lasting spiritual renewal and fruit.  We can easily seek the supra-normal manifestation in the spiritual realm, emphasizing flamboyant shows of spiritual showmanship, equating it with the demonstration of great miracles and manifestations.  As a matter of fact, when many hear the word, “revival,” they think about low church, emotionalistic religious proclamation and song, with hell-fire and damnation preaching, with street corner evangelism that may be heavy on condemnation and light on grace.

While such a caricature may be true (at least to some degree), revival ought not to be ignored or treated as unimportant in the transformation of the Church and of society.  When revival is defined in terms of God’s visitation, as God actually manifesting himself in a powerful, meaningful, and personal manner, transformation occurs.  Anyone familiar with the rich tradition associated with revival knows this: the multiplication of mission societies, the creation of dozens of parachurch organizations dedicated to evangelism and justice, the emergence of servant leaders dedicated to serving God’s Kingdom, and the enrichment of the life and ministry of the Church can all be tied to specific moments and episodes when God, in answer to the prayer and brokenness of his people, decided to visit and renew his people.

In my mind it is better not to speculate about what revival might look like if it occurs as to think about what changes would occur in our lives if God were to manifest himself to us personally.  This kind of language might trouble some, but the Scriptures are filled with stories of God revealing himself to his people, to sending the prophets to warn and rebuke them of their error, or to comfort and encourage them about his will.  It is not lost on me that our Lord Jesus is called the Word (John 1), the One who communicates the mind and will of God to humankind.  His incarnation into the world, his “tabernacled” among us (to change a noun to a verb) is arguably the greatest life-giving visitation in human history (John 1.14).  Our God delights to be longed for, desires to reveal himself and his glory to us, and wants to see us transformed as we “behold his glory” as the apostles and saints did long ago

The freedom of God suggests that we cannot map out God’s visitation, as if we can determine what he will say and do in absolute particulars, if he decides to manifest his glory in an extraordinary way.  Candidly, for those of us who believe that the Church is the body of Christ, we know that he dwells in the midst of our communities whenever Christians gather in his name, in as few numbers as two or three (Matt. 18.20).  God reveals himself consistent with his own purposes and will; God’s timing, manner, and method of revealing himself is linked to his sovereign will.  We cannot wind him up, or simply, in a wooden and dispassionate manner, go through certain outward religious motions and expect him to show up.  Revival is neither shamanism nor magic.  God will show up only if he wants to.

Futhermore, in seeking God’s visitation, our motives must be pure.  We must desire the Lord to reveal himself in order that his glory might be manifest, his name exalted, his Kingdom advanced.  Revival is not religious sideshow-ism, but rather our God making himself known in order that his people might be renewed, cleansed, prepared, and transformed to be better agents of his Kingdom life and better trophies of his saving grace.  Revival’s purpose is not in order that we might be entertained but rather that we might be empowered to fulfill his will as the people of God.  Truly then, revival, when and if it comes, will look like us who believe transformed by the power of God.  Our churches will become communities of grace, our own broken lives will be changed and healed, our own poor will be cared for and empowered, and the forces of evil that ravage our lives will be overcome and put down.

This kind of revival, then, is about my own change when I encounter the Lord in a new, fresh, and life-changing way.  In this manner, this becomes a personal longing, not just some abstract idea.  This is the kind of revival I am praying for, the kind that will change me first, heal my life, transform my mind, and bend my will to God’s own kingdom purpose.  The revival I seek is the kind that will revive me.  I am coning to see that only if I receive this kind of Spirit-given visitation from the Lord, then and only  then, perhaps, may he choose to use me to help others see him more clearly.

Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis, Director
The Urban Ministry Institute

 

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Revival Blog: Steps to Revival

Steps to Revival

I am distressed at the zeal of heretics and at the amnesia of the believers.
— Leonard Ravenhill

Everything in me knows that true spirituality is not the end result of a cook-book process.  You can no more dictate to the Lord what he will do and when he will do it than you can predict next week’s weather conditions.  We use models, science, instruments, and logic, but, all too often, we still get it wrong.

Throughout my Christian life I have come to understand that “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.”  He cannot be coaxed or manipulated into doing something that he does not want to do; prayer is not a form of magic or divine mind control.  God desires to move in regard to our prayers, but has made it clear that he seeks those who will worship him in spirit and in truth.  He is not an ephemeral figure in a lamp that is ready and willing to allow us to splurge our wanton pleasures after we have made them known to him.

Revival is that amazing condition when the people of God are graced with a visitation from the Lord in an extraordinary way, that allows him to accomplish his will in and through them, with spectacular spiritual impact.  We should pray for revival, for revival episodes have proven in history to be dramatically pregnant.  When revival occurs, all heaven breaks out.  Revival does not merely result in wholesale transformation of people’s lives and thousands of conversions to Christ (i.e., the transformation of folk’s spiritual condition), but also to healing of neighborhoods and communities, to the blessing and renewal of whole societies.  The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, and the transformation of the communities in which they live.

Those of us in missions do not pray for God’s intervention and visitation because we are lazy, merely seeking to avoid the hard, arduous work of making disciples and suffering on behalf of the Gospel.  There are no shortcuts to spiritual depth, not even prayers for revival. We don’t  seek the Lord’s moving and manifestation to escape Jesus’ claim that we must crosses as his followers, even in a post-revival setting.  Revival does not eliminate our duty to suffer in the name of Christ, rather, it can actually enhance our chances of undergoing suffering on Christ’s account.

Not only this, but revival prayer is not meant to be seen as a guaranteed recipe for change, a once-for-all list of ingredients that once mingled together will automatically produce certain results, in the same way at the same time.  If this were the case, then prayer for revival would be more akin to magic than faith.  When God’s people pray, when they seek the face of God, turning from their wicked ways, earnestly asking God to visit and manifest his power and glory in their midst, God has promised to forgive us.  When we are broken before him, he said he would heal our land, he would visit our nation, and come and dwell with us (2 Chron. 7.14).  The standard God gave to Solomon for his visitation was clear and definite; he would move, but only if they met his standards of heart preparation, and genuine repentance from sin and idolatry.

The cities of America and the world are the crowning achievements of self-made society, religious impiety, human ingenuity and civilization, and the reckless lust of national greed and pride.  They are in open and continuous rebellion against the One who sits on the throne and the Lamb who deserve blessing, honor, glory and power (Rev. 5).  According to the apostolic testimony, the cities of the world are under the control and auspices of the god of this world, languishing under the domination and power of the evil one (Eph. 2.1-2; 1 John 5.19). Without God’s direct and sufficient intervention, none of the strongholds which plague and ravage the lives of millions of city dwellers can be torn down, and no deliverance or rescue can be made of its inhabitants.  Only the power of the Lord Christ can so intervene so as to break the power of sin, thwart the activities of the enemy, and open the door for the truth of the Gospel to spread its light, freedom, and hope.

This is why we should daily and fervently pray for the revival of the Church, and for the visitation of the Lord on urban America.  This is why we so desperately need thousands of Christians who will plead daily and hourly to the Lord to manifest his glory among the lost and the least in the ghettos of the world.  This is why, regardless of how it may look or appear on the surface, those of us who read the Scriptures are convinced that faithful, continuous, and longing intercession may move the very heart of God to come to the worst communities and make them into the very trophies of his high grace and mysterious power.  Nothing can break the power of evil but the working of the Lord and his Spirit (Zech. 4.6).

Revival is not the answer at the end of an equation, the sure product of a clear recipe, or the wonderful result produced after we have mechanically followed all the directions of the assembly instructions.  These images are far too static to understand the dynamics of revival.

Cookie-cutter approaches to spirituality are doomed to failure, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3.17).  The Lord has made it plain that his work will not be accomplished by human ingenuity or fleshly might, but rather by the moving of the Spirit of God on his people, through his people, for his people.  Thinking that all we need to do is to woodenly follow some specially crafted steps, which will without fail lead to God’s visitation and the revival of his people and the nation, is naive and untrue.  Thinking like this reveals a shallow picture of God, and a unclear notion of how intractable evil really is in the city.

The Lord is the Great I Am, the One who was and is and is to come (Exod. 3.14).  he who is alive, whose ways are past finding out.  The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be deciphered or mapped out by the natural mind (1 Cor. 2.9-16); our God is God, truly divine and absolutely free, and he will do whatever he pleases in whatever he chooses (Ps. 135.6).

Insights like this ought to make us humble.  We ought not demand that the Lord show up in our endeavors, or expect him to arbitrarily reveal his power on our behalf, just because we think he should.  If his work in the Old Testament teaches us anything, it ought to show us that God is both sovereign and patient, that he works his own will for his own sake in his own time.  We pray prayers, not demands.

I am not shocked when I hear of the Moravian’s hundred year prayer meeting; that sounds about right in both seeking the Lord, and him responding in his own time.  Those of us who desire the Lord to move should not fail to overlook this one fact, as Peter declares, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord will fulfill his Word; he is not slow to fulfill his promise but, rather, will prove to be patient towards us.  He knows our weakness and our motives, and he also knows his purpose and his plan.  He will bring us into the place he has for us, in his own way and at his own time (2 Pet. 3.8-9).

While it is always good to study revivals and to induce from them the “steps” and principles we can from them, we would be much better off if we simply prepared our hearts, and sought the Lord with all our might.  Rather than seeking to discover a science of revival, we ought to be broken before him, and be constant in our begging and imploring him to transform us as we pray for the cities of the world.  Let revival begin with us, with our hearts, in our lives.

In the end, perhaps the only sure step to revival is our own personal repentance, and our long perseverance in obedience and prayer.  Revival starts with a broken hear, either yours or mine.

Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis, Director
The Urban Ministry Institute

 

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