I’ve Moved!

You can conveniently find archives and current Direct from David posts over at whitewatercrossing.org.




There’s a dragon in the neighborhood

August 6, 2014

Hi Friends!

Did you know there’s a dragon loose in the neighborhood?! (Catch last weekend’s message here.) Hope you are watching out for him this week. One of our talented young artists, Phillip Smock, sent me his rendition of that dragon we preached about from Revelation (see picture at bottom.).

Don’t forget about allowing some extra time to get to worship this weekend. We understand that RT 128 will be open for traffic (just down to 1 lane in some spots), but don’t let the Dragon or these barriers stop you from connecting with God and others this weekend. Push/drive through so you don’t miss any of the exciting elements and changed lives we will be celebrating.

For all of you reading this who have been thinking for a while about  going ‘All In’ by becoming a member here (formally committing to be a part of our church family) or going ‘All In’ by being immersed (formally committing to Christ), mark the weekend of August 16/17. As part of the Revelation message that day, we will be offering a special opportunity to do both of these. In light of Jesus’ imminent return and the end of this decaying world, I am hoping that you won’t delay or procrastinate these most important decisions. Don’t let the dragon talk you out of it!

Becoming a member here at Whitewater is completely opposite of being a member of anything the world offers. Usually membership in something here on earth brings privileges. In the church, it brings responsibilities. Committing as a member here means that we publicly declare that we are not just a consumer, but a contributor. For sure, there are rewards for serving – fulfillment, joy, growing to be like Christ, knowing you are making an eternal difference, hearing Jesus’ words in heaven – ‘well done!’; but these are radically different than a member benefit society here on earth. Church membership means you are aligned with our mission and lets our church leaders know who they can count on to move that mission forward.

Hundreds have made a membership decision here and we know there are hundreds more who need to. Some think that just attending a worship gathering and throwing a few dollars in the offering makes you a member. Although both of those are appreciated, we have seen that making some kind of formal commitment is important because ‘we are what we commit to.’ And since all members of Whitewater have been immersed sometime, somewhere, there are also dozens of folks who were never baptized or were sprinkled as babies (and don’t remember it), who need/want to be baptized by immersion.

We are designing August 16/17 weekend to make it easy for you to go ‘All In’ for membership or baptism. At the end of my message at each worship gathering, I will be encouraging anyone in attendance who has not made a formal membership commitment to do so by designating it on their Connection Card and coming forward during the last song to give that card to one of our Response Team down front. (You won’t have to say anything publicly.) Our Facilities team will also have one of our baptism tanks (from our last ‘All In’ weekend) set up out on the patio outside the cafe, to baptize anyone right after that worship gathering who wants to go All In that day. I and several of our staff will be out there ready to go All In with you in between the worship services. We will have towels, t-shirts, and sweats in case someone needs them.

I am personally praying for you to go public with your faith by becoming a member and/or being immersed. God will honor and reward your commitment here on earth, as well as in heaven.

What kind of church are you joining?     

Someone sent me a humorous email with some signs that you may be a member of a Duck Dynasty church. You may be a member of a Duck Dynasty church if:

– People ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or
catfish, and what bait was used to catch ’em.
– When the pastor says, “I’d like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering” five guys and two
women stand up.
– Opening day of duck season is recognized as an official church holiday.
– People think “rapture” is what you get when you lift something too heavy.
– The baptismal pool is a #2 galvanized “Wheeling” washtub. (can you say All In!)
– The countdown to start the worship service begins with a duck call.
– “Thou shall not covet” applies to huntin’ dogs, too.
– The final words of the benediction are, “Y’all come back now, Ya hear.”

What kind of church are you joining here at Whitewater? A church on a mission to help people find hope in Jesus and a home in His church. A church that is about relationship, not religion. A perfect church for imperfect people. A church that is strategically planning, with God’s help, to double its influence in the next 3-5 years. A dragon slaying church. Will you join us?



I’m back!

July 30, 2014

Hi Whitewater!

Miss me? I certainly missed you! I have completed my annual summer study break and it could not have come at a better time for me personally and professionally. Donna and I were able to take some vacation, attend the North American Christian Convention, and I spent some quality time thinking about/planning for 2015. I am so appreciative of the great staff we have (the church didn’t miss a beat) and our elders who allow (and encourage) me to do this. I am blessed.

Micah Odor and James Hansee have guided us well through our Revelation journey and now we are ready for chapters 12-14. There is a ton in this dark chapter I am looking forward to teaching about this coming weekend. Because of the content and description about Satan, I recommend that any children take advantage of our excellent Harbortown KIDS  ministry. Oh –  Leave a few minutes early so that you can be there on time too. (Hint – I’m up earlier than normal!)

For sure you will want to leave earlier the weekend of August 9/10 if you drive to the church from Rt. 50 and Cleves direction. You may have seen the large orange signs notifying drivers that RT 128 will be closed for 7 days beginning August 9. If you normally come that way, you will need to make plans to reroute. Updates are available at ODOT – District 8 (look under News Releases)

Speaking of plans, some of our best and brightest leaders have been spending an enormous amount of time doing Strategic Planning to position Whitewater to double its influence in the next 3-5 years. I often say ‘There is nothing like the church when the church is working right!’ and watching these leaders lately, I would add, ‘There’s nothing like a Leadership Team when a Leadership Team is working right!’  Bob Stoll and Kevin Haukebo are leading this effort, so pray for them and all the others who are (and will be) involved in seeking God’s guidance for the next season of ministry at Whitewater.

Our church plan and mission to help people find hope in Jesus and a home in His church is sourgent! Because, as we have experienced lately in our church family with the passing of several key people (I got word this morning that yet another member of our church died unexpectantly), our time on earth can come to an end sooner than we think. Now is the time to share the good news.

In his autobiography Just As I Am, Billy Graham told of a golf outing with President Kennedy, a less-than-faithful Catholic. Kennedy asked Mr. Graham if he believed in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When Billy said he most certainly did, Kennedy asked, “Well, does my church believe it?” Mr. Graham said it was in the Catholic Church’s creeds, to which President Kennedy replied, “They don’t preach it. They don’t tell us much about it. I’d like to know what you think.”

After Billy explained what the Bible said about Christ’s return, Kennedy replied, “Very interesting. You’ve given me a lot to think about. We’ll have to talk more about that someday.” Here is Billy’s conclusion to the story:

The last time I was with Kennedy was at the 1963 National Prayer Breakfast. I had the flu. After we both gave our talks, we walked out of the hotel to his car together. At the curb, he turned to me. “Billy, could you ride back to the White House with me? I’d like to talk with you for a minute.”

“Mr. President, I’ve got a fever,” I protested. “I don’t want to give you this thing. Couldn’t we wait and talk some other time?” It was a cold, snowy day, and I was freezing as I stood there without my overcoat. “Of course,” he said graciously.

Then came November 22, 1963, and Billy Graham never saw President Kennedy alive again. Reflecting back, he writes, “His hesitation at the car door, and his request, haunt me still. What was on his mind? Should I have gone with him? It was an irrecoverable moment.”

Now is the time to share and now is the time to decide. For all of you reading this who have been thinking about  going ‘All In’ by becoming a member here (formally committing to be a part of our church family) or going ‘All In’ by being immersed (formally committing to Christ), mark the weekend of August 16/17. As part of the Revelation message that day, we will be offering a special opportunity to do both of these. In light of Jesus’ imminent return and the end of this decaying world, don’t delay or procrastinate life’s most important decision.

Glad to be back. I’m ready to talk about our arch enemy this weekend, but also the One who put him in his place!

David   ​

God wins!

Some years ago a hydroelectric dam was to be built across a valley in Maine. The people in the town were to be relocated and the town submerged with water. During the time between the initial decision and the completion of the dam, the town, which had once been so well-kept, fell into disrepair. Someone asked why? One resident explained, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no work in the present.”

That is one reason we are going where few churches/preachers dare to go, and doing a whole series on the book of Revelation! We need to be reminded of the hope and help we have in Jesus.  We need to know that the good guys are gonna win!

If you want to do some research on which end view of Revelation is yours, check out the link, read Revelation chapters 2 and 3, and join us again this weekend for God Wins – Questions about Revelation. If you missed the introductory message last weekend (it IS summer!), catch it here to understand the foundational principles of the book. The best thing you can do, though, is to simply read the book of Revelation. The Bible, like a bank, is most helpful when it’s open!

Michael W. Holmes said, “The proper preparation for the coming Day of the Lord is service rather than speculation.” I so agree. That is why our church wide iServe Community week is organized. Are you serving somewhere yet? I am participating in one this Saturday morning. There is still room for you! Let’s watch and work while we wait for Him to return. God wins (and so do we) when we serve.

Many have been serving each night this week (in spite of the nightly rain and storms!) to provide a vibrant Vacation Bible School experience for our kids. The environment and excitement are exceptional! Love to see the church working right in this area! Got an email from a staff member listing the numerous ways God is winning through VBS this week. Praise God for new kids and families visiting, people serving, and our wonderful generator working!

God provided some heavenly wins too last week with our students on their mission trip to Arizona.  Jarvis Terry was baptized while there (see pictures below!). We couldn’t be prouder of this team and those that played a part in him going All In! FYI – Your financial investment through regular giving makes baptisms like this happen regularly in our church family.

See you this weekend. Have you heard? God wins.



Our weekend teaching series from the book of Proverbs has been a blast! My prayer is that it has made you wiser and that it causes you to ask regularly – ‘What’s the WISE thing to do?’ Because I see that way too many people are doing just the opposite! The fool hath said in his heart, “I ought to post a selfie!”

Last weekend’s message was on a touchy and sensitive subject I know. (In fact, my Direct from David last Wednesday got spammed because of a word I used, so check your spam folder if you didn’t get my Direct last week!) But this area is essential to address in the church. Solomon did. If you missed the teaching, you can view it, and the whole worship gathering too, online!

A vital component of our mission here is outreach and serving, and June is filled with awesome opportunities to engage. Our first one is DadFestand I want to personally invite all dads and their families to join me at DadFest, our area’s biggest celebration of dads, this Saturday, June 14, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on our campus. We want to help dads be heroes to their kids. Enjoy an unforgettable day with the men in your life at this free event featuring great music, a car and motorcycle show, outdoor sports competitions, family games and inflatables, a disk dog show, and plenty of free food! Maybe you have men in your life who have never really pondered issues of faith. Maybe they are just beginning to explore Christianity. Invite them to join you at DadFest. They can find a home here. They really matter – to God and to us. As this is an outdoor event, it will be held rain or shine, so pray for good weather!

On the heels of DadFest will be FX (Family Experience), June 22, and our annual Vacation Bible School, June 23-26, followed by a church wide iserve Community, the week of June 28, where we will have a chance to be a hero for God by serving others in practical ways for Christ. Where do you plan to serveIf you are out of touch with these things, you are out of step with the mission of Whitewater.  Remember – In the church here, you are a passionate stakeholder, not a privileged stockholder!

Speaking of heroes in our church making a difference by serving, our CARS ministry repaired another car last week, and will present it to a single mom in our church who needs it. And Lee Buckmaster, our Prison Ministry leader, received a thank you note for a Bible we sent to an inmate in Indiana. He wrote, “I had a Bible, but the print was so small I couldn’t read it without my glasses (which I don’t have). I could only make out a word or two. The large print one you sent me is so great. I can actually read every word. The words seem to jump off the pages. I don’t want to put it down.”

Don’t you wish more people would have that enthusiasm about reading God’s Word? God will ALWAYS get His Word through…gates, fences, wires, doors, even someone not having glasses will not stop it. This incarcerated young man heard about our prison ministry from the son of a member of Whitewater who is also incarcerated. Yea God!

And let me close with one more God story which still blows my mind when I think about it. Last weekend at the 11:30 worship gathering, a girl named Penny was baptized. Lots of baptisms occur around Whitewater where people go All In, but Penny’s was unique as she shared that she was a Muslim. Operative word – was! Now she is a Christian. Amazing. What a heroic decision. Can’t wait to see what’s next for her and us.

See you this weekend for DadFest and Father’s Day as we wind down our Proverbs series.

Be wise. Be a hero.


The last words of a dying church

June 4, 2014

‘If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.’ Those are the words of General Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, who was currently in the news because of the VA scandal. His words ring true!  Especially for churches.

Leadership coach, Brian Dodd blogged it well – ‘There are few things as sad as watching a once great church grow old, become irrelevant, and slowly die. What is worse is that they either don’t know they’re dying or they simply don’t care as long as those remaining are happy. Sadly, I have witnessed this more times than I wish to count. 

Brian continues: Here is what I have noticed about many of these churches – at a pivotal point, a decision was made to continue doing ministry the way they always have, rather than alter their approach to reach a changing community or the next generation. After months of committee meetings and off-line conversations, the church finally utters the The 10 Last Words Of Dying Churches – “We’ve never done it that way before.  We’re not changing.” Those 10 powerful words subsequently have a ripple effect that lasts generations. As a result, the following are 10 additional comments those attending these churches are bound to say and/or hear shortly thereafter:

·  “Isn’t it great that our music is never too loud?”

·  “Isn’t it nice seeing people in coats and ties and not disrespecting God by wearing           jeans and shorts?”

·  “Can you believe that church is stealing all our young people?”

·  “I hear we’re having to cut the budget because giving is not what it used to be.”

·  “Isn’t it great having all this room on the pew to spread out.”

·  “Remember the good ‘ole days.

               ·   “Visitors, please stand.”

               ·   “We just formed a Committee on Committees.”

               ·    “Isn’t it great getting out of the parking lot quickly?”

               ·    “I’m really tired about having to hear about lost people all the time.”

Ouch.  Do any of these phrases hit close to home for you?  For us at Whitewater? 

We are very intentional about creating a relevant environment at all our weekend gatherings for you to invite a person you have been investing in. In fact, our whole church strategy is designed so that we will not become irrelevant to a lost and dying world desperately in need of a church at its best.

We are so serious about this, that our elders have wisely empowered us to embark on a process that will guide us in creating a well-defined strategic plan for the next 3 years. This plan, when completed, will bring clarity to our decision-making and remove barriers of church health and growth which will position us to move confidently into the future in order to better achieve our mission.   

Our elders have invited Bart Rendel and his Intentional Churches Consulting Group to assist us in this process. Bart and his team are experts in assisting churches our size in their strategic planning. Thank you for your prayers as we begin. We will keep you fully informed as we move through this exciting process, and will be asking for your assistance to make the initiatives become reality.

June is now fully here and I would ask you to be fully engaged in the multiple outreach and serving opportunities that keep Whitewater growing in its mission. Three specific events will be focused around three strategic target areas.

DadFest is here! It’s SaturdayJune 14 and it’s an event for all dads. Several key volunteers are still needed to serve.  Dadfest will be followed by FX (Family Experience) June 22 & VBS June 23-26. And then to finish with a heavenly bang, iserve Community, the week of June 28, will help all of us serve in practical ways like Christ.  Which ones do you plan to serve in?  ‘Pick 2’ to grow you this summer!

These are awesome days to be a part of the Whitewater Crossing family. The church here is working right because of the generous and sacrificial commitments you have made. We are indebted to those who worked hard to establish this ministry years ago and now we are poised for new opportunities to serve and reach the lost in exciting and fresh ways. No matter what methods change around here, I promise you that our mission of reaching people far from Jesus will NEVER change.

See you this weekend for the next Wisdom message. I will be back to focus on Wisdom with Sexuality. It will have PG-13 content, so parents – please note that this coming weekend’s message is not appropriate for children, so please take advantage of our excellent Harbortown Kids programming for infants through Grade 5.

Pray for me to be full of grace and full of truth as I speak.


P.S. We had such a big crowd at the 10 a.m. worship gathering last Sunday that we ran out of coffee in our pots!  So glad that’s not the reason you come to church at Whitewater!   We hope to improve.  Note too, that our hot chocolate/cappuccino service will be suspended for the summer. Not to worry though – we’re looking at ways to better serve you this fall.   

What do you have planned?

Memorial Day traditionally marks the day on the calendar when we start to plan and think about summer, vacations, and a different pace. As you think about summer, could I encourage you to remember the church through your giving and your serving?   

Even though you may be gone, our church obligations and opportunities of outreach, missions, benevolence, personnel, and utilities continue. So please mail your check/offering in, or better yet, go online at the church’s website and sign up to be an e-giver. As I said last weekend – This way, no matter where you travel – whether it’s Paris, France, or Paris, Kentucky, your home church will be resourced the whole time! 

Summer is also a fantastic time to reach out and serve. In the New Testament church, people utilized their God-given gifts to serve in love. In fact, serving was the consistent thread that ran through their new community. Never underestimate God’s ability to use small, seemingly insignificant assignments, to set the stage for significant impact.

God often does the miraculous in the midst of the mundane. Especially in our hearts! Serving helps us become more like Jesus. Every Christ-follower should serve in the church and take ownership of that church. See – members have rights, owners have responsibilities. So ownership and membership at Whitewater include serving, giving, and participating in biblical community.

June will have multiple opportunities for you to do this! The whole month will be full of outreach opportunities for you and your family to serve and further accomplish our vision and mission. Three specific events will be focused around three strategic target areas over a 14 day period. 

DadFest on June 14 is an outreach event/step to invest in dads and invite them to our campus. FX (Family Experience) June 22 & VBS June 23-26 are outreach events/steps to connect with children and families in hopes they will return for a weekend worship gathering. iserve Community, the week of June 28, is a servant outreach where we offer hope in Jesus through practical, intentional ways so we can be like Christ. 

Which ones do you plan to serve in? Perhaps ‘Pick 2’ to grow you this summer!

Your serving and giving are making a difference in all seasons. A member named Maria sent me an email with what she called ‘a shout out to a church working right…’ Her beloved father-in-law passed away last February and life has been beautiful, but somber. It is difficult for her to find the ways or words to comfort her mother. During her father-in-law’s illness, her mom found comfort and strength in the presence of God and attended with Maria every weekend at Whitewater.  

Maria wanted me/us to know that since his death in February, her mom has not missed one weekend service! She said that “The peace, the people, the prayers, and the genuine presence of God that embody this church give her more peace and answers and comfort than anything.” What makes this even more amazing is that her mom lives in Monticello, KY, and she drives 4 hours each way, each weekend! She wanted to say Yea God for our members and leaders, and the testimony of a church working right. Let’s be faithful in serving and giving “in season and out of season.”

See you this weekend for more happiness through the pursuit of wisdom. We will focus on Wisdom with Friends.  


P.S. If there’s any way you can do it, please head over to Skyline Chili in Cleves tonight from 5-8 pm. A portion of all the proceeds go to assist our Whitewater students go on their mission trips. I heard that bake sale items will also be there! Yummy!