Guest Post – I Am Barabbas

Today’s guest post, I Am Barabbas,written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I am Barabbas.

I do not use the name Barabbas. I have never used the name Barabbas. All of my identifying documents have no reference to this name. Any correspondence whether by old school snail mail, current standard messenger apps or business appropriate email ever suggested that I am Barabbas but I must insist, I am Barabbas. Before you contact anyone on my behalf, before you seek mental health assistance under the assumption that I am experiencing some type of mental health issue, let me remind you that you too are Barabbas.

It is a small part of the story.

Jesus had been accused of many things most of which wouldn’t even get Him arrested nowadays. The mob mentality had taken over and the people in the crowd had become easily influenced. Pilate was stuck. He had an innocent man hated by the religious leaders and a guilty man, guilty not of a petty crime but of murder. One of which would get to go free and one who would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The religious leaders whipped the crowd into a frenzy so that they demanded a free pass for a killer and a crucifixion for the one that had done no wrong. I am Barabbas and you are too.

The imagery couldn’t be more clear.

If you were to write a fictional account of selflessness, of dying so someone else could live and you really wanted the reader to identify with the one whose life was spared, this would be the story you would write. If you were to dream up a way to say, “hey reader, if you really want to experience the moral of the story imagine yourself as this character,” having a character like Barabbas would be the way to achieve your goal. Anyone who read the story would find themselves saying, “I am Barabbas and you are too.”

This isn’t fiction but still, the imagery couldn’t be more clear.

Often we read the biblical account of Jesus’ trial and death and see how unfair it was for the one who knew no sin to die for those who are sinful by nature. We understand that it should be us losing our lives because it is us that have committed the acts of disobedience against God. We read about Barabbas being released and it just adds to the drama around the injustice surrounding the ordered crucifixion of the son of God. It is unfair, wrong, unjust, corrupt and many other adjectives but the descriptive word we often miss is imagery. I am Barabbas and you are too.

We have been let off the hook.

We deserve to die not Jesus. That is where the biblical account ends but I wonder, did Barabbas keep his granted clemency in the forefront of his thoughts? Did he live as a man deserving death but allowed to live? Was he changed because someone else took his place? We will never know this side of eternity although, if it still matters once I am in heaven, I would love to know what happened to Barabbas. I guess the only question that you and I can answer is, do we live with our granted clemency in the forefront of our thoughts? Do we live as a people deserving death but allowed to live? Are we changed because someone else took our place? I am Barabbas and you are too.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14 (NIV)

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Guest Post – I Am Balaam’s Donkey

Today’s guest post, I Am Balaam’s Donkey, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I know it’s childish but I love reading about donkeys in the Bible. It can’t be just any Bible, it has to be the King James Bible. Unless you considered soap a food group, the only time you could say the word “ass” when I was growing up was when you read it in the Bible. To this day, it doesn’t matter which version I read, every time the word donkey comes up I laugh under my breath because I know that the real Bible translation says ass. When my kids got older I would often tell them to, “Stop acting like a King James donkey” if they were getting on my nerves. I am Balaam’s Donkey – did you just smirk, maybe even laugh? You can’t help thinking, “Dave is admitting that he is a King James Donkey.”

As a pastor used by God to present messages in a public forum, I need to be careful.

I would like to believe that I am humble. I am not sure if the fact that I like to believe I am humble actually makes me arrogant. I am not even sure where the boundary is placed between honest assessment of my giftings and puffed up arrogance. My natural response is to try to downplay my abilities when complimented after a sermon or leading worship. This often leads to an awkward silence as the person who was touched by my presentation is left wondering what to say next and I am left wondering if I came off even more arrogant by denying that I had done well. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

As a father/grandfather of the most amazing kids/grandkids, I need to be careful.

I have been known to brag about my kids and grandkids a little. It’s tough not to say, “That’s my boy out there.” I have 3 sons, 3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter so it is very tough not to say, “That’s my boy!” When any of them are not acting in a way that I approve I have been known to point out their mother when it comes to my sons and their parents when it comes to my grandchildren conveniently omitting their relationship to me. Of course if they excel I am the first to admit that I raised them or that I raised their father. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

As a loving, wonderful husband, I need to be careful.

I like to think of myself as a good husband. In fairness my wife makes it very easy for me to be a good husband. I have at times failed at being loving and kind but after 32 years of marriage I would have to say I, and my wife of course, are doing something right. We have stayed together through worse, poorer and sickness with very little better, not richer and only a short time of health. I must be good at this marriage thing. I must be saying the right things at the right time or we wouldn’t still be married. Then I remind myself that God can speak through a donkey – I am Balaam’s donkey.

It doesn’t matter what I do in life, I need to be careful

It is so easy to think highly of ourselves. There is an arrogance that Satan likes to inject into the followers of Christ causing us to look at others as being less holy or more sinful and ourselves as being somehow better, more blessed because we feel that God is using us. As you read this you may be thinking, “That’s not me, I would never do that.” Maybe you are right, maybe you have never though that others are less holy and more sinful than you but is it possible that you have thought that you are more blessed than others? Maybe you are more blessed than others. Maybe God has used you to accomplish great things. Maybe because you are not arrogant and don’t think that you are better than others He has rewarded you but just in case you start to think you are something special, remind yourself that God can speak through a donkey – that by God using you, you are no more special than Balaam’s donkey so don’t go making an ass out of yourself. (I hope my mom doesn’t read the last line; I don’t like the taste of soap)

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 (KJV)

For the story of Balaam’s Donkey Numbers 22 (NIV)

For the story of Balaam’s Ass Numbers 22 (KJV)

For more posts like this go to https://live4him.ca/blog-posts/ click on “I Am ______” under Categories on the right side of this page.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Guest Post – I Am Gideon

Today’s guest post, I Am Gideon, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I Am Gideon

Oh how I love this name! When you say it, it just rolls off the tongue without effort and yet it seems to be less poetic and more powerful. Okay enough of my silly musings about the name Gideon. As much as I like it I am not changing my name to Gideon nor am I asking that my grandchildren bear this awesome name that I have fallen in love with. If the name was Bob, a name so simple it can be spelt backward and still be the same (sorry to all the Bobs out there) I would say I am Bob just as I have said in past posts, I am Paul, Mary, Thomas, Samuel, Peter, Adam, Judas, The Rich Young Ruler and  Coca- Cola™ because a part of me is just like Bob, I mean Gideon.

I have been called to fulfill God’s plan.

The call was unmistakable and my response, well, let’s just say it was more like Gideon’s.

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me… Judges 6:17(NIV)

I heard God’s call, or at least what I thought was God’s call. It wasn’t as much that I was afraid to live out the call or to step out in faith. My fear stemmed from my understanding of me. I was afraid that I would jump at any chance to do ministry especially one that included music and theatre because I love doing music and theatre and now I could be doing it for God who I also love! Mix what I want to happen with a perceived call from God and I am all over it. To avoid godizing my dreams I asked for a sign. I am Gideon.

If this is what you want me to do…

I have questioned God and I continue to do it to this day. I have heard that it is wrong and I guess you could, in a perfect world, with perfect people, argue that once God has spoken there is no room for questioning. I am not in a perfect world and I am far from perfect. There have been times that God has spoken and I have acted without question. In these cases it was clear that my personal desires were not creating the appearance of God instructing me to pursue an action and my fears and the reality of the situation were not calling into question what I thought I heard. Outside of this situation, I am Gideon.

I think Gideon gets a bad rap.

It isn’t because I think I am like Gideon. I am not trying to defend him and therefore defend me. I believe that Gideon had it right even if he took a long time to come around. If you put yourself in his shoes maybe you would have trouble believing that you had a call from God and a visit from one of his angels.

Gideon, just as the rest of the Israelites, had a deep desire to be rescued from captivity.

Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. Judges 6:6 (NIV)

Gideon couldn’t fathom God using him in a mighty way.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:14-15 (NIV)

Gideon fought his own doubts and needed God’s assurance.

 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Judges 6:36-40 (NIV)

I am Gideon and before you judge me hear me out.

I am imperfect and weak, capable of acting or not acting based on my own desires and fears. I’d rather question God over and over again because I am not sure I have heard Him right than wrongly assume I have heard Him correctly because I don’t want to question Him over and over again.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Guest Post – I Am Jesus

Perhaps when you read the title of today’s I Am guest post by Dave Peever, which first appeared on Live 4 Him, you thought, oh my. Before hitting delete, I hope you’ll read the entire post as Dave builds a case for Christ-followers to live in such a way when people look at us, they see Jesus.

I Am Jesus

If there ever was a line that should not be crossed I think it is one I just crossed. Proclaiming that I am Jesus invites everything from mocking and laughter to concern and planned intervention. Before I am made fun of and publicly ridiculed, before I am hurried off to the closest psych ward and sedated, I must warn you, not only am I Jesus but you are too!

I may be Jesus but I am not the Messiah.

There is a difference between claiming to be someone and actually believing you are them. I do not have the positon that Jesus had nor do I maintain that I am perfect like He was and is. I did not die for anyone’s sins nor would my death bring redemption to the world. I may be given the opportunity to perform miracles but my power in no way measures up to His power. I am not the Messiah but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I am not God’s Only Son.

My adoption as a son of God gives me an inheritance that was not originally mine. I am a child of the Most High, a son of my heavenly father. He treats me as if I am His child and yet I am not. God has only one son, one true son who came into the world as a man and yet was fully God. I am not him, you are not him. I am not the Only Son of God but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I am not worthy of such a name.

I should not even mention His name in the same sentence as me. There is nothing about who I am that can measure up to who He was and is. He faced all types of temptations and yet was without sin. I get up in the morning and often I don’t make it an hour without sinning. I face opposition and I desire their demise. He faced opposition and He sought only the best for them. I face insult and seek to insult those who have offended me. He faced insult and he turned the other cheek. I am not worthy of such a name but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I have a long way to go to live this out.

My attempts to deny myself, to pick up my cross, to venture outside of my comfort zone all have been partial if not complete failures. My love for the people of this world is often hampered by my sinfulness and my dislike for their sinfulness. My need for worldly recognition and approval often interferes with my willingness to stand up for what is righteous and Godly. I fail and I fail and just when I think I have it all figured out I fail again. How can I be Jesus, how can you be Jesus, when we can’t come close to what He was and who He is? And yet I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be the only glimpse of Jesus people get.

In no way can I be Jesus. In no way can you be Jesus. And yet, in every way we must be transformed to be like Him so that we can be Jesus to a world without Him. Jesus being in nature God is powerful enough to reveal Himself without us but He did not do this. Instead, we are called to be like Jesus so much that we are to bear of his image. The only way we can do this is if we become like Him in our actions and attitude. In a world that does not know Jesus I am Jesus in action and attitude so that others will be introduced to the real Messiah… and so are you.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Guest Post – I Am Ananias and Sapphira

Today’s guest post, I Am Ananias and Sapphira, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I Am Ananias and Sapphira

For those of you who have not been following my “I Am ______” series; I know I am Dave Peever. I have not had some sort of disconnect from reality, I know that I am not three people, Ananias, Sapphira and Dave Peever. While my awareness of reality and mental stability is hopefully reassuring let me give you a real scare; I am Ananias and Sapphira!

Every day I am Ananias and Sapphira.

Every day I am given the opportunity to present myself as the real me. Every day I am tempted to embellish the reality of who I really am. Every day I am given the opportunity to sacrifice for what I believe in. Every day I am tempted to make myself look more sacrificial than I am willing to be. Every day I am given the opportunity to do what is right. Every day I am tempted to do what furthers my agenda whether is right or not.

Every day as a pastor I am Ananias and Sapphira.

There is a pressure that is the constant enemy of pastors. While some of it is real, most of it is a deception that Satan uses to distort how we view our position.

Every day I struggle with the belief that others expect their pastor to be closer to perfection than they are. Every day I am tempted to cover up my failings. Every day I struggle with the belief that others expect me to know more about the Bible than they do. Every day I am tempted to make myself look smarter than I am. Every day I struggle with the belief that I don’t matter because my job as pastor is not a job that receives praise from secular society. Every day I am tempted to try to make myself look like I have a job that fits into the world’s view of success.

As a pastor he is Ananias and Sapphira.

His pulpit has become a place to brag about his morality. Sometimes he throws in statements like, “I am just like you” or “I struggle with things” but his continuous attempts to make himself look great expose the fact that whether he is speaking truth or not he is seeking to make himself look good.

His time at the front of the church often includes a reference to his mentors. Even if he doesn’t use names it is still obvious that he is referring to those who are considered greats in the Christian world. Careful thought would cause anyone listening to realize that his mentorship could have been a face to face meeting but more likely was a simulcast or live training session or maybe a study of one of this person’s books. He uses carefully chosen words of self-promotion to create the illusion of importance.

He calls a day of prayer for the leaders of the community. Once they are at the Sunday service he tells stories of times they have interacted as if they were great friends. The church service turns into a time of “look at me I know the town leaders, I’ve met them in person and hang out with them. Once he tells everyone about who he knows and how he knows them he squeezes in a short prayer, after all, it is a church service.

He introduces the guest speaker by suggesting that he was hard at work on his sermon when he got a call from this person telling him that they were in town and begging him for the opportunity to speak at the service. When the guest speaker stands up they tell a different story. They tell the congregation that they called to see how the pastor was doing and that the pastor begged them to speak. His version of the truth had him working hard on his sermon like a pastor who is living out their calling should, the speaker’s version would suggest that wasn’t true.

Ananias and Sapphire died because of what they did. This pastor has seen his church decline considerably and his reputation destroyed because he has yet to repent or see a need to repent for this behaviour. This is not a physical death but it is a death of sorts.

We all are Ananias and Sapphira.

We all are tempted to make ourselves look good even if it involves carefully chosen not quite true words of self-promotion. We have all wanted to elevate ourselves in the eyes of others by embellishing what we have done or who we know.

The problem is compounded for Ananias and Sapphira and us when lies are created to make ourselves look more godly, more holy, more sacrificial. Lies are sinful but this type of lie goes further. This type of lie uses God, the community of believers and a platform created to point toward the great things God is doing to promote one’s self. You may be able to fool the people but God, who you say you are serving, will not be used as a tool for personal gain or advancement of status.

I am Ananias and Sapphira.

I must struggle to avoid doing what they did even though I can’t avoid what caused them to do it. Every day I am tempted as a follower of Christ and a pastor to promote myself. Every time I enter the pulpit I want to look good. I want every person I meet to think I am smart. To lie to people about who I am and what I do as a follower of Christ so that they think better of me is the path toward death. It is the beginning of spiritual death and possibly a physical one too.

Click here for the story of Ananias and Sapphira

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.