One of my favorite quotes comes from the lips of our nation’s twenty-sixth President, Theodore Roosevelt, who wisely stated, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Wise words indeed! Those words can be applied to any endeavor we undertake. No matter what one undertakes to do there are always critics who are ready to criticize and point out where it could have been done better or will tell you how much better they could have done it, you knowing and they knowing, too, that they would have never embarked upon such an endeavor to begin with. I have always said, tongue-in-cheek, an expert is someone who has never done it before!

While Roosevelt’s words are true in any endeavor one embarks upon, it is especially true for those who are faithful laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. One who is attempting to plow a straight row with the Gospel plow is always visible in their labors and is always open to scrutiny. It is easy to spot the stumbling of a man or to point out where he could have done better. While “attempting” means the possibility of stumbling and coming up short, but it is better to have swerved  a bit in the row than the alternative which is far worse….to never have been faithful in plowing. Laboring in the Lord’s vineyard may produce blisters along the way, but the Master’s heavenly ointment soothes and heals hands of faithful service.

It is easy to measure success only by what one sees, not realizing success often takes place in the realm of the unseen. Too often success is defined as visible results that that can be measured by the physical eye and takes us beyond what has previously been accomplished. If results can’t be measured by sight, there are those who are quick to label the effort as unsuccessful. Such criteria must not be the measuring stick for judging spiritual success. When Paul wrote First Corinthians he defined success as a person who was “found faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). Paul’s criteria for “success” was faithfulness, which cannot always be measured by visible results or the grandiose being accomplished.

Oswald Chambers echoed Paul’s wisdom when he wrote, “God has not called us to success but to faithfulness.” The Bible requires us to be loyal to the Master regardless if we don’t measure up to the world’s definition of successful. Faithfulness is a characteristic that is lacking in many arenas today. While success can be short lived, faithfulness is a quality that is enduring and in the long run has the greatest impact.

Faithfulness is not always exciting and often deals with the mundane. Faithfulness doesn’t always find itself in the spotlight, but is often found in the background getting done the things that need to get done. Faithfulness doesn’t always receive accolades from the crowd, but it carries with it its own reward. Sometimes faithfulness doesn’t get press, but it gets the Lord’s attention. Let us never dismiss the importance and value of faithfulness. Faithfulness doesn’t always receive applause, but it looks forward to those words from our Lord, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” What we label as success can be momentary and vanishing, but faithfulness possesses an enduring quality priceless in the eyes of the Lord. While every servant of the Lord should set goals and strive to fruitfully reach them, let us never sacrifice faithfulness on the altar of perceived success as defined by culture.

Sometimes we may grow weary in our faithfulness, but let us keep on keeping on being faithful in our service and relationship with Him. Sure there are always rocks in the field and stumps to avoid when one plows for the Lord, but that is no reason to slacken the pace; keep faithfully plowing. Faithfulness keeps the plow sharp. Let the critic continue to criticize, let the finger-pointers keep pointing, let the whispers keep whispering, but may those who are diligent in duty and service continue to be faithful.

Let it be said of each servant of the Lord as was said of David’s loyal followers who were faithful to guard the supplies, David commending them for faithfully “staying by the stuff” (I Sam 25:13). Let us always strive to be faithful to “stay by the stuff,” and in so doing our “place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Being faithful…therein is found success.

Dr. Dan


A person of biblical faith can be an enigma to someone who has no faith or to someone who possesses a shallow faith that changes directions like a weathervane in a wind storm. In recent days people of faith who hold unwavering convictions contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage have been labeled as being intolerant, bigoted, unloving, and fanatical. Those are just some of the nice names!! Such names are hurObeyled at people of biblical faith because of a lack of understanding what causes a person of faith to hold unwavering convictions.

Let me see if I can explain.

For forty-five years my soul and conscience have been captive to the Christ of the Cross and to His Word. He shined His Light into my darkened and sinful heart and revealed unto me His holy-love that was manifested in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. I daily give thanks that my life is firmly anchored upon the Rock of Jesus Christ and His eternal Word, instead of the shifting sands of man’s fickleness and changing morality. Truth is not found in the dry wells of man’s finite wisdom, but is found in an ongoing relationship with He who is the Water of Life and daily drawing from the Well of His Word.

People who believe truth is relative and ever changing don’t understand people of faith and the unwavering convictions people of faith hold. They don’t understand that there is a Higher Power that guides and undergirds our lives and to whom we not only vow our loyalty but owe our allegiance. They don’t understand that all humanity must give an account of their lives someday to a holy Supreme Being not to the Supreme Court. And when the Word of God opposes abnormal behavior then I must not be swept away by the often misguided and deluded reasoning of man that affirms such behavior as being normal, but I must remain true and obedient to His Word.

The world seeks moral direction from a broken compass that has no fixed North. For people of faith our true magnetic North is the Christ of the Cross. My allegiance first and foremost is to Jesus Christ who paid my sin debt (and all humanity) on the cross, and if someone doesn’t understand that then I cannot and will not apologize for choosing my Savior over the unjust moral laws of man that are contrary to my convictions which have been shaped by the Living Word and the Written Word. The world may mock and scoff, so be it. Our allegiance is to the Christ of the Cross not to man or to moral laws that clearly contradict His Word. We are told our allegiance “offends” an ever changing culture. However, our first priority is not whether or not we offend a changing culture, but to be obedient to  our Lord and Savior. While one of faith may stumble in their obedience, they ever pray for an obedient heart for the Savior they embrace and love.

I realize many do not understand such unwavering loyalty. I realize many do not understand our faith and convictions that are anchored in an eternal relationship with One who is beyond ourselves. I realize many do not understand that the holy-love of God, which opposes sin, but has provided atoning grace in the Christ of the cross, who came not to affirm us in our sin, but to forgive and deliver us from our sins. Christ not only told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee,” but He added, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Grace that does not change us is not grace at all but license to sin. Love that doesn’t point people to a path of deliverance from their sin is not real love, but only sentimentality that continues to ensnare people in their sin.

My unwavering biblical position may seem too strong for some. If you want to hurl at me names that label me as narrow-minded and intolerant I will not be offended. I understand why you don’t understand.


Dr. Dan


On Saturday, May 3, the Elkin High School track team, which I am privileged to help coach, traveled to the Midwest 1A Regional Championships. One has to qualify to participate in a regional meet, then the top four finishers in each event at the regionals qualifies for the 1A State Championships the following week. Those top four places in each event are coveted spots athletes from twenty schools fiercely compete to capture. Elkin was expected to capture several top four positions. We did extremely well, with twelve boys and girls qualifying to make the trip to the state championship meet.rulebook

Though Elkin was most successful, there were two races in which Buckin’ Elk runners were disqualified forfeiting the right to advance to the state meet and the medals that would have been theirs. In the 4×800 relay the Elkin girls, who were ranked second in the state, were called for initiating interference with another runner in the homestretch and were unfortunately disqualified. In the boys 3200 meter run the Elkin runner ran a superb race to capture fourth, raising his hands in triumph as he crossed the finishline; a yearlong goal reached. His elation was quickly turned to shock, disbelief and tears after learning he had been disqualified for taking steps off the track after being jostled by another runner. Those two incidents were disappointments on an otherwise most successful day. According to the judges who made those calls, both disqualifications were the result of violations that were clearly spelled out in the rule book.

All that is involved in running, the training, the competing, and following the rules, is but a microcosm of life and the Christian life. In the aftermath of those two disqualifications, two Bible verses come to my mind. One comes from 2 Timothy 2:5 where Paul tells his readers, in comparing the Christian life to that of a runner, that if anyone competes as an athlete they are not crowned unless they compete according to the rules. The other verse is found in I Corinthians 9:27 where Paul writes, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified).”

What did Paul mean when he said he closely adhered to the “rule book”  so as not to be a “castaway?” First, the passage is not talking about fear of losing his salvation, for in the context of the passage Paul is not talking about salvation, but he is talking about Christian service. Second, the word “castaway” is from a Greek word the means “disapproval after having failed to meet the requirements.” James Stratten says of the word “castaway” that it referred to “one who had been pronounced by the judges to be disqualified for the Greek games, or one who, having been permitted to enter into the contest, fails to meet the requirements…The theological idea of reprobation does not belong to this word, it is simply intrinsic worthlessness [and uselessness] brought to light by the scrutiny of God’s eye, [and] the searching efficacy of His Word…”

Paul was speaking of His service to the Lord. Paul was careful not live in direct and intentional violation of the requirements of the Lord for his life lest he be disapproved or disqualified from being used in service by Him. Paul knew he had to abide by the rules if he was to be used effectively by the Lord, and if he didn’t he would be disqualified from being used by Him.

In the same regard, when we live in direct and intentional violation of the Word of God, He will not use us. We can’t expect to be used by the Lord if we have unclean hands, an impure pure and feet that are walking in forbidden paths of deliberate disobedience (Ps. 24:4). If we are intentionally ignoring the “rule book” of the Word of God as it relates to our lives in regard to our relationship with Him, our fellowman and ourselves, we should not wonder that His hand in service and blessing is not upon us. Obviously I am not talking about living perfectly, for that is not possible, but I am talking about intentional consistency and commitment. Paul tells the loose living Corinthians in regard to being used of the Lord, “Moreover it is required in a servant that a man be found faithful” (I Cor. 4:2).

Are we being faithful in our service? Are we abiding by the rules? Are we disciplined? Are we consistent in our living? Are we keeping our hands off the unclean things that will certainly bring about our demise in effective service to the Lord? Are we listening to the voice of our Heavenly Coach and keeping ourselves abreast of the truths in His Guide Book for our daily living and our spiritual health? If can’t we answer “yes” to these questions then why should we be surprised that we have been disqualified from effective service for the Lord and disapproved from all the rewards and blessings that go with faithfully and consistently abiding in Him.

While the Elkin runners were temporarily disappointed for being disqualified, disappoint from disqualification from an earthly race can’t be compared to the spiritual anguish, regret and disappointment of being set aside in our service to the Lord. Let us remain faithful and heed the advice of John, “Abide in Him that when He shall appear we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (I John 2:28).


Dr. Dan