Dave is Austin Ridge's Executive Pastor. Originally from New Jersey, Dave and Karen are thrilled to be living in sunny Austin and serving the Lord at the Ridge. In his role as Executive Pastor, Dave works alongside Brad to develop and implement the Ridge's purpose, vision, and strategy in all of the ministries of the Ridge. Dave committed his life to Jesus as a freshman in college and has served previously as a Student Ministries Pastor and Executive Pastor. Dave and Karen have two daughters, Amber and Kristy. Amber lives in Houston and is a special education teacher. Kristy and son-in-law, Michael, live in Northern Kentucky. Dave enjoys playing basketball, running, and golf.
Posts by This Author
One of the problems with judging other people is that we can assume we know people’s motives. We don’t know the heart of a person when he or she does certain things or says certain words, but we think we do. We are often guilty of judging a book by its cover, but we don’t really know what is on the inside. All of us have been guilty of making quick judgments, only to find out the rest of the story and learn we really didn’t know what was in the heart of that person. God is the only one who truly knows what is in a person’s heart.
- What thoughts or feelings do you have when you consider that God knows everything about a person’s heart?
I have probably watched Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol one hundred times in my life. I have about ten different versions of the story, including The Muppet Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol, or “Scrooge,” as some call it, is probably my favorite movie of all time. I know that is sort of weird. Maybe you think I would choose Braveheart, or The Godfather, or Star Wars, or even Unforgiven. All are great movies, but I really love A Christmas Carol because of the ending. When Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning a changed man, it hits me every time. I, too, need to be reminded that I am a changed man. I’m a new person because of Jesus’ life in me.
Perhaps one of the most challenging issues for most parents is demonstrating and implementing a healthy balance of love and discipline with their children. If one of those is out of balance, it can be discouraging and harmful to a child. If one or both is missing, it can be devastating to a child. It takes a lot of wisdom to know how to effectively walk that line. It is also difficult for some because they did not have a good experience with their own parents. As God’s sons and daughters, we have a perfect heavenly father who loves us with an everlasting love and also disciplines us with perfect grace.
- Did your parents model a good balance of love and discipline?
I am the executor of my father’s will. As the executor, it is my responsibility to ensure that my father’s wishes are carried out according to what is written in the will, and also to make sure that any inheritance gets to the appropriate people. An inheritance is something promised to someone that will be realized at a future date. An inheritance is almost always the result of a strong relationship with the person who has crafted the will. Scripture is clear that those of us who follow Jesus have a future inheritance waiting for us based on God’s relationship with us and his grace.
- How does the fact that your heavenly Father has a future inheritance planned for you make you think and feel about God?
“You can’t get to Dallas from Austin traveling south on I-35.” This is a phrase I often use when counseling people to help them figure out how God wants them to live. It’s a simple phrase, but it’s filled with wisdom. Going north on I-35 is doing things God’s way. Going south on I-35 is my way. You can drive I-35 South hundreds of times, but it will never, ever get you to Dallas. Still, I’ve heard people say many times, “I know God wants me to do this, but I’m going to do the opposite.” They’re convinced it will work out this time. It never does. God’s way is always right. God’s way is wise, while our way is foolish.
- Would you describe yourself as heading south or north on I-35 in terms of doing things God’s way?
Consequences! We’ve all experienced some type of consequence for our words or actions. How many little kids did not listen to their parent’s warnings about touching a hot stove, or sticking something in a wall socket, and regretted not listening? Other times, we were warned by friends or loved ones about a decision we were about to make that would have life-altering consequences, and we did not listen. It’s always tough to suffer the consequences for our actions, but it is even tougher when we were warned in advance.
- Can you think of a time when you did not listen to a warning and suffered the consequences of your actions? What were the consequences of ignoring that warning?
I remember being 16 and sitting in a Baptist church for a revival, which was radically new to me as a Catholic growing up in New Jersey. The reason I still remember this revival 41 years later is because it was the first time I had ever heard anything about the Book of Revelation, the rapture, 10-headed beasts, Armageddon, etc. To say it blew my mind would be an understatement. The preacher said almost all of the signs pointing to the rapture and the return of Jesus Christ were being fulfilled right before our eyes. If you would have asked anyone in that audience if there was any way possible we would see the year 2018 without the return of Jesus, they would have all said, “No way!” And yet here we are.
- What comes to your mind when you think of the return of Christ?
I believe when we call ourselves "Christ followers," it carries a weighty significance. There are people or movements that we admire, but when we say we are followers of a person or a movement, there is a greater expectation than simply being an admirer. People would rightly assume that we closely reflect the teachings and lifestyle of those we claim to follow. It is, and should be, this way for all of us who say we are Christ followers. Jesus didn’t merely call people to admire him or follow him if convenient; he called us to a radical realignment of our passions and actions.
- What is one way you show people you are a Christ follower?
I have a lot of favorite scenes in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is visited by three ghosts who teach him profound truths about Christmas and about himself. One of my favorite scenes is when he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge is roused from his sleep by laughter and a great light coming from the adjoining room. He timidly opens the door and looks inside to see the origin of the laughter and light. The Ghost of Christmas Present exhorts, “Come in and know me better.” I love that invitation. I believe that was the spirit with which the Magi traveled to see Jesus. They were following the star so that they might better know the one who was born.
Who do you follow? Stop and analyze this question for a moment. Do you think of leaders, philosophers, politicians, athletes, teachers, bosses, social media personalities, or even Christian mentors? God’s Word records many times that Jesus asked people to follow him. Some of the people he asked chose not to follow him. Sometimes, they just walked away. Other times, they made excuses about why they could not follow him. Also recorded are the people who immediately left whatever they were doing to follow Jesus. I am always impressed when I read the accounts of individuals who realized right away that Jesus was worth following.
- If someone asked who you follow, would your immediate answer be Jesus?