Book Release Tomorrow

I am excited to announce that my first book is being released on Amazon tomorrow, December 11th. It will be available in both Kindle and paperback editions. The title is, Pursuing the Third Option: Following Jesus in a Polarized World.  If you are interested in reading more about it, you can check out my author website here.  If you are interested in purchasing the book on Amazon, click here.

My hope is that this book will inspire readers to follow Jesus authentically in a world where so many topics end up dividing us. The way we talk about issues so often keeps us from dialogue because it lacks nuance. We too often allow incendiary rhetoric to replace thoughtful conversation. And often, only two extreme opposite views are heralded as options.

Jesus had a way of thinking beyond these extremes. He often created third options and we would do well to follow His lead.

Here is what Drew Dyck, author of one of my favorite books about God (Yawning at Tigers) wrote about the book:

“The first emotion I experienced when I read Pursuing the Third Option was relief. Like many, I’ve grown weary of the polarized, us or them, winner-takes-all mentality rising in the church and broader culture. How refreshing to hear a leader standing up and calling for a better way. The second thing I felt was hope. As Vincenti challenged me to push past the false binaries and live and lead with faith and courage, I was inspired. Vincenti is a deft storyteller and teacher. In the book Vincenti asks, “What if God is calling us to a life that is more dynamic and nuanced?” In response, he’s written a book that is both. Highly recommended!”

— Drew Dyck is an author and editor at Moody Publishers and CTPastors.com. His latest book is Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science.​

I am humbled and honored by Dyck’s words and I am so grateful to the Lord for the things He has put on my heart that I have been privileged to put onto paper in this book. It is a dream come true to publish a book – especially one that has a message I believe in. I hope that it inspires every reader in their own journey with Jesus in this polarized world.

God bless,

DJD

Declutter

The following is a Christmas poem written for a sermon at College Park on Dec. 5th, 2017.  May we be willing to declutter our hearts in order to prepare Him room!
The clutter that muddles
the reason for the season.
Muddies the clear water of life
With impervious treason.
Distractions of wreaths and trees
and red-dressed pudgy elves
and gift-wrapped materialism keeps us
Focused on ourselves.
And we drift far from
What this truly means.
Losing focus on the One
Who lovingly redeems.
Who laid aside stunning
Robes of heavenly majesty
Taking on fleshly
Limits of earthly humanity
Pitching his tent among us
Like a misplaced refugee
Yet, becoming one of us
Entering our mess willingly.
All for love,
Becoming intimately acquainted
With the sorrow of life on earth
Yet, without becoming tainted
By the stain of sin
Which taints us all within
Because of the mistakes we’ve made
and the curse we’re all born with.
But the virgin-born Savior
Did not have that nature
Passed on to him.
For the curse of original sin
Was passed on through the seed of Adam.
And so, perfection
Took on flesh
Bringing the opportunity
For a soul refresh,
Jesus endured death on that cross
That we might be forever blessed.
Simply by putting our trust in the savior.
The one who came as a baby
and was placed in a mucky (dirty) manger.
No room in the inn
For a young woman in labor
No hospital or bed, just a stable and manger.
Jesus came into the world he created
But no one prepared for him a place.
He came to bring salvation
But nobody even created space.
Nobody, that is except a frightened pregnant young lady
Accompanied by her inexperienced fiance
Nobody, except a few outcast shepherds.
Nobody, except a few foreign astrologers.
Well, they were open.
And they eyewitnessed a miracle.
They pursued
and they entered as history unfolded.
Joy grew their hearts in ways unmeasurable.
Light began to spread as their story was told.
and, so this little bundle of joy
Began to transform lives right from the very start.
This little Savior King, immediately began to change people’s hearts.
But not all were open, so many missed it
Some went into rage, while some just dismissed it
But for all who received Him
Christ did a miraculous work.
For all who embrace Jesus
He brings a spiritual rebirth.
For that baby grew for the next 33 years
Shedding tears, receiving cheers, and overcoming fears
Bringing beauty to our brokenness
Healing & acceptance to the lost
Heaven’s doors flinging wide open
By Christ’s death upon the cross.
and then His burial – he descended
Stripping Satan of his keys
Then raised to life on the third day
Sealing ultimate victory.
Then ascending to the throne
Above all things with all authority
One day He’ll return to call His own
On the final day of jubilee!
That is what Christmas day means.
It’s so much more than we can even imagine!
So much richer,
So much more significant.
So much better,
and we’re invited to be participants!
The promise is far greater than we can even comprehend.
Will we embrace the Lord Jesus Christ
As our Savior, King, and Friend?
Right now, we must choose
what we will do.
Will we open up our hearts
Or will we refuse?

Flood Prayer

Prayer from this morning’s worship services at College Park Church as we prayed for the people of Houston and all around the world affected by flooding.
Perhaps it may aid your prayers as well.
Lord, we so often think too highly of ourselves,
as if our own ingenuity gives us security.
Lord have mercy.
Forgive us for our pride, Lord.
This morning we are reminded of how much we need You.
We are reminded that so much is beyond our ability to control
Even with our technological advances and our ingenious inventions and untamable human spirit, we are still no match for nature when she unleashes her wrath.
Our technology could not prevent catastrophic loss when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
Our ingenuity couldn’t stave off the disaster as the flood waters rose above the concrete jungle we had created.
Lord have mercy.
Lord, please be with the people of Houston this morning
and we pray that You would make it so that the flood waters recede quickly.
As that happens, may we recognize Your hand at work.
It’s not just Houston that is hurting this morning, Lord.
Flood waters have raged throughout much of the world in recent days.
We think of the mudslides in Sierra Leone caused by rain.
Resulting in the deaths of hundreds of precious people.
We think of the monsoon rains that have caused flooding in China,
where missionaries from this church are living & ministering.
Throughout Asia, flood waters are ravaging whole communities and bringing wide-spread terror:
In Bangladesh, India, & Nepal killing hundreds and leaving many villages and their people without help or relief as roads are impassable and rescuers are unable to reach remote areas.
In our world right now, literally millions of people are affected by flooding.
Lord, we are so small.
We are no match for nature when she unleashes her wrath.
And that is why we come to You this morning, Lord.
We come to You because even though we are so small,
You are great, and You are strong, and You are present.
We come asking for those in the throes of horrifying situations that You intervene.
In Your mercy, in Your love, please intervene.
We ask that You make roads passable that seem impassible.
We ask that You get supplies to those in desperate situations.
We ask that You make a way for first responders to be able to save lives.
And we ask that You make a way for families to start again.
Lord, You are the Provider.
You calm storms and if You didn’t, we’d all be done-for!
But You are the wave-walker, the storm-stopper, You are Jehovah-Jireh, the provider.
And we ask, now that You would unleash Your deliverance – even as another tropical storm is forming off the Gulf Coast.
We ask now, that You would bring Your provision all across Asia and into Africa, and North America.
Lord, we believe that You are present, and You are good, and You are strong.
So we ask you to
Move within us,
and move us out of our comfort zones to bring Your hope to the hurt all around us.
Help us to be your hands and feet.
Right now, we lift up our brothers and sisters from this church who are heading down to Kentucky to share your love in practical ways with people in need around Laurel Mission.
We ask You to be their Provider, Lord.
For we are so small.
And there are so many things beyond our control.
So we ask You, our Provider,
Please Provide Your blessing in travel.
Provide strength for ministry,
Provide favorable weather for ministry, and
Provide opportunities for our team to be Your witnesses there.
And help them to take that opportunity for Your glory.
Lord, this morning we come confessing our pride, our smallness, our weakness and our need.
And we come professing and believing Your strength, Your care, Your goodness, and Your provision.
We thank you for being our Provider, who carries us in our time of need.
And who fills us with blessing and power to provide for the needs of others.
May we have hearts tethered to Yours as you propel us into the world with the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In whose name we pray,
Amen.

Prayer of Hope

Written for College Park Church Worship Services

Sunday Morning, August 20th, 2017

Lord,

We hear all kinds of biased rhetoric

The lobbing of demonizing verbal grenades at people with different opinions

But what we desire is Your truth

What we desire is Your love

What we desire is Your peace

 

We know racism is wrong and sinful.

We know that racism is antithetical to the Gospel because the Gospel values all people.

The Gospel is available to people from all nations, tribes, and tongues (otherwise we wouldn’t be here this morning).

The Gospel unites us as brothers and sisters who are saved by the blood of the Lamb – Jesus Christ!

 

We know that violence is wrong and sinful.

Violence is a violation of the beauty of God’s creation

Because in the beginning, You created male and female in Your image

And therefore, disrespecting and oppressing and undervaluing one who bears Your image amounts to treason against our Creator King.

 

Lord, we see these things in our culture and we are grieved!

And we say, Lord have mercy on us!

Forgive us for the way we undervalue people You love.

Forgive us for giving more weight to self-justifying rhetoric and verbal demonization and biased media reports than we give to Your Word which roots us in ultimate reality.

Lord, have mercy on us!

 

Lord we see the ill-effects of sin in our world and it is terrifying.

Vehicles turned into murder-weapons.

Humans turned into targets

&

Military engagement used as political capital.

It is so easy to become fearful.

What will happen next, Lord?

Where will the next attack come from?

And where will it hit?

 

Lord, we see these things in our culture, and we are grieved!

And we say, Lord have mercy on us!

Forgive us for being fearful instead of faith-filled.

Forgive us for being paralyzed by fatalism.

Forgive us for believing the lie that we’re too small to do anything.

Lord have mercy on us!

 

Lord, we see the effects of sin on the natural world.

Our hearts are heavy for those affected this week by floods and mud-slides in Sierra Leone, Africa.

We ask for Your presence and healing for all affected and ask for an end to the natural disasters.

Lord, have mercy.

 

God, there are so many things that bind us up in fear.

But in You, we have hope.

In Your Gospel, we have hope.

In Your presence, we have hope.

In Your power, we have hope.

By Your Spirit, we can bring hope!

Hope to refugees living in squalid conditions.

Hope through prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe.

Hope in a world racked by the pain of racism and hatred and violence.

Hope because there is a God of love who loved the world so much that He took on flesh and became one of us.

Hope because this God died in our place as a sacrifice for our sins to give us forgiveness and freedom.

Hope because this same Jesus, who was murdered on a cross, was raised back to life 3 days later conquering death!

Hope because His death and resurrection guarantees our coming resurrection to eternal life!

Hope that there is a better world coming!

It is a hope that we must do everything we can to share!

 

Lord, we thank you for the hope that we have because of Jesus Christ – the hope of the world!

Fill our hearts with hope so that we can shine Your light in this world that so often feels so dark!

We praise You for our hope in You!

Amen.

Prayer of Dedication

The following is a prayer, written for the opening Sunday morning worship services at the newly renovated sanctuary at College Park Church
Our Great God and Father,
we give you praise and thanks for your many blessings.
We thank you for your hand of blessing upon this project.
This sacred space has been a sanctuary for generations
who have come to seek your face,
to give you praise
to worship Your name
to spread your fame
and it has been our pleasure to be able to renovate this place.
To give it a facelift and updates.
And we know that every resource that has poured in to make
this renovation a reality has come from your hand.
And so we thank you for your provision.
We thank you for the excellence with which this project has been completed.
We thank you for all who have sacrificed big and small…
who have spent long hours planning, working, tending to meticulous details,
giving their hard-earned dollars…
Who have lent an artistic eye, an extra set of hands, a valuable word of wisdom,
Who have pitched in to make life in the transition more smooth.
Lord, all these things and so much more.
Thank you for placing it in the hearts of your people
to pull together to accomplish a task that is designed
to bring you honor and praise and glory and fame!
We thank you for this wonderful place where we can come together and worship You, our great God and King!
But God…
We’re not here for a building.
We’re not here for bricks and mortar.
We’re not here for drywall and paint.
We’re not here for structures and veneer.
We’re not here for lights and sound systems.
We’re not here for platforms and performance.
We’re here for YOU!
See, all these things serve as an arrow that points to You.
All these things are a spotlight that shines upon You.
You are center stage.
You are the main attraction.
You are the star of the show.
Like the Tabernacle, in all it’s beauty.
It was filled with articles for worship.
It was crafted by magnificent artisans.
The colors, the altar, the contents…
It was ready… but it was empty,
until You filled it!
Until You came and lit things up!
So, we ask You to fill this place with Your glory!
But not only that, we ask You to fill our hearts with Your presence!
We’re here for YOU!
The most beautiful cathedral,
The most amazing sanctuary…
It is nothing without You.
It is You that we yearn for.
It is You that we crave!
We’re here for You!
Lord,
We know that right now, there are people in the Carribbean, having church under banana leaves.
We know that right now, in Africa, some of your children are meeting under a cluster of trees.
In Central America, some of Your people are praising You under a tin roof in sweltering heat.
Some places in Asia, people are meeting behind closed doors to worship You so that the authorities won’t find them and arrest them.
We know that all around the world, Your people are worshiping You in a variety of situations and circumstances.
Every time we gather in this place, we join our hearts with theirs.
We join their song.
We are united by Your Holy Spirit!
Their God is the same as our God!
Their Savior is the same Savior we have!
Their Jesus is our Jesus!
And we feel so blessed to be a part of Your Kingdom Family in the world today!
So may this place be a place where You are glorified!
Where Your Kingdom is revealed!
Where Your truth is proclaimed!
Where Your presence is felt!
Where lives are transformed by Your Grace!
Where Your people pour out our hearts
And worship You with genuine affection
for who You are and with deep gratitude
for all You have done for us!
May this sanctuary be a center of worship for us in this generation,
and, Lord, if You tarry,
May it be a house of praise and prayer for generations yet to come!
You have been so faithful to us!
This sanctuary reminds us of this awesome reality!
May we be found faithful to You as a reasonable response
to You,
for who You are, and for all that You’ve done!
In the name of the Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus the Son,
Amen!

39 Years Old

I was eating a birthday lunch with a friend yesterday and as we talked I was struck by an important reality.  Here I quote myself as best as I can recall.

“I’m 39 years old today.  Jesus stole my heart somewhere around age 5.  That means, that I’ve been walking with the Lord for somewhere around 34 years now.  In that 34 years, I’ve never once regretted following what God tells us in His Word.  NOT ONCE!  100% of the time it has proven reliable for me.  You can’t get any better than that!  On the other hand, there have been numerous times in my life where I have chosen not to follow God’s Word and have ended up in a world of hurt and regret.”

I am amazed by this reality as I have experienced it.  I have had many conversations about the Bible and I know there are many different opinions about it.  My personal experience indicates that it has been penned by Someone who knows what life is really all about and how life is best lived.  As I have followed God’s Word, I have experienced a genuine vibrance and deep meaning in life.  This only makes sense if the Bible has been written by Someone who created life and understands what leads to human flourishing.  The Bible is a wonderful gift from God.  I truly believe and have personally experienced the blessing that comes by embracing the life-transforming wisdom of the Word of God.  The words of the Psalmist ring true for me:

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.

Psalm 19:7-11

Bygone Days

Reflecting upon emotional woes as true spiritual love grows.

Oh back to the bygone days,

The wondrous phase You so deeply haunted.

How I long for the once-dense haze,

Where radiant displays were all I wanted.

But feelings fade where I once waded,

Deep in neophyte waters.

The heart became jaded as the stream evaporated,

Burned in the summer sun.

What shall be done?

What shall become of the real,

When my emotions refuse to feel?

I long to go back, but I forget what that day lacked.

I forget how much You had to pick up the slack.

The spirit was willing but the flesh was so weak.

Emotions were bold but the actions were meek.

The passions were strong but conviction was weak.

As life has worn on motivation seems to have leaked.

But that’s just like love.

Love requires pushing through,

When all I can do is all I can do.

And discipline and loyalty are what sees me through.

Digging deep sometimes means taking another step,

Crossing left over right when it doesn’t feel nice.

Digging deep sometimes means taking another breath,

When I just want to close my eyes and walk toward the light.

But wisdom is reserved for those who don’t give up the fight,

Who keep striking the box waiting for the match to ignite.

There are the ones who flicker amidst the darkest night,

And put silly notions about emotions to flight.

There is something deeper, richer, truer, bolder

Could faith be proven while the heart gets colder?

Strangely warmed is where the comfort lies,

But gaining You is every truth fully realized.

So I choose You, come what may.

I choose You, whether desire stays or strays.

I choose You over the haze that amazed.

I choose Your today over the bygone days.

Your name be praised!

Amen.