Old Things Passed Away, New Things Are On The Way.


I John 2:1: My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Last weekend, my family was in Pittsburgh to celebrate the life of my brother-in-law Mike who passed away in early October. During the memorial service, a co-worker talked about his treatment of fellow colleagues and employees. He discussed his work ethic and provided a few funny stories. He mentioned his high regard and respect for Mike.

Mike’s son and his daughter gave a eulogy. They described a father who cared for his family deeply. They discussed some inside family jokes, his quirks and his humorous nature, but above all, they talked about his love for his family and him being a role model as they now parent their children.

Each person spoke in glowing terms only.

During those speeches, it reminded me of Jesus, our advocate with the Father. He stands before God Almighty and describes us in glowing terms. Knowing He does that is important to me.

You see, it is the time of the year when I look backward and forward. I review the past year and take stock of my accomplishments, my actions and my deeds. I look forward to the new year and consider what I want to accomplish.

I would be less than honest if I were to say I wasn’t ashamed of behaviors not becoming of my Christianity and deeds I shouldn’t have committed. But I thank God I have an Advocate with the Father who pleads my case.

He takes off my garment of sin and wraps me in a robe of righteousness. He removes my sentence of condemnation and places me into the redeemed group. He removes the shame and lifts my head. He dries my tears of sorrow and gives me a spirit of joy. He assuages my anxiousness and comforts me. He eliminates my lack because He is the great provider. He takes me from the path of the lost and guides me onto the right way. He removes the shaky ground and puts me on the solid rock. He overcomes my weakness because He is my fortress.

As I look back over this past year, I see Christ was with me every step of the way and I can go boldly into the new year because I am putting my trust in Him.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

T’was The Night Before Christmas


Luke 2:10-11 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Twas the night before Christmas
And not much was done
The kids were working, the turkey brining
My soul heavy like a ton

It had been a long year
With Mountains and Valleys, Ups and Downs
The elections were over and the deed complete
Facebook had return to its normal speech

Ma and I were busy in the kitchen preparing for the next day.
The dog was lounging on the sofa snoring away
With the kids full grown and almost on their own,
The magic of yesteryear had all but disappeared

But what to my wondering mind came the one of a kind
The knowledge of the miraculous birth of our Lord and King
The one and only, God’s son, born unto us that starry night
With angels singing without shepherds’ fright
Out of my depths came an urge to shout and sing
Hosanna in the highest, Emmanuel God with us, it’s a wonderful thing

His arrival split time into the before and the after
He lived a sinless life and became our Savior
Which is why we continue to celebrate His birthday
In such a wondrous way

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night

Happy Birthday, Jesus Christ

My Lord
My Savior
My Healer
My Redeemer
My Blessing
My Holiness
My Righteousness
My Rock
My Foundation
My Comforter
My Provider
My Shield
My Fortress
My Advocator
My Guide
My All-in-All
My Everything


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

God’s Gives Plans To Master Craftsman


Exodus 26: 15- 20: “And for the tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood, standing upright. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the width of each board. Two tenons shall be in each board for binding one to another. Thus you shall make for all the boards of the tabernacle. And you shall make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side. You shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons. And for the second side of the tabernacle, the north side, there shall be twenty boards.

It would take me all day to read the details God gave Moses concerning the building of the tabernacle. I learned two things while reading about the tabernacle construction plans: 1) God provides a very detailed vision of what is to be built so the tabernacle is worthy of His Presence and 2) it takes a master craftsman to understand those detailed plans to actually build it.

Today is Building Fund Sunday. Today we unveil the plans for the new addition to our sanctuary. Although I learned to draw plans at a very young age and have constructed many things over my lifetime, I am far from a Master Craftsman.

If you think about it, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house during a time of great construction. He knew how to build. He knew what detailed plans should look like and how the vision is formed. He understood the management required to build the pyramids and sphynx we can still visit today. He had the capacity to understand God’s detailed instructions.

We have followed a biblical example in developing the plans for the new addition. God gave a vision to Pastor Craig for expanding our building. Pastor Craig passed that vision onto a building committee comprised of experts in building. They used their expertise to provide the details we need to build that vision. They have translated that vision to detailed architectural plans, cost estimates and time tables. The committee will reveal all that information today at the end of the service.

In Exodus 36:3 And they (the master craftsman) received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary.

The people were so excited to give, we read in Exodus 36:5 and they (the master craftsman) spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

I believe the building committee will have to say the same.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

He Has Given Me The Ability and The Opportunity


Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Here at River of Life Church, we focus on missions. We understand the value of supporting missionaries around the world who spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We support missionaries overseas, as well as, domestically here in the United States.

Recently at an elders’ board meeting, the pastor suggested we reach out to the local schools to support those in need in our local community. Being Christmastime, I knew this was a good time to start such an effort.

We live in an area of affluence. The median house price and salary range is way above the national average. Although we have some pockets of low income and impoverished people, one traveling in this area would find them few and far between. Yet I knew, behind the walls of some of the finest homes in the area, people struggled financially and providing a blessed Christmas was out of the question. Partnering with local schools, the identity of those people can be protected. Schools know the financial situation of many because of the free and discount lunch programs offered to those struggling financially.

How do I know?

Not too long ago, my family, living in a very nice home in a bucolic neighborhood, struggled financially. I had been unemployed for about five years at the time. From the outside, you would not know. The yard was well-kept, the gardens weed-free and the curb-appeal was wonderful. I had plenty of time to do the work, unfortunately.

Inside, we struggled to put food on the table, keeps the lights on and the children clothed. I would work any odd job I could to raise some funds, but mainly we lived off the savings stored during better times and liquidated retirement funds enduring the double-whammy of taxes and penalties for early withdrawals. Several times, we refinanced the house to use the equity to pay the mortgage. A one point, we thought about selling the house and renting an apartment only to realize we didn’t have enough for a security deposit and a credit rating so bad, no one would rent to us.

I applied to many jobs with a 100% rejection rate. I even applied to companies such as McDonalds, Burger King, Lowes and Home Depot to work any kind of job to bring in some money only to be turned down. My education and experience precluded me from such jobs because they knew it was only a temporary job.

Finally, I was able to obtain a “job” conducting training. I was paid for the days I trained. The pay was minimal, and the employer was very crafty in deducting fees from the little they did pay. I traveled 100% the time, supporting the employer’s business using my personal credit card. Hotel and meals were reimbursed but after some delay. Despite the low pay and full-time travel, I was able to pay enough bills to keep from going bankrupt quickly.

My children were registered for the free lunch program at the local elementary school. At least they got a decent meal Monday through Friday. Dinners were pretty thin on content, but at least they got food. There wasn’t any room in the budget for extraneous expenses or purchases.

Christmastime was coming and as I sat in my hotel rooms night after night, I wondered what Christmas was going to be like that year. The years prior, Christmas was low on festivities and presents, but the children understood because I wasn’t working. This year was different since I was working and their expectations were higher. Not that my children wanted that much in the way of presents, but I could see they were more excited. How could I tell them this year was worse than the previous years because the savings and retirement funds were gone and the money I was making only paid for half of the monthly bills? I remember the night in that hotel room when I was literally being crushed by the thought of another year, when it is supposed to be joyous, being so disappointing for my children. I have never felt a worse feeling than being a father and husband who couldn’t support his family.

I hold a master’s degree in computer science. I developed software that millions of people used. I wrote hundreds of articles that helped shape the telecommunications industry. I was considered excellent at everything I did professionally. And yet, no one would hire me. The only job I could get didn’t even support my family. I shouted at the top of my lungs, “God, make this year different. Let it be a Christmas where my family experiences the Love of Christ, not just in words or a few songs, but in action. I don’t want to go to church, sing all those songs and put a smile on my face as if everything is just fine. God, we need a miracle.”

We received a call from my children’s school asking if there was anything we needed in the way of Christmas presents or food or clothing. My wife took the call while I was traveling. She said yes to all. When she told me about it, I could only gasp. She told me of gifts we had received, ones we could never have afforded. She described the wonderful food provided for a Christmas meal. And then she told me of the jackets we received. There was even one for me. It was a true blessing. I thought of the Christmas Carol story and how Uncle Scrooge finally learned the true meaning of life – doing for others.

I wore that jacket for years. It was my favorite jacket because of the story behind it. The day finally came to donate it to another needy person. As I placed that jacket in the box, I prayed over it.

I said, “Lord, I thank you for this jacket. I thank you for the way it came to me in my time of need and you heard my prayer (venting). I thank you it kept me warm all these years. I ask You bless the person who donated the money for this jacket that he or she receives a ten-fold return. I pray for the person who receives this jacket. May it keep him as warm as it kept me. I ask he receives it and Your Warm Love just as I did when I received it. May he come to know You are his personal Savior. And Lord, I pray You give me the ability and the opportunity to donate jackets, food and presents to those in need. Amen.” I sealed up the box and gave that jacket away.

In Acts 1:8, it talks about ministering to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the world. Since that day I gave the jacket away, the Lord has provided the ability and the opportunities to minister to Judea, Samaria and all around the world through the missions and missionaries I support. With the outreach to the local schools, I can now serve Jerusalem, my local community. The local school only needed 20 children supported for this Christmas. The pastor preprinted 20 envelopes. I ran to the front of the line. I wasn’t going miss my opportunity to give to that child in my community. May he or she be blessed. I pray he or she and the entire family know the love of Jesus this Christmas. I want them to know people, their neighbors, care about what they are going through and want to help. No condemnation. No judgement. No animosity. I want the father and husband to realize there are others who understand that feeling of failure, frustration, and self-doubt. I want him to realize he is loved by a fellow man and by Jesus Christ. I want that family to simply understand the love of Christ working through us to them.

Merry Christmas. Christ is more than the reason for the season. Christ is Christmas. God’s greatest gift to all mankind – His Son, Jesus Christ.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

A House Divided – Depends on Our Relationship with God

Here at River of Life, our tag line is “Connecting with God and with each other.” I’d like to focus on that a bit today. Our relationship with other people is solely dependent on our relationship with God. In Mark 3:25, Jesus warns:

And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

In case you are not aware, our country is divided in almost every facet, every perspective. I am not getting political because the problem is not political, racial, gender-based or ideological. It is spiritual. We Christians are to be the bridge-builders to everyone. We have the greatest gift through Jesus Christ, yet we have let satan dominate in every area of division.

Our society has lost the concept of grace and mercy toward others. Instead, we demand our rights. We become offended. We anger easily. Rather than humbling ourselves under God, we boldly stand in pride and demand others bow their knees to us. As a people of this nation, we are so steeped in pride, we don’t know Who Grace or Mercy is. For many, grace and mercy are concepts. But Grace and Mercy is Jesus Christ shining through us.

II Chronicles 7:14 states, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Let me ask you a few questions. Where do we learn about Grace and Mercy? Where do we learn we are the bridge-builders? Where do we learn about the Love so great, He washes away our sins and leaves us clean, pure, grateful and gracious to others?

We learn it here at River of Life Church. When is the best time to learn? All the time. When are we most impressionable? When we are young and still forming our opinions of life.

Today is the third Sunday of the month. It is Building Fund Sunday. Help us build that expansion so we can serve more children, teach them the Love of Jesus Christ, help them understand how to bridge the gap to others and to equip them for the life ahead.

Let us humble ourselves, get out of our pride and indignities and build pathways to those we disagree and make this a better nation.

It is our relationship with God that will determine our relationship with our fellow neighbors.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

Christianity: Religion or Relationship or Both

In a recent Facebook post, my friend Tim McClain discussed the following meme:


He posted it. Here is my response:

If you look at the religions of the world, they are a set of rules and regulations. Christianity is not rules and regulations. It is grace and mercy. Therefore, I can’t see it as a religion. Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Other religions are about “God”, so to equate Christianity as a religion about God brings it down to the level of other religions. It is so much more. It is God’s embodied life in the form of man, dying for man and rising again from the dead to prove Jesus is the bridge between God the Father and broken man.

If you don’t like the term relationship, then use something else. Name me one other God or god who has a relationship with his/its followers. Name me one other god who came to his/her/its creation and sacrificed himself/herself/itself for man. Name me one other god who rose from the dead. Jesus even said it is about relationship. It is not about rules and regulations. Jesus fulfilled the Law and broke the rules and regulations placed upon the back of humans. It’s not about Do’s and Don’ts. It is about the love God/Jesus Christ has for you and your love for Him. That is relationship.

I don’t have a “religion” with my wife or fellow humans. I have a relationship. I don’t have rules and regulations for my marriage. I have the love that guides and dictates my behavior. That love provides the grace and mercy that makes the marriage and other relationships work.

We see the divisiveness in our society today because people have lost the concept of grace and mercy, forgiveness and going the extra mile, and not harboring wrongs against them. Rather, we immediately become offended and hold onto the grudge rather than following the example of Christ, or even on the Cross, stated, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Christianity is about relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with fellow man. Don’t be Stupid.

Tim provided a solid response showing the opposite view:

When we go to church, as a body we worship God. We sing praises to Him, we pray to Him, we listen to His Word preached to us, we give back to Him monies from the abundance He has provided to us to further His work and to care for the poor, we partake of the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. These are all religious acts, therefore we are practicing religion. The visible church and our religious practice there is how God grows us in the grace He has provided so that we can have a personal relationship with Him throughout the week. The concern of the meme is that many people who want no part of the visible church will say that since they have a personal relationship with God, they don’t need church or religion. But there are no lone ranger Christians–God has designed us to work together in the church as a religious body. The fact that much religion is false and wrongly focused on ritual and attempt to please God by works is not a legitimate reason for being anti-religious, any more than we should be anti-marriage because some of them wind up in divorce.

I believe both points as valid. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

Eulogy to a Father

My brother-in-law of 46 years passed away last Saturday after a fight with Parkinson’s disease (I never want a disease named after me – not a legacy I’d want). Although he wasn’t famous, his impact on his family, friends, work colleagues and community was great. Not loud or boisterous, flashy or outlandish (ok, he had his moments), his consistent and steady manner steered his life. Here is his son’s, Mark, heartfelt eulogy. It is every father’s wish to hear these words from his sons and daughters.

My Dad lost his battle with Parkinson’s on Saturday. To all those who have reached out, thank you so much for your thoughts and kind words. He will be missed by all. He was the best.


I guess our time together has come to an end. I always thought that it would end much differently. I always thought that we would have more time that you would be a really cool grandfather and take your grand kids to hockey practice and Penguin games, just like Papa did for me. I guess God has other plans.

I am very thankful for today, I am thankful that you are free of your body. I am thankful that you no longer have to suffer in a body that fails you. I am thankful that for the first time in 15 years that you will be able to move however you want free from the shackles of your disease. I realize now how much of you the disease took and how much we all miss you, the old Mikey, the one before Parkinson’s. Man I miss your smile, the way it would light up a room, your corny jokes and your love and vigor for life.

You once told me that you had a hard time knowing that God loved you. I hope that you are feeling his love today and how amazing it is. I hope that he wraps you in his arms and you feel a peace like you never thought possible. And Dad I never doubted the god loved us, I can’t help but look back on our time on this earth together and see his many blessings and love everywhere. Just look at all of the perfect days we had together, we weren’t that good, or that lucky, but we were that blessed.

  • Sunrise at Yosemite
  • 5 Goals 5 different ways
  • 41ST NHL All Star Game
  • The day we caught our Salmon off the dock in Owen Sound
  • Foul Balls at Fenway
  • Winning the Quebec Championship

The memories of these days and others have been so thick these past couple of days since you have passed that I feel as if I am there all over again, that I can reach out and touch you, that time is standing still so that we may have just one or two minutes together.

On the eve of Nora’s birth, Mom asked me if I was scared. No, I responded, I was the furthest thing from scared. Excited was more like it. The reason I wasn’t scared was you Dad, you gave me all the tools and confidence in the world to be a father. You were a great role model and teacher. As Nora begins to grow up and I continue to ask myself what I want to do as a career, I realize the only thing I ever wanted to be was Dad, because you made it look so cool. There was a smile and a confidence in you that only came out when you were with Em and I, we know even though you never spoke it, that your greatest joy and happiness came from being with us and with Mom. Nothing in this world was better than that for you. I know that it always hurt you a little bit to be away from us on business, but you always made us feel that we were the most important things in your life. Those feelings rubbed off on me, I wanted to feel that joy and that happiness, and until Nora was born I couldn’t even fathom what that felt like, but now I understand, now I understand how full they make your heart, how much greater your love can be for someone, how much they change your life. It breaks my heart every day that my kids will never know the father who raised me, that you will never meet your grandson, but I promise you, they will now all about you, who you were, what your values were and what you stood for. How can they not, those are all so much a part of who I am that it will be impossible for me not to pass those down to them. I will probably tell them so many times, that they will roll their eyes and be sick of hearing it. Thanks for giving me all the tools to be a great father and a good husband Dad, this may be the greatest thing you ever did for me.

You have taught me so much and you continue to teach me even in death, you reminded us of our own mortality, that all of our time on earth is precious and we never know when we will be called back to God. You reminded me to treasure every moment, because you don’t know how many moments we have left. I found a copy of a letter you wrote me almost 20 years ago, yesterday in your desk, it is a message that will withstand time.
“You have been blessed with many gifts and I know that God must have something very special in mind for you. Keep close to god and true to yourself. Balance that bravery with humility where necessary. And most of all, enjoy each day….” Thanks Pal, I needed that, and you were one of those gifts I was blessed with. If I can be half the man you were, I will consider it a smashing success.

Well buddy, I guess we know go our separate ways, with nothing but the memories of each other to keep us company until we see each other again. My hope for you today is that somewhere in heaven there is a road just like Little Sewickley Creek, and that it is a cool fall day with a slight drizzle, just like you like it, perfect running weather. As you make the right off of Beaver, and you start up that hill, I hope your legs start to feel better than they ever have before, that you throw off 15 years of disease and discomfort and you have the run of your life. Enjoy that run Mikey, you deserve it. Soon enough you may look over and there I will be on my BMX bike, peddling my butt off just so I can hang out with my Dad on a Saturday morning and we will see each other again.



What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind

-Jimmy Ruffin


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

A Cup of Water: Chi Alpha

Mark 9:41 – For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

As many of you know, I am an adjunct professor at Penn State Abington. Last Monday evening, as I was setting up for the class, one of my students approached the lectern. She said she needed to keep her phone on during class and immediately burst into tears. She said she had just learned her best friend had tried to commit suicide. Her friend’s mother had called and said she found her in her bedroom, wrist slit trying to die. The girl was in the hospital as the student and I spoke.

It has been almost 60 years since God was booted from the schools. It’s been those same 60 years where we have extracted God from our society. Over that time, God and his teaching have been attacked and shunned from most public places. We Christians are looked down upon as intellectually inferior breeds of misfits. Someone recently declared the Bible as the most ridiculous and irrelevant works of fiction of all times.

Let me ask you. Over those 60 years, what hope is being offered to those in need? What are the anti-God people giving in place of Jesus Christ? They say was are supposed to simply love one another, but how can you love someone if God doesn’t exist because God is love?

Chi Alpha is a ministry to college campus helping students experience the hope given by Jesus Christ and love of God. Last month we highlighted the work Rachel Almeida and her work through Cru. This month, let’s watch a video from Dr. Phil McLeod who is working through Chi Alpha in the Philadelphia universities and colleges.

Chi Alpha Video


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

Acknowledge God and He’ll Acknowledge You


Yesterday, my wife Cindy and I went to the Museum of the Bible with some of the other folks here at River of Life Church. I was most impressed by the ancient scrolls some dating back to 1200 AD and some artifacts dating back to years before Christ. The antiquity of these relics and God’s preservation of them, especially His Word, is truly astounding.

On the ride back, we watched the movie “God’s Not Dead” Part 1.

One of the lines that struck me comes from Matthew 10:32

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”

One of the ways we do that is through our giving of tithes and offerings. We see an example of this as Abraham returned from battle. Abraham was not a warrior. He was a shepherd. He knew he did not win the battle, but the Lord used him to overtake the enemy and bring the spoils home. During his return, he meets Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. Here is what the Bible says.

Hebrews 7: 1-3 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.

God uses us to do His Will in the earth. It is not our talents that win the battles or shares the good news. Although He gives us our talents and skills, it is God working in us and through us that brings about His Will. He gives us the ability to earn money and works through us to produce for our employers. We need to acknowledge that through our giving. As we give our tithes and offerings, think about your skills, talents and abilities. They are God-given gifts. Acknowledge them as such and His working through you.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.

God is Greater Than Our Limitations


Mark 16:3 And they (Mary Magdelene, Mary mother of James, and Salome) said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?

As these three women approached the tomb, not knowing Jesus Christ was already risen, they wondered how they would be able to get into the tomb to anoint Him for burial. The tomb was sealed with a huge bolder. Too big for them to move.

In Jessie Comrie’s sermon last night, he made the point it is not about our abilities, but God’s ability. He said, “You provide the do, God will provide the ability.” You provide the do, God will provide the ability.

Today is the third Sunday of the month. It is Building Fund Sunday. We have already mentioned the upgrades we need to make to our building to continue supporting the vision God has for us. Notice the order of things. God provides the vision. We need to act on the vision. The vision comes to pass. Noah didn’t start building the ark when he saw the waters rising. God told himto build the ark and Noah built the ark, then the waters came. Moses didn’t wait for the people to be ready to leave Egypt. God told Moses the vision, Moses went to Pharaoh, then the people left.

God has given a vision here. Already we are seeing the growth in the children’s area. We a busting at the seams. We have a vision of an expanding the building. We see the overflow of people. Our online viewership is up. People are coming. We need to expand.

We have a boulder in front of us. That boulder is the cost of the expansion. Who will move that boulder? We act. God provides the ability. Who will move that boulder for us? God provides the ability. We will move that boulder.


Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.