Wednesday, December 28, 2011


My best friend in the ministry died today.

Rob Dalsing was the Pastor of Birdwell Lane Baptist Church in Big Springs, TX. Before that he had planted New Beginnings Baptist in Rockaway, NJ. I got to know him when he took on a church rescue in Pasadena, MD in 1999 or 2000.

Rob was exactly 367 days older than me. He was born October 20, 1965. My birthday was October 22, 1966. We used to call each other on the 21st.

We hadn’t talked much in the last year or so. Both of our faults. We never took the time. I wish we had. But that’s the way guys are, and we were. Never thought there wouldn’t be enough time later on. Now time, for our friendship, is up.

I don’t even have a picture of the two of us together.

This is the only one I could find on my computer

Rob Dalsing

This is Rob in Times Square back a few years ago. We took a month long vacation (the whole family was burned out) and Rob and Robyn put us up at their house for about a week. We saw his church plant, had some cookouts, visited New york City (a 45 minute drive from his house at the time), just hung out. It was the last time we spent real time together. I’ll cherish that visit even more now.

Keep Robyn and their children in your prayers. 46 is too young for a husband, father, and in the last week, a grandfather to pass.

Rob was the closet I've ever had to a true accountability partner. He had the absolute right to call me to the mat for anything he saw wrong in my life. And on a few occasions, he told me point blank I was wrong. And he was right.

I loved Rob dearly. I regret not keeping in closer contact. I know he could care less about that now. He’s better off than all of us.

I can’t wait till I get to see him again.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Half-Way to 90

Today is my 45th birthday. Spent the day travelling through Lancaster county with the family, fruitlessly looking for a pair of cowboy boots both: 1. in my size and 2. that would fit around my calves, which are genetically huge.

Unfortunately, I’ve also been battling a cold for the last few days. So it hasn’t all been enjoyable today.

But all in all a good day. Bought a great “Trick or Treat”  edition of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” comic based on the Cartoon Network Series.

All-New Batman The Brave and the Bold Vol 1 12.jpg

Great “all ages” comic. Wish there were more like it.

Watched “X-Men Origins: First Class” with my boys as we ate Chinese take out (Pan fried noodles, bad for everything but my mental health!)


Now, at 8:40pm, I’m posting this. next, I’ll shape up tomorrows sermon a bit, and watch Something Wicked This Way Comes (See last weeks post on that). Tomorrow I begin a week-long reading of the book, since the story takes place during this week.

So just a little post declaring that I am certainly feeling my age these days. The waist is thicker, the hair thinner (and silver), the energy levels lower and the patience shorter than it was some 20 years ago when I first met Patty.

but hey, I get to share my birthday with some cool people. Like….

Christopher Lloyd

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Great American Painter N.C. Wyeth


And best of all…

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Few honors as great as sharing my birthday with the incredible Jerome Lester "Jerry" Horwitz better known as Curly Howard!

Happy birthday to all us knuckleheads!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spooky Stories…

Its October. Best month of the year. Temperature is cool enough for a jacket, not so cold that your feet freeze on the floor in the morning. Leaves changing, corn fields being cut down, and my birthday is this month.

And of course at the end of the month, its Halloween. Now I know many, many Christians who are adamantly opposed to even recognizing the existence of this particular event – its demonic, of the devil, teaches spirit worship to our kids, etc.

I’ll say this much. I DON’T agree with portrayals of the Devil, spirits and the such at Halloween. It does tend to de-emphasize the serious power that we fight daily. One of the best weapons you have against any enemy is a healthy respect for their power- it makes you more aware, and better prepared to do battle.

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But I have to admit, I do like a good spooky story. Now since I am a (nominally) mature adult, I can discern between good and evil, and can appreciate why we all like to be scared from time to time. Scary Stories exist so we can face fears, and come out on the other side alive and well. That’s why I like the OLD scary stories where the monster always ends up with a stake in the heart, a silver bullet in the chest, or another unexpected, but lethal ending. I am NOT a fan of modern horror which seems to revel in the trick ending, which inevitably leaves us with the bad guy still alive or otherwise winning the fight.

And by the way, young ladies, vampires are not romantic. Don’t fall for the romantic modern version of vampirism. Besides, when you rip the head off a vampire there should be BLOOD, not a diamond- like substance! Vampires look hungry, not constipated.

If you know me you know I am a big fan of stories. My running joke about movies is that I will not watch a movie without one of four elements present: Guns, Horses, Spaceships or Monsters. I am NOT a fan of much modern Christian storytelling, because in order to maintain a “Christian” atmosphere, most books and movies diminish the power of sin over lives by skipping the details of a sinful act. NOT that I am in favor of Gore or explicit content, but you cannot define an enemy without showing some of the evil he/she/it engages in. A good storyteller can show the sin without being sinful in the storytelling.

And so we come back to Spooky Stories. Every year at this time I break out “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury (It used to be a well-worn, dog eared edition, now its an e-book) It’s a fall tradition. A great Morality Play that takes you to a simpler, scarier time. You can smell the cigars from Mr. Tetley’s shop, hear the leaves rustle down the street, feel the cold wind slap you across the face. It’s that well written, and it just seems to usher in the Autumn for me. I read it every fall for about 7 years as a young boy, and just picked up the tradition again about 10 years ago.


The Movie was good. The book way better.

Yes, I love a good spooky story.

Over at Jim Shooter’s blog he posted a few days ago about ghost stories and asked readers to chime in with their own paranormal experiences. As I say in the first lines of my response, I don’t believe in ghosts, monsters, poltergeists, etc. But I do believe in the existence and influence of demon’s on the affairs of men. And as a minister, I have encountered events and people I am convinced were influenced or even controlled by demons. Here, in its entirety, is my story submitted to Shooter’s Blog:

Ghost story? Can’t help you there. As you can tell by my title, I have a certain theology that defines my life. But though I don’t believe in ghosts, I certainly do believe in a spiritual world populated by good and evil forces.

I have had several experiences with what I define as Demonic activity.

Before I entered the ministry I was employed as a Deputy Sheriff. For the first five years as a deputy, I worked at the County jail, much of that time on the midnight shift. One night I was on what is called a “constant watch” – basically sitting outside of an isolation cell and keeping my eyes on an inmate the medical staff deemed was in danger of causing self-harm or attempting suicide. The prisoner I was watching was notorious for getting us to watch him just so he could manipulate the system. Never tried to harm himself, just liked tying up a sorely needed staff member for 8 hours at a time.

About 3 hours into my shift a new prisoner was brought in and placed in the isolation cell next to the one I was sitting in front of. He had been discovered in his house holding his wife, who he had doused in gasoline, to the ground with a knife to her neck in one hand and a bic lighter in the other. He was telling her they would both burn in hell together. Thankfully the wife was rescued and he put in jail. He was placed in the cell naked and I was told to move to between the two cells (they were only separated by a block thick wall) and keep an eye on both. We were extremely short-staffed and this was a common way to accomplish several goals at once.

The new, naked guy is pacing around the cell, smacking his head with his hands, mumbling mostly incoherent babble. I situated myself so I could see him, but the best he could see of me was my left shoulder and my head when I leaned over.

About an hour into this he starts talking intelligently. Crying, begging for forgiveness, asking to see his wife. Then suddenly his eyes would bulge, and a voice somewhat akin to Sauron in Lord Of The Rings would come from his throat, cursing, shouting, and talking back to the man as if he were another person or personality. He would reply in his own voice, and then rebut in the Sauron voice, speaking to me, telling me that he would drag me to hell, fillet my children, etc.

Then the weirdness started. A voice came from this man, a third voice. The sweetest, prettiest womans voice. Like the voice of the bubbliest high school cheerleader you ever met. And the voice said “David, David I know you…” I had not spoken to this man, nor had he hear anyone speak to me all night. He did not know my name.

The Demon/Sauron voice quickly returned. I prayed for him the whole night, prayed for myself too. This wasn’t the spookiest encounter I’ve had with a Demonic force, but it was close.

I wish I could tell you the spookiest story of all, but I would hurt some people close to me, even if I changed names. It would be figured out.

Just know that I have come face to face with person(s) demon possessed and had the demonic force speak, and retreat as I prayed in the Name of Jesus and by the power of His Blood. Quite unusual for a conservative, independent Baptist!

Experiences like this are spooky, yes, but at the same time they are incredible learning experiences that have actually strengthened my faith. Soon I’ll tell a few stories of my Dad facing what others would fear. His example has been a great encouragement and strength to me as well.


It may seem to some that I am a braggart when I declare that I don’t allow myself to fear external forces, but what do I have to fear? Greater is He Who is in me that he who is in the world.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guatemala Recap… Finally!

It seems that I still cannot post to this blog in a timely matter.
We returned from Guatemala on August 1, arriving at BWI just before midnight and getting back home, settling in, and asleep around 3 am. Then we hit the ground running. I had to prepare for Sunday Morning – A 15 minute video, testimonies, a short message, and just the general building of a service, which takes more planning than you might think. The NEXT Monday we started Teen Boys VBS, which ran 3 nights and involved building a target range, buying weapons (This years VBS for boys was “Top Shot” – we shot pellet guns, slingshots and blowguns) planning, food, etc.

So now I finally feel ready to post on the trip.

Its really difficult to describe everything I experienced in Guatemala. I can’t describe all the events, I’ll let the video do that. But I’ll let you into something more personal. I’ve been out of the country before (Kenya, 5 years ago) and the feeling of landing and then driving through the streets of a foreign land was similar, but this time there was something else. A connection. From the first day, Guatemala felt like home. More like home than Harford County. There was a sense that a country like this may be one where the Lord may eventually let me settle. Though I’ve lived in the same 10 mile radius all my life, Harford County has never really been my home, not in my heart. From my earliest days, I longed to travel, to see other lands, other peoples. I had a sense of longing when I went to Kenya, longing to continue to travel, see places and people I had never encountered before. A longing to experience SOMETHING outside the tiny little box of the modern American Church. That feeling has never left me.

But in Guatemala, that sense of longing seemed to be, if only temporarily, filled. Like I belonged to something, someone, bigger. Now I’m not saying that I feel called to Guatemala. If so, I would have resigned from First Baptist my first Sunday back. But I do feel that, perhaps my retirement plans may NOT involve moving to the south, but much further south. Perhaps when the Lord is done with my pastoral career, He will allow me to do some limited (or even full time) Missions work. And it may not be in Guatemala. But meeting, and actually getting involved with and establishing friendships with people from another land (something that did not happen in Kenya) changed me. I saw a people who had some contact with, but had not been totally immersed, in American culture. It felt weird, meeting person after person who were humble, polite, gentle. People who were genuinely grateful for whatever assistance you provided. The kids were great, visiting the Manna feeding centers was an awesome experience, but it was the pastors, teens, moms and dads that affected me the most. I felt like here was a group of people who I could invest in and know that the investment was not only appreciated, but would have lasting impact.

Thank you Jerry Abbott (MANNA European Director), for introducing me to Andrew Even, MANNA Central American Director. Thank You Andrew for an amazing trip.  I’ll let the video tell most of the story. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have a question.Blog signature

First Baptist Church Team Guatemala Missions Trip 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Amazing Week So Far...

Antigua, Sumpango, La Gomera, the Pacific Ocean. We have been to many different locations, experienced so many different emotions, its hard to put into words. From paying for a new roof and helping pour a concrete floor for a feeding center in rual, dusty La Gomera. To playing volleyball with the teens in the city of Sumpango (Guatemalens vs. GRINGOS!). To relaxing for an evening and night on an island off the coast, in the Pacific ocean. This has already been a life changing journey for  all involved. If you wanted to come with us but were too scared, determine that you will trust God and go the next time,because we ARE coming BACK!Pictures and a full report when we return state side.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Guatemala!

Nine members of First Baptist arrived in Guatemala this morning for a 10 day missions trip. We are staying at Casa Manna in San Cristobel, a suburb of Guatemala City.

Tonight my son Luke will bepreaching at a teen service, and I couldn't be more proud a papa.<br>
Pray much for us the next week as we feed childretn, put shoes on their feet, and share the love of Jesus with them.

I will try to post updates through the week, and will share pictures upon our return.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Don’t Remember You

Last night Patty and I are in the dairy section at Wal-Mart, getting milk and orange juice when a couple in their late 30’s/early40’s with a little girl walk past. The guy is tall, 6’1”, and looks like what we called a “Head” when I was in High School. Probably experimented with a few drugs in his time, haircut from about 30 years ago. He sees me, and from the corner of my eye I notice that he keeps looking at me, like he knows me.

As Patty and I cut through another aisle, I asked her if she noticed him. She also saw him staring at me. “Must be a inmate” was my first response.

For those of you who may not know, I was a Deputy Sheriff for about 10 years and worked at the Harford County Detention Center.  I left Christmas 2002 to go full time in Ministry.

But I constantly run into people who seem to recognize me. Many times they are ex-inmates that I had contact with at the jail. Sometimes it was good contact. Sometimes it wasn’t.  But I also seem to run into a LOT of people who did not know me from the jail, but from Elementary, Middle and High School, College, my time in radio, retail, or who happened to live next door at one of the 6 or 7 houses we live in during the 70’s.

There is a problem, though with running into so many people who knew me 10, 20, 30 years ago.



Everybody, it seems, remembers Dave Mason. I have run into guys I went to  KINDERGARTEN with who instantly recognize me. Teachers from Grade School. Then there are the hundreds from college, my time as a reporter and News Director for various radio stations, and the “fill-in” jobs in retail – Kiddie City (anyone remember the best toy store Bel Air ever had?), a Hardware/Floral Shop I managed, Hechinger's (Maryland's Home Depot before Home Depot came to Maryland and shut them down), The grocery stores, etc., etc.

Classmates, reporters, DJ’s, bosses, cashiers, foremen, inmates, Deputies, even former church members…they all seem to remember me. And except for the occasional face – never a name- I can’t remember ANY of them!

The incident last night made me come to three realizations:

1. I really am getting old.

My wife hates it when I say that. I have Senior citizens in my church who chide me when I declare I’m now middle aged. But I turn 45 this October. 45x2=90! I HOPE to make it to 90 if The Lord does not return before that! Most likely I am WAY PAST middle age. As John Cougar Mellencamp said, “There’s less days in front of the horse than riding in the back of this cart.”

Just two months ago (See twitter post at the left) I was given a Senior Coffee at McDonalds!

I’ve met a lot of people. Done a lot of things. I’ve had more careers than most FAMILIES. I’ve been to Africa. Going to Guatemala next week. It’s really been a rich life, no matter how much I’ve complained along the way. But…..

2. I don’t remember you if you have not invested in me.

There are people from my past that I immediately recognize, or would if I ran into them. I remember their faces AND names. They invested a part of their life in me. I could name them, but I hate having my name bantered on the internet without my approval, won’t do that to another.

So please, if you run into me and recognize me, don’t be too offended if I don’t remember you. Our passing acquaintance may have left an impact on you (Preachers tend to leave impacts) But I am NOT one to hold on to the past, except for the big moments. Which leads me to….

3. I seem to live totally in the moment.

The past is a blur to me, except, as I said, for the big moments. I have never been one for photo albums, scrapbooks or journals (though I try mightily). Focus has always been a problem for me. Note my many careers. I like change and variety. But I have found that one thing I am totally focused on is THIS MOMENT. As soon as this moment is gone, I tend to forget it, unless it was monumental. Meeting Patty for the first time, the birth of my boys, Preaching in inner city Baltimore and seeing 25 people saved at one time, watching my son Luke preach, seeing Ben strike out 7 batters in 4 innings, Jamaica with Patty on our 15th anniversary. These things stick.

I meet many, many people. I seem to influence, impact and leave an impression on most. But unless I let you into my inner circle, once I am a year or two removed from regular contact, my mind tends to dump you into the recycle bin. Its not personal, its not even an indication of how much I like or dislike a person. It’s just my mind and how it processes, and saves, information that is important to me.


So if you see me, and its been years since we last talked, do me a favor, open the conversation with, “Pastor Dave, its (Your name here)”

Something will jog in my brain, and I will remember enough about you to hold a conversation.

If not, at least I have your name and I can fake it.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Awesome Response!

Great morning at church today.  Though attendance was a year to date low (72), the humility and brokenness was greater than I have seen in a while.
Four weeks ago I installed a door, siding, porch light, mailbox, etc on the right side of the platform

I have been preaching on a renewed emphasis on door-to-door outreach and used the "exterior" door as a prop for illustrating how to approach homes and speak to our neighbors.

This morning I asked for those who were willing to sign up for visiting teams by signing their name on the door.

31 did just that.

God is good...

Happy Birthday Patty!

Its late posting, I know, but On Tuesday June 21, my wife Patty turned 40. She doesn’t mind her age being mentioned, she’s glad to get this far and feel as good as she does!

She is the Love of my life. I don’t deserve a woman as good hearted and beautiful as she.

This was my birthday present to her. Only the second time in 20 years I have drawn her likeness, the first time being in a sketchbook. This time I gave her the picture.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pardon the Interruption…

EVERYTIME I try to re-launch this blog, the same thing happens…. LIFE.

Its been 2 1/2 weeks since my last post. Sorry.

But you will forgive me, yes?

After all, it is the Easter Season, Black Friday for Pastors Open-mouthed smile

Can’t remember what the problem was 2 weeks ago, but LAST week was one of “those” weeks in the ministry. A funeral, A hospital visit (In the city), MY oldest son Luke was in the hospital for a planned operation on his shoulder, and the rest of the week was spent trying to manage the pain (severe) and provide him with a comfortable place to rest. Then there was the last minute details of the Girlfriends banquet my wife holds every spring at the church. Throw in a couple of baseball practices for Ben, and end the week (Saturday) with a Birthday Party at a teens house. And somewhere in there I had to find time to prepare two sermons and a Sunday School Lesson – The Sunday School Lesson lost the battle for attention. I woke up Sunday morning, did a “V-8” head slap and remembered that I had NOT prepared the lesson for the week!

Tried to rest yesterday – no luck. Spent the day in and out of my Cell Phone store – Won’t say which one, but its not Verizon, At&T or T-Mobile – because my wife's totally worthless Android phone died and needed replaced. In the words of Charlie Brown…..AAAAAARGH!

So.. no time to post. Got a few hours this afternoon to catch up, so I thought I would post something insightful, thoughtful and uplifting… So here it is:

Jesus Loves You so much He gave His life for you.

Love Him back just as much.


annnnnd, I’m out.

Back in a day or two.



Friday, April 01, 2011

Pray for me…

It’s April 1st. My wife’s favorite day of the year. If you know my wife, you can just imagine the torture I am experiencing today.

In past years she has pulled various practical jokes on me on this day.

Once she let my dresser drawer be depleted all week of underwear until, on April 1st, I only had one pair in the drawer, which I found out later that day had the fly sewed shut.

On another occasion she waited until I went to bed, then her and the boys filled the bathroom with balloons. Floor to ceiling. I woke up at 5am, needing to be on the road by 6 for a meeting that morning, and I couldn’t open the door of the bathroom for the balloons.

She has kept EPT (pregnancy) test sticks from our children, and years later ran out of the bathroom screaming, showing me the blue + sign.

One year she got everyone in the church, visitors included, involved. When I excused the children for children’s church, everyone got up and walked out the back door!

The king of all April Fools jokes, though, was the year of the Rat Trap. I won’t go over all of it here, but it involved a SET rat trap, my bed, and the distinct possibility that if the trick had gone wrong, we would be as infamous as John and Lorena Bobbit.

I am thankful, though, to spend my life with someone so full of life. Patty keeps me young, or at least on edge.

My life is rarely dull.

This year she has decided to go with multiple small jokes instead of one big joke.

I woke up this morning to garlic powder and salt on my toothbrush. Toothpaste on the bathroom door handle. The tub shower handles removed. The kitchen sink sprayer taped on so when I turned on the faucet I was sprayed in the stomach. There was a “House For Sale” sign in my yard with my cell phone number on it (I live in the church parsonage!).

And to show the total commitment she has to her cause, Patty put dish liquid soap on her tongue, and then kissed me.

I really need your prayers…


Thursday, March 31, 2011

What’s the “Right Side”?

As you may have noticed, the blog is redesigned (Thank you Blogger for creating some better templates to use!). With the redesign is a new header. Gone is my “autograph” and in its place a wood plank with my name and the phrase “Ramblings, Rumblings and Rants from the Right Side.”

Of course.

I’m a preacher. EVERYTHING needs a little alliteration, right?

But why did I say “The Right Side.”?

Simple. If you know me, I am a political junkie. And my political DNA is decidedly Right-Wing. I am a Republican. I am a Conservative. I am a Baptist. And I personally don’t know how you can be the last without being the first two as well. If you don’t fit into my mold, hey, no harm. no foul. But this is who I am and I make no apologies for my worldview, my political leanings, or my convictions regarding morality.

So “Right Side” immediately conjures thoughts of Red State ideology (though I live in the deepest blue state south of Massachusetts), and those thoughts would be correct. I “campaigned” for Gerald Ford when I was 9 years old, telling adult relatives and teachers of the evils of Jimmy Carter. I voted for Reagan, just wish I could have voted for him twice. I’ve had Bush/Quayle, Dole/Kemp, Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin bumper stickers. I was contacted by Mike Huckabee’s staff and asked to be one of his delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention (couldn’t go, too expensive on a preacher’s salary!) I’m hoping Huck runs again, but am ready to throw my weight behind Haley Barbour if he doesn’t.

But “Right Side” also speaks to my non-political worldview.

I am a firm believer in an unpopular concept called Absolute Truth. I cannot look at the creation around me and not be convinced that there are Laws that govern everything in the universe. It is absolutely true that 2+2=4. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself its not true, 2+2=4. It is absolutely true that when water’s temperature dips below 32o Fahrenheit it begins to turn solid. No matter how hard you argue, that fact is inviolable. Truth is not, despite current popular opinion, relative. If my truth and your truth disagree, one or both of us is WRONG. There is an absolute truth to EVERYTHING in the Universe. I have found that the truth contained in the Bible IS Absolute. There is nothing wrong in the Bible, there are no mistakes. In 14 years of preaching ministry, I have never had someone claim to me that the Bible was full of contradictions or mistakes,who was not also found to have never read the Bible. The WHOLE thing.

Its amazing to me how “relative truth” ALWAYS goes hand in hand with a person who has never made a serious attempt to read the Bible. I don’t go around giving my opinion or making sweeping claims about astrophysics, I don’t argue String versus M Theory (but I know what they are) and I don’t try to tell women I know how they feel. In other words, I should have some basic understanding of a topic before I spout off my opinion of it.

This is where I become befuddled at my fellow man. The Atheist (the Bible call him a fool – Psalm 14:1) who has never seriously studied the Bible makes pronouncements about its fallibility. Joe Average whose personal education program only extends to watching television refuses to listen to reason and sticks his head back in the sand, ignoring his need and going to hell. Excuses to ignore the truth abound in modern America.

So I’m a right-winger… and these are my views.

I hope that if I don’t offend you, I at least make you think. And if I do offend you, I hope you stick around long enough to be challenged to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here I Go Again….

Once more… with feeling!

I have tried several times over several years to develop the habit of posting to this blog. Never with much success. The daily pressures of my job and the incredible responsibilities and pleasures of being a husband and father always win the war for my time.

But I know this, writing is good for me. And it gives you an opportunity to not only know me better (so you can pray for me better) but – if I do this right – it can be a great teaching and information tool.

I’ve redesigned the blog, and intend to redesign a bit more, until I’m temporarily happy with the look.

One thing I want to do with this is mix in all of my interests, including comics, art, and tech, along with the Theology and Bible Study. I hope those that read for one, will stay for the others.

So here I go again. I do have plans to preview my graphic novel (which can be more completely previewed at, Comment on social trends, offer some quick glimpses into the life of a pastor, and much more.

Hope you bookmark this site and stay on for the ride.