Secrets of True Success

I have been pastoring now for over 26 years and it has been a joy in my life. There have been, however, many ups and downs and I have had to step back on many occasions and focus on the most important things.

I think I can speak for a lot of pastors when I say that 2020 and the COVID era have taken its toll on the church and its leaders. The successes we knew before, were challenged and much of what we worked for, it seems that we took several steps back. In reality, many churches have not recovered yet to their numbers pre-COVID.

Having said that, this last couple of years have caused me to evaluate what the most important things are for us as a church, and me personally as a pastor. What is true success? At the onset, let me say, that I believe God desires for a church to grow and to continue growing. But when things are at a standstill or seem to have plateaued, what are the most important things to remember? What are the things that we must focus on so that we will stay on track? Are there any principles, for us as pastors, that we can pay attention to in challenging times that will see us through?

I believe there are. My new book The Cloud of Witnesses was birthed out of these questions. It was my attempt to put on paper what I believe are the most important things for a pastor to focus on and then let God bring the results in our ministry. Many people in our society, ministry, and world in general have defined what success should look like. But, in The Cloud of Witnesses I wrote what I believe true success should look like. What is success? Not in the world’s eyes, but what is success in God’s eyes?

These things are not only Secrets of True Success for pastors, but I believe it can translate into every area of our lives. I will list the Seven Secrets of True Success in the abbreviated version here, but I have also put the full PDF version for you to click on and download. These Secrets (which are really not secrets) will revolutionize your perspective and your life if you will allow them to.

The Secrets of True Success

  1. I will be a person of true success.
  2. I will be a person of prayer.
  3. I will be a shepherd of God’s flock.
  4. I will be a person of humility.
  5. I will be a person of complete integrity.
  6. I will be a person of the Word, reading my Bible daily for more than just sermon preparation.
  7. I will be a person who is faithful in and through everything.

These are the springboard for what success looks like if we will hold these dear to our heart.

Click here for the FULL PDF VERSION

If you would like to read the story of a pastor who learned what True Success looks like, grab a copy of The Cloud of Witnesses. I believe it will bless you.

Poem – A Brand New Page

Here it is a brand-new page,
Nothing written for it is a new day.

The pen of my life is filled with ink,
How will I write, is what I often think.

The regrets of yesterday are ever present,
The wounds of my past even more malevolent.

But what shall I do with this empty page,
Will I make the most of this brand-new day?

I carry all my worries and my cares I still shoulder,
It seems I get worse rather than better now as I get older.

But all these years it has done me no good,
So, I will cast them off, like long of go I should.

I will not write about yesterday on this empty page,
I will make my mark only with this brand-new day.

As I turn the paper to see the unfilled lines,
I leave the offenses that I have carried all this time.

The hurts that have been caused, the pain I still bear,
The resentment its bore, the rub on my soul it wears.

Yet, I will choose to forget and not write it on this page,
I will choose forgiveness, which is seen on this new day.

I am walking much lighter, already it does seem,
Anticipating a new day, with a brand-new theme.

My heart is free, my burdens much more light,
I should have done this long ago, that would have been right.

I am thankful for the fresh start of this unused page.
There is so much hope, with the dawning of this new day.

-Danny Cheney-

Get a copy of my new book, The Cloud of Witnesses.

Blessing for 2023

On this New Year’s Day I want to speak a blessing over you, and to declare this over your life for 2023:

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’

May He bless you and expand your territory!
May He be with you in all that you do.
And that He would keep you from all trouble and pain!” 

May God grant you according to your heart’s desires,
And may He fulfill all your purpose.

I declare that you are the head and not the tail
Above and not beneath.
May you be a lender and not a borrower.
Blessed and not cursed, wealthy and not lacking.
I declare that you will be a giant and not a grasshopper.

You are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you and strengthens you.

Our God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
May you prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.

May 2023, be the year of the Lord’s presence in your life.
May you hear His voice more clearly and be led with more clarity.

May you walk in His will because the steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord and He delights in your way.

I declare that this year will be a year of favor and blessing.
Lord, grant this people with a year of your grace and mercy.
They are your people; may they walk in your glory in 2023.

Here you can download a pdf of this blessing and use it as a daily declaration this year.

Get a copy of my new book, The Cloud of Witnesses.

The Cloud of Witnesses Available Now

For years, I haven’t been much of a fiction reader. Honestly, I get too engrossed in them and because I can’t put them down, I stay up too late at night trying to see what happens next. I don’t like suspense.

But then, I started reading a different kind of fiction. I guess you could call it less suspenseful and more geared toward learning. A hybrid of fiction and non-fiction. Many would call it an allegory. Authors like Andy Andrews and the late, Og Mandino who write this type of fiction have had a heavy influence on my life and the way I live. Their writings have helped me immensely and it was while reading their books that I got an idea for my own book.

Andy Andrews and Mandino’s books are geared toward business and leadership. It got me to thinking that there are few books that describe what true success looks like for a pastor or ministry. In fact, many of the church’s leadership books are based on business principles. While we can glean from business leadership, there are so many lessons found in Scripture that show us what true success looks like. Success not in the worldly sense, but success in God’s eyes.

With that in mind, Cloud of Witnesses was born. It was planted as a seed around five years ago while reading the book The Traveller’s Gift by Andy Andrews. The idea stayed with me until I wrote the first chapter in January 2021. Then I did not write another word for a year. But deep down, this idea kept nagging me until, I finally began writing again after reading Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson. This book encouraged the readers to adorn the world with creativity, writing, and the arts. Despite our doubts and hang-ups, Peterson challenges his reader to spread the light in the world.

So, I laid aside my doubts and began writing again. Cloud of Witnesses is a first person fiction set in a small Texas town where Pastor John Watkins is struggling to build a church.

Well, let me just share with you the description written on the back of the book:

Learn the Secrets to True Success. It’s more simple than you think.

Hull Christian Church is a dwindling church in a dying community. Two years in, Pastor John Watkins is out of answers and his leadership struggle is evident to his twelve parishioners. He is ready to give up when an unknown visitor prays over him at the end of a church service then vanishes without anyone seeing him. A few weeks later, this mysterious man appears in John’s office and sets the course for the future of this young pastor’s ministry. The mystery deepens as John Watkins is introduced to ancient wisdom, millennia old, and he is given seven secrets to true success; proven laws that have been passed down through time. Watkins has tried everything else to no avail, will these secrets work even in this small struggling church?

In this book, pastors and leaders will discover the secrets of true success. The Cloud of Witnesses will challenge and encourage the reader. Whether you are a pastor or a member of a local church, this book will give you insight into the life and heart of a pastor.

This book is certainly geared toward pastors, but I would encourage any Christian or church leader to read it. The principles set forth in this allegory are Scriptural and for every believer, not just pastors. However, this book speaks specifically to pastors about our mindset of success. It will challenge all of our thinking.

You can pick up a copy of The Cloud of Witnesses today. Click here.

Please feel free to share this link with anyone, especially pastors and church leaders.

The Cloud of Witnesses Release

I am excited to announce a project that I have been working on for the last year and half. On January 1st, 2023, my new book will be released. The Cloud of Witnesses: Ancient wisdom comes alive for a struggling pastor.

Since Covid took our world by storm, it has led to great challenges for the American church. In fact, many pastors have walked away from ministry, leading to what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation”. This book is my rally cry for pastors and leaders who are facing troubled times.

The book is fiction. An allegory of the life of a small church pastor, John Watkins, who has run out of answers. On the brink of quitting, he has an encounter that changes the course of his life and ministry.

Through his discussions with the Cloud of Witnesses, John Watkins discovers the secrets to true success. This book is for pastors or anyone who wants to understand the heart and ministry of their pastor. I believe it is a good read for any Christian, as well as pastors.

So, mark your calendars for New Year’s Day. The Cloud of Witnesses will be available on Amazon.

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Raising the Bar in Parenting

On Sundays, we have been in a sermon series about the Gold Standard and raising the bar in different areas of our lives. (Holiness, Marriage, Relationships, and Parenting) This Sunday morning, I shared about expectations and standards we can use in raising our kids and grandkids. If you read through these lists, you will find they are not your common standards that have been set.

Many people live their life hoping their kids will get a good education, excel at sports or some other extracurricular activity, and have a good job. While those are good things, it is a low bar to be set. You can have a great athlete who is arrogant or immoral. When they are done playing sports or done with their education, what do you have then? Are they good people? Can you be proud of the way they live and the decisions they make?

The greatest goal for our children should be their relationship with Jesus Christ. Check out these lists and see if any of these resonate with you. You can download the PDF Version here.

The Standard I Am Raising For My Kids by Danny Cheney

  • I want my kids to love Jesus and Serve Him.
  • I want my kids to be responsible and be a positive influence on others.
  • I want my kids to live moral lives.
  • I want my kids to be known for their honesty, even if it hurts.
  • I want my kids to love other people and respect those in authority.
  • I want my kids to have a love for the Word of God.
  • I want my kids to learn to pray and know that they can take anything to their loving Heavenly Faither.
  • When my kids are raised, I want them to choose, on their own, to follow Jesus and go to church for the rest of their lives.

The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews listed these things for the Gold Standard for our kids.

  • To be divinely guided
  • To possess great wisdom, understanding, common sense
  • To have a grateful spirit
  • To have a joyful spirit
  • To be responsible
  • To be a person of good morals, character
  • To have a great and abiding faith
  • To be humble
  • To be hardworking
  • To be honest
  • To have respect for authority
  • To have servant’s heart
  • To accept the role of a leader

What we should teach our kids by Landon Coleman:               (

  • How to support their church through “tithing.”
  • The importance of making eye contact and speaking clearly.
  • How to practice spiritual disciplines.
  • The importance of taking care of your possessions.
  • How to read and enjoy books.
  • The importance of saying “thank you.”
  • How to apologize and how to forgive.
  • The reality that sin always has consequences.
  • How to be a good friend, especially to the friendless.
  • The supreme value of knowing Jesus and being known by Jesus.

Let’s raise the bar in leading our kids.

Grab a copy of my latest book, Worry Less. WORRY FREE.

Daily Disciplines

What do you do every day?  What are your habits?

Forgive me for being so personal but, evaluate your day.  What are you doing with it? 

Many of us have routines in our lives that we do not even notice.  Often, they are routines that we could do without.  There are things we need to do that we don’t do and things that we don’t need to do that we do. 

I heard a statement recently that I cannot get out of my mind.  It has pierced me to the very core of my heart.  It said, “What you do daily determines what you will become permanently.”  So again, what do you do with your day?  I am challenged to look into my daily routines and see what my habits are.

Habits are okay for our lives as long as they are the good kinds of habits.  Life controlling substances are not good habits, but spiritual habits are good.  As believers we often find it hard to discipline ourselves in spiritual things.  We find it difficult to “MAKE” time to do the things necessary for us to be sharp spiritually.  It is a decision on the believers part to pray, to read the Word, to witness and serve the Lord.  These should be a daily habit of ours.

The Bible tells us to Redeem the Time and so we should but we must redeem the time for the things of God.  Paul even said that we should keep our minds on  things above.  The way to do these things is to discipline ourselves and form a habit of focusing on the Lord.

In the above statement it said we would become what we do daily.  If I want to have a relationship with God and be known by Him, I must pray daily.  If I want to KNOW Him, I should make habit of reading His Word daily.  The Word is Him.  The Word Is God.  If I want to have His heart, I should be a witness daily, for God’s heart is for the lost.

Often, we make a habit of things that have no eternal value and that is sometimes necessary on our jobs and so forth.  The fact is, however, that we should never forsake the most important habits that are found in the things of God.  Friends, you will become what your daily routine is.  If you do not like your daily routine change it.  Don’t dread the day!  Make God your habit and your hum-drum day will turn into a day of joy and peace.

Grab a copy of my latest book, Worry Less. WORRY FREE.

The Spirit-Filled Life from my Grandma’s Bible

I found these notes in my Grandma’s old bible:

Joel said, “I will pour our my Spirit on all flesh.”

Sinner’s verse – John 3:16  – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Christian’s verse – Luke 3:16 – John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The believer who is baptized in the Spirit will have or be:

1.  Fruit of the Spirit

2. Sensitive to the Spirit of God

3. A desire for perfection (maturity)

4. Easy to get along with

5. Humble man or woman of God

6. Soul-winner

7. Praising Jesus under every circumstance

8. Walk in humble obedience to the will of God

9. Jesus will be real to you, nearer than any other person

These are the results of a Spirit-filled life.  How do we line up?

Here are another couple of quotes from her Bible:

“People say God stopped His supernatural works in the first century. I’ve never heard anyone say the devil stopped his.”

“Would God expect us to go up against a supernatural enemy (devil) without supernatural weapons to fight him?”

Grab a copy of my latest book, Worry Less. WORRY FREE.