Thursday, September 11, 2014


Last night I watched the last 20 minutes of one of my favorite movies: Taken
The star of the movie is Liam Neeson who plays a former CIA operative named Bryan Mills who sets about tracking down his daughter after she is kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery while traveling in France.

In the climactic scene of the movie Mills breaks into the master bedroom on a yacht, only to find his daughter being held by a sheikh with a knife to her throat. Mills draws his gun, takes careful aim and then blows the sheikh away.

The daughter, who has been drugged and assaulted looks at her dad with disbelief and with tears streaming down her face cries out over and over again:
"You came for me? You came for me?"

Mills, the Father, offers the movie's most chill bump inducing line - "I told you I would."

My iWitness...

The voices on the call to 911 are filled with panic and desperation...
"Please hurry! Hurry up!! Get here fast!! It's getting bad!"

And so the brave firefighters of the New York Fire Department hurried as fast as they could.
When everyone was running away from the Towers...
The NYFD were running to the Towers...

I can hear the voices of those that were rescued by the NYFD...
"You came for me?"

"I told you I would" was the response of those that took an oath to be an NYFD firefighter that said that they would serve the people of New York City to the best of their ability.

The very first memory verse I ever memorized went like this:
"For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3. 16)

Over the years I can't tell you how many times I have cried out to God...


His voice has varied over the years...
Sometimes He shouts...
Sometimes He whispers...
Sometimes His tear streaked face hardly makes a sound...
Sometimes His eyes alone speak volumes...
Sometimes He chuckles...
But the answer is always the same...

"I told you I would..."

There's an old saying that goes something like this...
"Life isn't worth living until you have found something worth dying for..."

In Jesus and in the NYFD/NYPD on 9/11/01 we find some people who really knew what it meant to be alive...

They came for us just like they said they would...

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Little Drummer Boy

Confession time: I'm a closet rocker!
I said it...
I confessed it...
I am officially out of the closet and no longer will I attend my weekly RA (Rockers Anonymous) meetings!
My favorite rock song is Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild."
I grew up listening to Styx, Boston, Journey, Kansas, Yes, Def Leppard and Peter Frampton.
Nothing better than a strong bass beat to get my head rockin and my body rolling!
Rock n Roll forever!!!

Last night I went, by myself to the Def Leppard and Kiss concert. (I was still a closet rocker last night!)
Close to four hours of head banging, foot stomping, body rocking music.
I love Def Leppard as they pulled out all the stops on some of my favorite tunes.
Photograph, Animal, Let's Get Rocked, Armageddon It, Rock of Ages and Pour Some Sugar On Me were just some of the songs that got the crowd of 19,500 rockin and rollin!
Fantastic solos by all the artists were highlighted with vintage video and superb strobe light effects.
The drummer for Def Leppard, Rick Allen is only 8 months younger than me.
They have a nickname for Rick - Thunder God!
He performed some of the most fantastic drum solos that had me and the audience completely mesmerized.
Do you know what is so remarkable about Rick Allen?
He only has one arm!

My iWitness...

Over the years I have rocked out every Christmas to another drummer.
His nickname is not Thunder God!
He simply goes by, "The Little Drummer Boy."
He is summoned by that fantastic trio known as The Magi to join them on their journey to pay tribute to the newborn king - Jesus!
You may remember how his Number 1, one hit wonder song goes (Here's the last verse or so):
The Little Drummer Boy realizes that the only gift he has to offer is to play his drum for the newborn babe. He looks at Mary and says:

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Do you know what Rick Allen aka - Thunder God and The Little Drummer Boy have in common?

They played their best with what they had.
Rick Allen only has one arm. He played his best!
The Little Drummer Boy, in the midst of gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh only had his little drum. He played his best!

Whatever you have...
Play your best for God today!

Play your best with whatever you have...
And get ready...
Get ready to see the most brilliant smile
that will rock and roll you all night long!
Pa rum pum pum pum!!!!

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often, Fear not and ROCK ON!!

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
     my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18. 2)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Change Needed

Last Friday was deemed "Camp Daddy-O" as it was the last weekday of summer as school began on Monday for my fourth grader Faith and third grader Joshua.
In The Woodlands, Texas there are 14 (count em...14) neighborhood pools. Only 12 of them are open on Fridays. The "Camp Daddy-O" challenge for the day was can we (Daddy, Faith and Joshua) hit all twelve pools in one day.

Pool number 1 was entered at 12:00 pm. Pool number 12 was entered at 7:15 pm. It was an amazing day! On the way to pool number 11 we drove by a locally owned and operated Lemonade Stand. The four employees ranged in age from 4 to 12. The owner was a mom who had promised the kids all summer that they could do a Lemonade Stand before the summer was over. Sure enough, Mom held true to her word. On the last day of summer the Lemonade Stand on Alden Bridge Drive was open for business!

The cardboard homemade sign proudly proclaimed "Lemonade 25 cents!"
I drove up to the stop sign...rolled down the passenger window and yelled, "I want some lemonade."
A boy of about 12 years of age with bright brown eyes bounded over to the car.
I said, "I would like two cups of lemonade please."
He smiled at me as I leaned over and handed him a 20 dollar bill.
His bright brown eyes lit up brighter than the spotless blue sky when I followed that gesture with,
"No change please..."

"No change?", he muttered.
My smile increased tenfold, "No change needed."
The boy hesitantly said, "Thank you" and then ran off to the lemonade stand where his mom was busy manning the cash box. He gestured wildly with his arms. His mom looked up at him and her jaw dropped and then she leaned slightly to her left and shouted, "No, we can give you change."

My smile disappeared as I shook my head and mouthed the word, "NO" right back at her.
Her smile disappeared as well, "No, seriously, we can give you change."
I simply kept shaking my head while mouthing the words, "NO" over and over.

Next thing I knew a little girl about four years old in a pink lacy dress walked slowly over with one cup of lemonade in her hand. She extended her little innocent arms as far as she could and I extended my tennis tanned arms as far as I could and we barely met at the threshold of the window. I exclaimed, "Thank you!" She shyly smiled and made a quick turn as her flowing curly blonde hair tried desperately to keep up with her spinning head.

The brown eyed boy returned with the second cup and handed it off to Joshua. He was quickly followed by his mom. She came right up to the passenger window, stuck her whole head into the car, extended her right hand and said, "Thank you so much! The kids have been wanting to do a lemonade all summer and finally on the last day of summer before school started we decided to do it."

My face gleamed from ear to ear as I held her hand and offered these words, "I vowed a long time ago, whenever I would see children working a lemonade stand I would stop and give them the largest bill in my wallet. I love blowing their minds away."

Our hands parted ways. She gripped the side of the car with her hands, smiled a big Texas size smile and said once again, "Thank you... thank you so much. This will be something the kids will remember forever." With lemonade in my hand, I flashed a 25 cent lemonade smile right back at her and gently let my foot off the brake and drove away.

In the backseat, Joshua was incredulous at the scene that had just unfolded before his very eyes. "Dad! Did you see that boy's face when you handed him the 20 dollar bill? His face was brighter than the sun!"

I laughed out loud and asked my little mathematician, "Do you know how much I overpaid them for the lemonade?" Joshua's little face wrinkled up a bit as his mind was doing some major calculating. "Nineteen dollars and fifty cents", he proudly proclaimed.
"That's right!", I affirmed.
My next question threw him for a loop.
"Do you know how many times over I paid for the lemonade?"
He paused and then finally said, "No, how many times over dad?"
The answer was easy, "40!"

My iWitness...

For whatever reason, the number 40 is a special number in the Bible. If anyone ever asks you a question that has to deal with a number from the Bible just say, "3, 7, 12, or 40." You are bound to be right with one of those answers.

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible.

Noah and his family experienced rain for 40 days and 40 nights.
All of Moses major changes in life happened in 40 year intervals - At 40 he went into exile after killing a man. At 80 God called him from the burning bush to set His people free. At 120 God called him home.
Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mt. Sinai
Moses led the people through the desert for 40 years.
Psalm 40 was made into a song by U2.
Jonah spent 40 days and 40 nights telling Ninevah of their imminent destruction.
The first three kings of Israel, Saul, David, Solomon each reigned for 40 years.
Jesus fasted and was tempted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.
After Jesus' resurrection he walked this earth for 40 days and 40 nights.

All that to say, the number 40 is special!

Now to my point! (You were wondering if there was every going to be a point!!)

How many times do we put out a sign humbling asking God to buy two cups of grace for 50 cents to forgive us?

Then again, how many times does God graciously approach us and say to us,
"That's all you want?
That's all you need?
50 cents of grace?
How bout I offer to you 40 times that much?",
as He hands us a twenty dollar bill of grace to cover a multitude of cups...

How many of us bound off into the day ahead with our hearts full and our minds blown from the fact that we look at Him and say, "I can provide change", when in our hearts we know we can't.

How much fun God must have as He looks at us and then He looks to His right at Jesus and then back to us with a smile gleaming from ear to ear whispering in our unbelieving ears:
"No change needed!"

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4. 16)

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Robin Williams committed suicide this past week and the reaction was one of great shock and disbelief that the man who made us laugh till we cried fell victim to the dark, dark, dark side of depression. For the first time, Robin Williams made us cry with no laughter in sight...

My iWitness...

My earliest remembrance of understanding the meaning of suicide was when I was 8 years old.

Nine years later I would come into my first real contact with suicide.

My first "paycheck paying" job was at Carl's Jr. restaurant in The City Shopping Center in Orange County, California. I loved working "fast food" and thoroughly enjoyed the comrarderie of my workmates. There always seemed to be a group of us who would head out to the beach after our shift ended or take in a movie up in Los Angeles. The Carl's Jr. Christmas party was the first party I ever attended where alcohol was served.

At 11:00 pm one night in November one of my workmates called me and woke me up from a nice deep slumber. I had my own personal phone line in my bedroom. Even in my groggy state I could tell my friend was a little upset about something. And when he said this next line my senses went into immediate overdrive, "David, I am going to tell you something and then I am going to do something and then you will never see me again."

I remember becoming very panicky with my heart beating more rapidly with each passing minute.
"Hold on just a minute! Whatever it is, we can talk it through, we can work it out. Hold on here just a minute."

His words became more garbled as his tears and crying voice intensified, but the message was crystal clear, "David, I am going to tell you something and then I am going to do something and then you will never see me again."

As my pleadings and his insistence came to a fever pitch, he told me something...

"David, I'm gay..."

And then he hung up the phone...and within seconds all I heard was the monotone dial tone...

Since that day I have come across far too many cases of suicide...

One of my best friends in college called to say that his lovable, adorable, fun loving dad had taken his own life...

As a pastor in Augusta, Georgia one of my friend's father called to tell her that he was going to commit suicide. She pleaded with him to wait until she made the four hour drive. He said he would wait. Fifteen minutes before she arrived he shot himself. When she opened the front door there he was in his recliner, shotgun on the floor with his dog sitting on his lap wimpering.

Just a few years ago I went through a one year stretch where I knew or was acquainted with 13 people who committed suicide. One of them was my youth group leader who mentored me in my high school years to become a more devoted follower of Jesus.

Suicide equals a lot of heartache, a lot of pain, a lot of questions and a lot of tears...

I used to think suicide was the most selfish choice a person could make. I used to think that if you committed suicide you were going straight to hell. I don't think those things anymore...

Here's what I do think...

Depression is one of our most haunting and debilitating diseases. It grabs us by the throat and takes us down the deepest, darkest, dankest path anyone has ever traveled all the while telling us over and over, there is no way out, there is no tomorrow, there is no getting better, everything will only get worse...

And this chorus rains down on our heart and mind so fast and so much that it floods us with one thought and one thought only, "The only way out is to take myself out..."

And some people do...
Some people don't, but some people do...
And I do believe that those who do, in their minds, this is the most logical, rational, courageous choice to make.

And I do believe that in that moment where those who committ suicide move from life to death, Jesus is right there with His tender arms tightly wrapped around them weeping with them and for them...

May God continue to have mercy on us all...

There, but for the grace of God, go I....

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often (not so much today!) and Fear not!

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8. 12)

May the light of Jesus shine bright in all of our lives...


I callled my friend from Carl's Jr.'s uncle about the whereabouts of my friend that night. His uncle said that my friend had just left the house. I told my mom and dad what had happened and they said that I was as white as a ghost. I felt completely helpless and mad at myself that I couldn't "talk" my friend out of this most drastic step...

The next day I called Carl's Jr. asking if my friend had shown up for work. They said, "No he hasn't. He was scheduled to work today but didn't show up."

During the lunch hour at school I shelled out a few more quarters in the pay phone by the gym, calling around looking for my friend. He was nowhere to be found...

At 4:30 in the afternoon my phone in my bedroom rang and I picked it up and heard my friend's familiar voice..."David, can we talk?"  And talk we did....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tan Lines

I must admit that after spending the last three months teaching tennis outdoors, in the sunshine, my tan has never had a more solid base and my body has an incredible healthy golden bronze hue. I am looking pretty good these days!!

The other day I took Faith and Joshua to the pool and when I took off my shoes and socks and my t-shirt I realized something very horrifying... My feet are the most brilliant pasty white you have ever witnessed. My torso is equally pale in color and hue. I am not looking so good these days!!

Reality set in quickly as I realized I am only tanned and bronzed where the sun shines.

My iWitness...

To further complicate things, after making this awful discovery I quickly lathered my pale body parts with sunscreen that had the sunblock number 250 on the side of the bottle. I did the best I could to keep the pale parts exactly that - PALE!

The harsh, stark reality is that I only let people see the tanned parts of my body of which I am most proud.

This raised a very deep question for me as I sat poolside wallowing in my own dilemma.

My spiritual life is only "tanned" and "bronzed" and worth showing off to the world around me where I allow the "Son" to shine.

Those areas of my spiritual life that are "pale", I go to great lengths to cover them up with "Sonblock"!

The time has come for me to take off the "shoes and socks and t-shirts" of my spiritual life and let the Son shine His light on me in such a way so as to have a more evenly "tanned" life.

Let the "Son" shine today and let the "pale" parts of life soak in the life giving rays of His love and grace!

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8. 12)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Best Friend, Worst Enemy

I ran into a friend of mine yesterday that I hadn't seen in a long time.
We have a very unusual relationship.
He's been my best friend.
He's also been my worst enemy...

My iWitness...

We stood face to face and acknowledged one another.
Yesterday our relationship was somewhere between friend and tolerable acquaintance.
He looks much younger than I remember even though the gray around his temples would suggest otherwise.
His compassionate eyes still have that sparkle but they also looked tired and lost, longing for something of which I wasn't quite sure...
I inquired, "How ya doing?"
His response of, "You know..." left me wanting to scream, "No! I don't know!"

That awkward moment finally eased into a gentle conversation about life, family and transitions.
He seemed a little out of sorts, a little off balance, as if his "A" game was playing at a "C-" level.
He is a man of great faith and devotion. Talented and gifted in many ways. The best I could tell was that he had taken some hits lately and simply needed a few "W's" in the win column to get back on his feet again.

I tried to offer some assurances.
His green/hazel eyes stared back at me, penetrating my deepest intentions with a look of, "I've heard all of this before."

His hearty laugh broke the tension and I laughed with him. O how many times we have laughed out loud about so many of life's events and peculiarities.

Our shoulders seemed to relax the more we talked.
Before we knew it a good chunk of time had passed.
The silence that announces that the conversation is over for now arrived...

We stared at one another, "best friend, worst enemy" and then he gave me that look...
that look that belies the circumstances, issues and feelings of the day and offers with supreme confidence that God willing, he will be back, he will run again, he will even soar as if he were an eagle!

He flashed me that brilliant smile..
His left eye gave me that knowing wink that I have come to love for many years...
It was time to say goodbye...
And with that I turned and walked away from the mirror...

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51. 10-12)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Need Help...

The message was short...

Six words...

"Please call me (insert phone number) I need help"

Each word carried weight... gravitas
Each word carried a sense of urgency...Now! Not tomorrow or next week.
Each word was written with a humble, gracious, loving

And so I did...

My iWitness...

My friend said, "I'm okay and then broke down in a flood of tears."

What is it about us that we tell others we are "okay" and the harsh reality is that we are on the verge of a tsunami of tears?

What is it about hearing a trusted voice on the other end of the phone that makes everything feel better in an instant?

What is it about being comforted by someone who has walked the downtrodden dusty trail just a few miles ahead of us that is profoundly soothing?

What is it about the privilege of jumping down into the deep hole of despair with a friend and being with them in their pain and as they dissolve into a puddle of tears so do you?

What is it about coming along someone who is hurting and putting your arm around their neck and holding them close that brings healing not only to them but to your heart as well?

What is it about the scriptures that when we recited Jeremiah 29.11 together, our voices in perfect sync with one another over the cellular air waves, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" we were provided an immediate sure foundation of knowing without a doubt that we indeed do have hope and a future?

What is it about being open about our woundedness that brings not judgment but compassion and tears and love and a true desire to bring one another to restoration and reconciliation?

What is it about a plea shouting, "I NEED HELP" that allowed our conversation to eventually end with laughter?

What is about God's promise that He is an ever present help in our time of trouble?
"God is our refuge and strength,
     a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
     though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling." (Psalm 46. 1-3)

What is it about?
It's about you and me being courageous and vulnerable enough to utter three of the most difficult words that have ever been put together in this specific order!

I need help...

I know I do...
How bout you?

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12. 15)