Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Father's House


Her name is Lynn.
She is one of the most beautiful, faithful, caring and loving person that I know.
Her two younger sisters will tell you, with laughter cackling out of their mouths, that Lynn is perfect.
Lynn is the older sister that when growing up in the Fletcher home always told mom and dad when the younger two sisters had violated some major household rule or code (i.e. sneaking an extra piece of pie or homemade cookie back to the bedroom!!!)

A couple of years ago, Lynn's mom, Paula passed peacefully away at home... in her own bed. Beside her were all three daughters, who had climbed into the bed with her, reminiscent of the days gone by when all three girls would come running and jumping into bed with mom and dad during a heavy thunderstorm.

A bed full of four women, three of them surrounding and snuggling with the matriarch who had brought them into this world. And now it was their privilege to be with their mom as she exited their world. Paula leaves behind a legacy of incredible faith, grace, love and good home cooking hospitality that her daughters proudly carry on.

Paula's husband Fred Fletcher is one of those men of very few words. But when he talks, you better have your ears perked. When you touch the pads of his well worn hands that have carved some of the most beautiful pieces of woodworking  I have ever seen, you know you are in the company of a man whose waters run deep and true.

After being pampered by Paula for so so so many years and being loved and adored by his three daughters, Fred now lives alone.

I had the privilege of talking with Lynn yesterday by phone. As always we had a most delightful conversation and of course she had to share with me how the two younger sisters were misbehaving!!! (LOL!!)

The good news of our conversation involved Lynn telling me that after a most hectic and wonderful summer, and with "dad" starting to slow down a little bit, she is moving into her father's house.

My iWitness...

I love these words of Jesus from the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John...

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14. 1-3)

Don't you just love that!
"In my Father's house are many rooms..."

As much as we invite the Lord into the "home of our heart" the day will come when the good Lord above will reciprocate the invitation.

Be assured... without fail...the day will come when we move into our Father's house.

Hear the good news..."Let not your heart be troubled..."

Your room has been prepared.
Your name is on the door.
It is perfectly decorated...
There will be room in the Father's house for you...
May there be room in our house for the Father!

And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!
 
ps - Lynn... enjoy your father's house. I know your father will enjoy you!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wing Clippers



I was visiting with someone yesterday who had his "wings clipped."

My iWitness...
Ever have your wings clipped before?

As much as it hurts or stings, having my wings clipped by God is understandable and always appropriate. There are times when God has to reign me in to protect me, to teach me and to show me another way of how to "fly" through life.

But then, there are other times when someone comes along in your life that is a "Wing Clipper"!

Oh how they love to politely invite you to sit down and chat with them.
They bring you into their confidence.
They are extra nice and sweet.
The charm you into trusting them.

And then... BAM!!!
Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clipClip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip Clip clip clip....

Before you know it...all your feathers are scattered on the floor and there you stand as powerful as an Ostrich to fly (By the way... Ostriches can't fly!)

These "Wing Clippers" love to control other people.
They are "control freaks."
Watch out for them!
They will "clip" you alive and leave you flightless, powerless and most hurtful of all...
they will leave you less than who God made you to be...

I am a firm believer that God has given us wings...
to swoop...
to fly...
to flit...
to flutter...
to soar...

Spread you wings
Soar high today on the thermals of God's freedom, God's grace and God's love!

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

"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles...(Isaiah 40. 31)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Have A Dream...


Yesterday, August 28, 2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of the best American speech given in the 20th Century in the United States of America.

On the mall of Washington, DC in front of the Lincoln Memorial,
the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

My iWitness...

I am wondering if you have a "Dream" that has captured the full will of your heart, mind and spirit?

Do you have a Dream?

Have you ever shared it?

I have a dream...
I am a dreamer...

I wonder if you are like me today...
I am too scared to share it...
Too afraid to articulate it...
Too bashful to blurt it out...
Too passive to pursue it...
Too tentative to try it...
Too cynical to see it...
And too doubtful to deliver it...

What happens when the dream remains cooped up inside?
I am afraid to know the answer...

I am afraid I already know the answer...
And so do you.

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

ps - Thank you Dr. King for sharing yours... We are all better for it!

“And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions." (Joel 2. 28)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

25 Years of Being the Reverend

Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church
Augusta, Georgia

Twenty-five years ago on this day, August 28, 1988 in the presence of family and friends at the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, with the Reverend Dr. G. Daniel McCall preaching, I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.

I have been known as the Reverend David W. Dendy for the last 25 years...

During that stint I have had the complete and utter privilege and joy of serving the Lord in a variety of capacities.

1988-1995 - Associate Pastor, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia

1995-1998 - Pastor of a New Church Development, Trinity Church, Katy, Texas (Houston, TX)

1998-2004 - Senior Executive Consultant, Resource Services Inc., Assisted 80 churches raise $180 million dollars for the distinct purpose of Christian ministry.

2004-2012 - Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Klamath Falls, Oregon

2012 - Present - Vice President for Philanthropy, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa

What a journey it has been!

As "the Reverend" I have had the unique opportunity of being invited to be present during some of life's most unforgettable moments.

Weddings...pronouncing with the authority that has been bestowed upon me to declare that a man and woman are now husband and wife. "You may now kiss the bride" has always been one of my favorite things to say.

Baptisms...pronouncing with authority that has been bestowed upon me that the grace, love,  forgiveness and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ is being washed over someone's life making them "clean" and members of the body of Christ. There is nothing more humbling and at the same time more exhilarating than placing my hand on the head of another child of God and declaring such things.

Funerals - pronouncing with the authority that has been bestowed upon me the unbelievable good news that "though we die, yet shall we live again!" One illustration that became a "signature" of mine during funerals was likening heaven to a huge football stadium with the stands filled with all the saints that have gone on before us and with God standing at the 50 yard line. And there we stand at the tunnel ready to run onto the field of heaven. And then we hear our name being called over the loud speakers and we run out onto the field with the stadium rocking in applause and laughter and we are running as fast as we can and there is the open arms of God waiting to swoop us up at midfield! Wow!!! How much fun is that to declare to a grieving family.

Praying - Is there anything more intimate than sitting knee to knee hand in hand with someone and praying with them? Or placing my arm around the shoulder of a complete stranger and entering into the presence of God through prayer with that person?

Conversion and Discipleship - To be a witness to the life changing power and transformation of people going from being lost to being found has been the greatest privilege of all. Wow!!

Preaching - The challenge of taking the two dimensional, black and white print of the Bible and allowing it to become the three dimensional, colorful, inspired word of God that invigorates, regenerates, inspires, transforms and fuels people for the week ahead is like nothing else. To be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit during the preaching of the Word is nerve racking, raw and a complete thrill.

The Chill Bumps - In 25 years of being a pastor one of the clues that God was with me during a worship service was getting the chill bumps at some point in time during the service. It happened without fail during every worship service. Those chill bumps covering my body might happen during announcements or during a song or during the reading of scripture or right smack during the middle of preaching. Those chill bumps became for me the weekly fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, "I am with you always..."

The Lord's Supper - To touch the bread, to hold the bread, to break the bread, to serve the bread, to taste the bread, to pour the juice, to hear the juice, to taste the juice, to watch the people come forward to partake, to speak the words, "On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread...", to announce with great authority that we eat this bread and drink this cup in remembrance of Jesus and for the remission of our sins, to experience all of that in a brief moment was a highlight.

The People - Oh the people that the Lord has placed in my life over the last 25 years. Is there any greater privilege than being invited into people's lives and become a part of their world and life and see the incredible creative spirit of God in so many different people. Wow! Thank you Lord!!

My iWitness...

I could go on and on...

Let me leave you with the words I leave with people at the end of every worship service in which I am honored to lead...

"Go forth into the world in peace
Be of good courage
Hold fast to that which is good
Render to no one evil for evil
Strengthen the fainthearted
Support the weak
Love and serve the Lord with gladness and joy
Honor all people
And...
Laugh often!
And...
Fear not!


Go forth knowing that the unconditional love of God the Father Almighty
The Amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The fellowship, communion and the power of the Holy Spirit is with you now
And forever and ever.
And everyone said,
"Amen!

Go get 'em"

To all of you who have been a part of my life, my world, my ministry, there are no words to describe the compete honor it has been and continues to be for me to walk this road with you and for you to walk this road with me...

Thank you!!!
I love you all more than you know...

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

ps - Thank you Julie for always being in the front row, cheering me on, enduring my "family" stories and giving me that slight nod of the head that always said, "Well done David... well done!"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Holding On...



I descended the steps of the Cybercaf√© at the brand new Heritage Center at UD yesterday only to see Joel eating lunch by himself. He looked a little more unkempt than usual as his hair was all tussled and mussed.

I approached Joel and placed my hand on his shoulder and asked how he was doing. He looked up and said, "Oh, hello David."
I sat down with my body leaning toward him with my right forearm securely placed on the table. I asked once again, "How are you doing?"
"Oh fine" was the quick reply from what looked liked quivering lips. Joel placed his shaking fork back down on the plate getting ready to scoop up another bite.

I have a feeling that this will be the case for Joel for awhile. His wife passed away a few weeks ago. She wasn't around yesterday to say to Joel as he left the house, "Oh honey, hold on just a minute... let me fix your hair and for goodness sake, please tuck in your shirt." Those "mothering" words will never sweep over Joel's ears ever again. Only in his mind and heart will he hear and long to hear such things from his lifelong companion and friend, Gilda.

I asked Joel, "How long were you two married?" He placed his fork on the plate and straightened up and with a gleam in his eye he proudly proclaimed, "Forty seven years." My smile and chuckle gave him permission to add this little caveat. "She died one day after our 47th wedding anniversary."

The pause was pregnant...

I inquired, "Do you think she was holding on to celebrate that anniversary with you before she died?"

His voice choked, "The human spirit and will is a mystery. But, yes, I do believe she was holding on for that day."

My iWitness...

His name was Simeon.
Simeon had received the most incredible promise from God...
"You will not die until you see the Savior."

For days, weeks, months, Simeon waited in the temple area waiting to see the Savior.
And then one day...
A young couple arrived on the scene and Simeon asked the important question that he had probably asked a hundred other young couples, "Do you mind if I take a peak at your baby?"
Mary and Joseph complied and listen to what Simeon says...
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2. 29-32)


Basically, Simeon is saying, "Mine eyes have seen the Savior. I have held on to that day which was promised to me and now I can die in peace."

In the magnificent mystery of the human will and spirit combined with the hand of God, Gilda waited for that day... the day that celebrated the 47th anniversary of her and Joel looking into each other's loving eyes where they both celebrated their love for one another and for their God and made the vows that would carry them for 47 years, that they would love each other until death do they part. And then... one day later... Gilda died in peace.

Thank you for holding on Gilda!
Now Joel... until the day arrives when you meet the Savior face to face and you and Gilda are reunited along with all the saints that have gone on before us...
Until then...

Hold on...

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




Monday, August 26, 2013

Encourage One Another



The University of Dubuque welcomed over 600 new students yesterday. A majority of them were Freshman while the others were students transferring in from other institutions of higher learning.
Families gathered together to help their new incoming student move into the resident halls. Picture lots of stairs, bright sunshine, lots of unnecessary stuff that the incoming students thought they needed in their rooms combined with it being the hottest day of the summer!

Toward the end of the day, UD hosted a dinner for everyone.
My responsibility was to get the six lines for dinner moving and pass out plates to people waiting in line.

The family of four from Chicago with their Chicago Blackhawks Championship shirts proudly displayed approached me with their hands out for their plates. I gave the father his plate first and then looking at the mom I said, "Are you the new incoming student?" Like water bursting out of a fire hydrant, her face broke out into one big smile. I looked back at the chuckling father and he and I smiled at one another. Listen to what he said, "That's the first smile she has had all day." I laughed along with the rest of the family. I couldn't help but say, "Well played Dendy! Well played!" The father laughed out loud in full agreement.

It was this lady's first smile of the day because her oldest baby would be out of the nest for the first time in 18 years. This mom has spent everyday of the last 18 years in the presence of her beautiful daughter and within  a couple of hours of my meeting her, she would be saying good-bye.

My iWitness...
It doesn't take much.
In fact, it's free.
A few "well played" words of encouragement can really make someone's day.
I was talking with another friend of mine yesterday who is struggling with a few things.
Do you know how easy it was to take a few moments and remind my dear friend on what a great gift her friendship is to me and to so many others? To remind her that she is incredibly gifted and that God will see her through these challenging times with flying colors?

Offering encouraging words doesn't take long and yet is long on rewards for both parties...

Try it out today...
You never know...
You just might make someone smile for the first time today...

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

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." (Ephesians 4. 29)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Changing Gears



The whole Dendy family went on an eight mile bike ride yesterday. Faith and Joshua had "one gear" bikes while mom and dad had bikes that had "seven gears."

It was an interesting task trying to explain the purpose of the gears as we rode on an old, flat rail line. I put the bike into first gear and showed Faith that by pedaling as fast as I could I was still barely able to keep up with her.

Shifting into seventh gear I then demonstrated that by barely pedaling at all I was going faster than her. She gave me that quizzical look as if to say, "Huh?"

My iWitness...
What gear do you find your life riding in today?

Are you pedaling as fast as you can and moving at a snail's pace?

On the other end of the spectrum are you barely pedaling at all and yet, feel like you are just cruising right along with no worries?

Or maybe the better question would be, "Did you know that you can change gears in the first place?"

I know I am not telling you anything new, but please remember that it is a long, long, long race that we ride. I have met many a people who are exhausted after only a few miles down the trail.

More than likely you have found a gear in which you have found necessary in order to "survive."

Is it possible to step back, take inventory, get off the bike for a day and reassess on what is the best way to use all the gears available to you so that the mountains and valleys are easier to navigate and the flatlands are more enjoyable?

Satisfaction in life will not be found at the end of the trail, but rather along the journey.
Enjoy the ride...
Change gears...

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

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"
(2 Corinthians 13. 5)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tired?



It's happened to you and it's happened to me.
Today, it happened to my 8 year old daughter, Faith.
Many times when "it" happens, others see it in you before you can see it in yourself.
Fatigued... Tired... Tuckered Out...Exhausted...Worn out...Falling apart...

We had spent the day driving to Madison, Wisconsin to see some friends from Oregon, followed by an eight mile bike ride in the Swiss town of New Glarus, Wisconsin.

On our way home, the nitpicking, the whining and the trigger happy temper started to flare.
Julie turned around in the passenger seat and said, "Faith... I know you. You are tired. You are exhausted. Close your eyes, go to sleep and do not say another word."

Faith's quick response was, "I am not tired! I am not going to close my eyes. I am not going to sleep!"

Five minutes later she was fast asleep for the 80 mile drive home...

My iWitness...
I am sure that we have dealt with this topic before but perhaps on this late Saturday night it bears worth repeating.

Are you tired?

Me too...

Perhaps on Sunday, the day of rest, God is saying to each of us, "David (insert your own name), I know you. You are tired. You are exhausted. Close your eyes, go to sleep and do not say another word."

Please spare God and me and those around you with a snarky comeback.

Just admit it...

You are tired...

So am I...

Good night... rest well!

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

Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(Matthew 11. 28)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dead in the Water



You're sailing along, the wind at your back, smooth waters, smiling broadly, the sails fully filled, salty sea spraying sprinkles on your warm face and then all of a sudden someone takes the "wind" out of your sails and now you are "dead in the water."

I wish I could make this stuff up.
I saw a group of people "dead in the water" yesterday.
Here's the deal...
I felt completely powerless and helpless!
I was in the boat with them and as much as I huffed and puffed to get the sails going again, my breath was just that... empty wind that could not generate enough power to move us forward one inch.

My iWitness...

What would happen if the whole lesson to be learned was that we were in the boat together and being "dead in the water together" is what was going to make us stronger?

What would happen if the whole lesson to be learned was that we were being called to be patient and "wait on the Lord" to fill our sails again?

Once again... I wish I could make this stuff up.
It really did happen one day...

Jesus made the disciples get in a boat and off into the night they sailed with the winds buffeting up against them, making the night very tempestuous.

Jesus comes strolling on the water and the disciples freak out until they realize that the "ghost on the water" is "God's Son on the water." Peter wants to join Jesus. Jesus says, "Come on out!"

Peter walks out on the water and before long he realizes what he is doing - walking on water! The wind, the waves and the wild reality of him walking on the water hit his doubting mind like a ton of bricks and taking his eyes off of Jesus, Peter sinks...

Jesus reaches out and saves Peter.

What gets lost in that story so many times is the mind blowing fact that Peter walked on the water and the other eleven disciples did not.

What would happen if the whole lesson to be learned was that if I am going to walk on water then I need to get out of the boat!

Lesson learned!

I am getting out of the boat!

I am going to walk on the water!! Want to join me?

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

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14. 28-33)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Power of Exclusion


 
 
It was only the second day of school in the new school year yesterday and "it" has already begun.

You've experienced "it" firsthand.

You remember "it's" sting.

You remember "it's" power.

You can still taste "it."

Sometimes "it" tasted sweet... other times "it" tasted bitter.

Whatever "it" tastes like to you now matters not.

The power of "it" remains as strong today as it did for me 42 years ago as an entering third grader at a brand new school, in a brand new town, in a brand new state.

The "it" to which I refer is "the power of exclusion."

Remember the "cliques"?
The groups?
The sound of "you can't play with us" slapping you in the face?

The power of exclusion is a force to be reckoned with...

My iWitness...

I am particularly sensitive to this topic as I was deeply scarred by "it" as a young boy on the street in which I grew up.

For reasons which need not be rehashed, I was excluded from playing any games or playing with any of the other children on my street for six months. It wasn't that my parents told me that I could not play with them. It was the other children along with their parents who told them, "Do not play with that boy, David Dendy."

There I would stand... across the street and watch them play basketball... totally ignored.
There I would sit on the curb and see the delight in their faces as they played football... as if I wasn't there.
There I would stand at their front doors and knock... and the door would not be answered.

Ever since...

I have always been one to say, "Come on over!" "Come join in!" "You can play with us!"

My hope is that the "power of inclusion" will win the battle against the "power of exclusion."

Will you join with me in that fight?

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

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” (John 4. 7-15)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School

Faith and Joshua bounded off to the Irving Elementary School yesterday for their first day of third and second grade respectively.
Mrs. Bradley and Mrs. Houselog are in for a treat in teaching my children.
There will be days when my children "get it."
There will be days when they don't "get it."

For those days that they don't, I have only one simple request... Please be patient with my children...

My iWitness...

There is something very consistent in the stories where Jesus heals people.
They are healed "instantly"!

You can't walk?
Jesus says, "Get up and walk!"
And guess what? You get up and dance Gangnam Style!

You can't see?
Jesus says, "You are healed!"
And guess what? The color of life has never been so vivid!

You are dead?
Jesus says, "Rise!"
And guess what? You have just turned the funeral service into a full blown party!

You have a disease like leprosy?
Jesus says, "Be clean!"
And guess what? You're starring in the next "Dove" commercial for flawless skin!

But.... wait a minute!!
There is one story that defies the odds.
There's this blind man. His friends bring him to Jesus begging him to touch and heal their blind friend. (Never underestimate the power of friends when it comes to "saving faith.")
Jesus spits in the blind man's eyes! (Probably safe to say, "Don't be like Jesus when it comes to this practice!)
The "Savior of Sight" asks the blind man, "Do you see anything?"
The blind man's response is disappointing to those of us who want everything instantaneous, "I see people, but they look like trees walking."

Jesus places the hands that carved out the oceans and hung the moon on this man's eyes one more time and the man opens his eyes and "saw everything clearly." (Mark 8 25)

Thank you Jesus for not giving up on this man!
Thank you Jesus for not allowing this man to be satisfied with "blurred" vision.
Thank you Jesus for taking the extra moment to make sure that this man could see clearly.

And now O Lord,
please hear this request...
please hear my begging...
For I am a man of blurred vision!
I want to "get it" the first time and at 50 years of age, there a number of things I still don't see clearly.

One simple request today... Please be patient with me, your child.

I really do want to see clearly...

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


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I can see clearly now?

My tennis playing partner, Ben is a new dad. His baby girl is about one month old or so. I asked him last night how things were going. He said everything was going great. And then he made this observation... "She must be going through some sort of developmental stage. She's able to see things better these days. She seems to focus on objects better."

My iWitness...

It seems to me that I must go through these type of "developmental stages" about every month or so myself!!

How about you?

What do you see better today than you did 10 years ago? 10 months ago? 10 minutes ago?

What comes first?

Do life experiences shape how we see things?
Or...
Does the word of God shape how we see things?
Or...
Both?

The good news is that the loving eyes of the Father are always upon us and He sees us as the ones He created, knitted, formed and presented to the world years ago.
That view never changes.
That stage remains the same...

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

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13. 8)

 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yellow Jackets

I had just won the first set in the semi-finals of a tennis tournament yesterday. On the changeover I went over to the side of the court and reached for my water bottle. As I grabbed the top of the bottle, unbeknownst to me, there was a yellow jacket menacingly perched on my bottle as well.
The natural result took place... I got stung right on my left pinkie. Ouch!
My opponent asked, "Are you okay?" I responded with an irritated, "Yes."
He came back with, "At least you're not allergic to bees."
I looked at him and half-heartedly laughed and said, "Oh yes I am..."

My iWitness...

Call me strange... but this verse went through my mind as I was dealing with this bee sting...
"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?    O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15. 51-56)
 
What good news is this for the followers of Jesus!
Death is menacing!
Death is difficult!
For some, death is the end.
 
But not for the Christians!
With full assurance...
With bold confidence...
With almost mocking smirks...
We proclaim...

O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
You're a "stingerless" bee!!
 
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!!
 
Have a great Monday knowing full well, that though the day will come where we will die..
We shall live again!!
 
And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!
 
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Serve

I found myself playing in two tennis tournaments this past weekend. Last night, with tennis on his mind, Joshua asked a most profound question, "Daddy, will you teach me to serve?"

My iWitness...

Jesus made it very clear...

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve... (Matthew 20. 28)

How's your "serve" doing lately?

Look for ways this week to serve.

They say, "More is caught than taught."

I hope Joshua catches me serving and in the catching may he be taught to serve.

That would be one of my greatest joys...

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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Bellevue Water Ski Show

I just spent the last two hours watching the Bellevue Water Ski Show on the Mississippi River just below the "#12 Docks."

It was amazing to watch the precision of a team of people - water skiers, boat drivers, dockside rope technicians and the necessary equipment coming together to pull off incredible pyramids, barefoot water skiing tricks and helicopter jumps off the jump ramp.

Everyone had a role and each person played their part to perfection.
Of course a few times people fell but the show went on with grace and beauty.

My iWitness...

Paul was quite clear when he compared the Church, the Body of Christ to our physical bodies.

In our physical bodies everything has to work in concert with other parts of the body to do just a simple task as walking down the street. Muscles are contracting and stretching, inner ear crystals are providing balance and the sense of spatial touch and feel help us to walk without falling down.

How about in our workplace?
How about in our family?
How about in our community?
How about in our church?

Are we playing well with others?
Do we know what our defined roll is?
How do we allow our "part" to fulfill the purpose of the "whole"?

Wherever we find ourselves, let's make it our aim, purpose and highest goal to be in sync in such a way so that the body that we are working within flows flawlessly.

Who knows?
The next thing you know, you just might be water skiing barefoot!

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

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12. 12-13)



Friday, August 16, 2013

Bazooka Bubblegum...

After dinner last night I took the kids to "Beecher's" for some ice cream.
On the way there the kids broke out in singing this crazy song...
The Bazooka Bubble Gum song!

My mom gave me a penny,
She said to buy a henny,
But I didn't buy a henny,
Instead I bought bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum.

My mom gave me a nickel,
She said to buy a pickle,
But I didn't buy a pickle,
Instead I bought bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum.


And so the song goes on and on with more rhymes about our American currency...
My mom gave me a dime...
My mom gave me a quarter...
My mom gave me a dollar...

It ends with...
My mom gave me a five,
She said to stay alive,
But I didn't stay alive,
Instead I choked on,
Bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum,
Bazooka-zooka,
Bubblegum
.
My iWitness...

I am sure that this song has been around for years!
But for me it was brand new.

As I write today I am listening to my music on iTunes. Some of the songs I am listening to are old (Elvis' - Teddy Bear) and some of them are brand new (Audio Adrenaline - Kings and Queens).

The scriptures encourage us to "Sing a new song..."

Do you know this song?
It's about three thousand years old.
It may be a new song for you.
It's been a long time since I have listened to it.
Let me share the lyrics with you this day...
May this "old" song be a "new" song on the lips of your heart this day...

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Psalm 96. 1-13)
 
What new song will you sing this day?
 
And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!
 
ps - While you sing, please don't choke on the Bazooka Bubble Gum!

 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pressure

Here's a fun fact for the day...

There are 14.667 pounds of air pressure per square inch on your body.

If there was no pressure on our bodies then we would literally fall apart.

It's the pressure that holds us together...

My iWitness...

Are you facing any pressures today?

Work?
Family?
Decisions?
Relationships?
Marriage?
Co-Worker?
Performance anxiety?
Fear of failure?
Deadlines?
Fear of success?
The unknown?
Anticipation of an upcoming event or test?

I know that I am not alone when I say, "I am feeling the pressure today..."

I wonder what will hold me together today?
The atmospheric pressure of 14.667 pounds of pressure per square inch?
Or the loving arms of God wrapped around me holding me tight?

I'm going with God today...

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

39 And he (Jesus) came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22. 39-46)



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Flat Tires

There I was in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there. I walk out the front door of my good friend's home, the Meriwether's and what to my wondering eyes should appear but my left rear tire on my rental car is as flat as a pancake (just on one side!).

Bruce and I were on our way to breakfast. We had things to do, places to go, pancakes to eat, bacon to devour!

In a matter of minutes I had the tire off and the spare on. Bruce and I ate our breakfast and then I drove 70 miles to the  city of Wausau, Wisconsin to the Tires Plus store. In 30 minutes they had the tire repaired and I was on my way.

From what Chad, the serviceman had told me, I had evidently run over a nail.

A nail had caused my tire to go flat...

My iWitness...

Are the spiritual wheels in your life fully inflated these days?

I am told that under inflated tires makes for poor gas mileage and overall poor car performance.

And a "flat tire" makes it hard to go anywhere at all...

Maybe it's time to take our spiritual wheels in for a check up and let a "technician" take a look at them and see if they can get us back on the road again at full speed.

A nail caused my tire to go flat.
A nail here and a nail there and one more nail down there caused the Savior of the world to be hung up on a cross and flattened his life so that we could be filled with the air of the Holy Spirit. Of course, once they removed the nails from his hands and feet and three days in the "shop", Jesus was back on the road again at full speed!!

Here's the good news...
It wasn't the nails that held him on the cross...
It was his love for you that kept him there!

May His love inflate you in such a way so as to be at full speed today!

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

"Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son set you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8. 34-36)





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Violators will be Confronted!

Yesterday I ventured into territory I had never been in before... The Northwoods of Wisconsin. As I was following my host down a private one lane gravel road to his home I drove by this sign...

Private Road
Violators will be Confronted



My iWitness...

Don't you just love confrontation!!
Nothing better than getting into someone's face about something they have done to violate a moral code, your space, code of conduct or some other wrong that needs immediate correcting by none other than You!!

If that describes you... I will be praying for you... LOL!

I don't run into a whole lot of people who "love to confront."

And yet... what does Jesus have to say about such things?

Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses."

As much as it is important to pay attention to what Jesus says, it is sometimes equally important to pay attention to what Jesus does not say...

Notice that Jesus did not say...
"If your brother of sister sins against you...
- hold it inside for years and years and at the most inappropriate moment around the dinner table over Christmas dinner blurt out your accusations in front of the whole extended family!

- send an email blast to all of your friends and co-workers slamming this person so that as many people as possible can see how righteous you are and how sinful the other person is.

- send a text message in all caps so as to emphasize your admonition and be sure to use the little "emoticons" that have sad faces and faces with "x's" as eyes to get your point across.

- wait until all of your friends are in a circle with the alleged offender in the middle and then and only then, drop the bomb on them so as to maximize the humiliation.

Now, let's pay attention to what Jesus did say...

Go to him or her,
tell him or her your concern,
between you and him or between you and her.

Personally
Prayerfully
Privately
Peacefully

Hopefully what comes out of that is brotherhood, sisterhood, a stronger bond and a tighter sense of community, love and friendship.

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





Monday, August 12, 2013

#31

Yesterday, August 11, 2013 by a vote of 138-0, the Reverend Stuart Bond was voted in to be the 31st pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Seventeen months ago to the day I preached my last sermon at the First Presbyterian Church, Klamath Falls, Oregon after seven and a half years of being Pastor #30.

My iWitness...

Moses is 120 years old. He has lived quite the life. The God of Israel has told him, "the time has come for you lie down with your fathers..."

Moses led the people to the Promised Land but he will not cross the Jordan River into the promised land. That is for someone else to do.

It's time for Moses to pass the torch of leadership on to his successor Joshua.

"Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31. 7-8, 23)

Have you ever "passed the torch" to someone else?
To a successor in business?
To a homeowner after growing up in a home?
To a coach on a sports team?
To a son-in-law or daughter-in-law who now takes on a leadership role in your son or daughter's life?

For seven and half years I had the greatest privilege to serve the people of the First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

One of the mantras of our congregation during those years was "Fear Not."

As the torch was passed to Joshua, the Lord said to him, "Do not fear..."

So the Lord says to my successor and I could not agree more...

"Stuart... be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of the First Presbyterian Church into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you... Do not fear..."

This is my prayer, this is my hope...
from #30 to #31...

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

ps - Hey Stuart.... Don't forget to also "Laugh Often!!!" I know you will...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Arithmetic of a Healthy Relationship

Two fine looking young "twenty somethings" descended upon Dubuque from Milwaukee, Wisconsin yesterday with one purpose... to ask me if I would officiate their marriage ceremony on May 3, 2014. Nicole is my wife Julie's cousin's daughter... Dustin is the groom to be.

I have known Nicole for close to 15 years and I have a rather discerning eye and a big baseball bat when it comes to the men who want to court her. Dustin need not worry! What fun to sit with the two of them and watch them interact with one another, me, Julie and Faith and Joshua.

We started talking about what makes a relationship "healthy."
I looked at them and said, "It's simple arithmetic to a healthy relationship."

Dustin, as an accountant got all excited. Believe it or not, as an accountant he really does have a personality!!

My iWitness...

Let's take a look at general arithmetic...

We have....

Addition...
Subtraction...
Multiplication...
Division...
Fractions...

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself in regards to any relationship with any person...

1. Addition - Does this person "add" good characteristics to your being and to your life? Are you "more" of who you are when you are with this person?

2. Subtraction - Does this person "subtract" or "take away" the important characteristics of your being that make you, uniquely you? Are  you "less" of who you are when you are with this person?

3. Multiplication - Does this person multiply your friendships, acquaintances, family connections, hobbies, interests and desires in life?

4. Division - Does this person "divide" you from your family, your friends, your interests, your hobbies, your gifts, your talents, your skills?

5. Fractions - We are always just a fraction of being "whole." In order to become "whole" you need to have a "common denominator" with another person so that the two of you can be added up to make "one." What is the common denominator you have with this other person? Drinking? Great sex? Bar hopping? Sports? Work? Neighbors? Children? Gambling? Hobbies? Special interests? The love of Jesus?

Nicole and Dustin... I do believe that this relationship "adds" up to something great!!
I would be more than privileged to officiate the wedding ceremony that brings the two of you together in holy matrimony!

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

"Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." (Genesis 2. 24)


Saturday, August 10, 2013

What are you waiting for?

The headline in the newspaper yesterday read as follows:

Minnesota man claims
share of Powerball win


Paul White, a 45 year old project engineer from Ham Lake, Minnesota will receive $58.3 million after taxes.
That's a lot of money!!
More money than I can even imagine.

The Associated Press writers, Geoff Mulvihill and Steve Karnowski went on to quote Paul White as saying...

"I've totally been waiting for this day my entire life.
Start the clock right now."


My iWitness...

How does that last quote strike you?
I cannot even begin to think what I would say at a press conference if I had just won 58 million dollars.

Due to the fact that I am writing about Paul White's quote, it is obvious that his words have stuck with me and pricked my own heart and mind in such a way as to make me really ponder about his proclamation, "I've totally been waiting for this day my entire life. Start the clock right now."

Is there a "day" that you have been waiting for your entire life?
Wedding day?
Vacation day?
The day you make a six figure salary?
The day the kids leave the house?
The day that an estranged loved one comes home?
The day you become famous?
The day you become a mom or a dad?
The day you discover what your purpose in life truly is?

When does the "clock" start ticking on such things?
I would say for Paul White the clock started 45 years ago.
The clock for me has been ticking for 50 years, 5 months and 5 days.

This raises a whole set of questions for me. Does it for you?

For Jesus the start of his public ministry started after he was tempted in the desert for 40 days by the devil. He was 30 years old.
Had he been waiting for that day his whole life?
Did the clock start on that day?

I think not...
The clock started ticking when God decided to send His only begotten Son to save the world from itself.

The day that Jesus had been waiting for his entire life was a Friday where he was stripped, beaten, spit upon, hammered to a cross piece of timber and hoisted into the air on another piece of wood for all the world to mock and throw insults his way. It was a day of loving sacrifice for the whole world.

Another day that Jesus had been waiting for his entire life was a Sunday morning when he rolled the stone away from the encased tomb... not to get out but to let us in to see that he really was resurrected from the dead! It was a day of redemption, victory and salvation for the whole world.

There is one more day that Jesus has been waiting for his entire life.
It is the same day that I have been waiting for my entire life.
I have no idea when that day will arrive.
Jesus knows, but he won't tell me.

That day when I have the compete and unabashed joy of looking Jesus face to face, eye to eye and wrap my arms around him and feel the strength, the grace, the love, the mercy of his arms enveloping me.

That's what I am waiting for...
How about you?

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

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." (1 Corinthians 13. 12)




Friday, August 9, 2013

On this day... August 9th

On this day...
August 9th...
Some people will remember that this is the day in 1974 that the 37th President of the United States of America, Richard Milhous Nixon resigned from the presidency. He is the only president in the 237 year history of the USA that has resigned...

Some of you may be thinking... "How in the world does David remember or even know this little bit of trivia."

Very simple...
On this day, August 9th my dad was born in Clinton, South Carolina in 1929.

Although Dad has been dead for three years, 3 months and 15 days, August 9th will forever be etched on my mind and heart as the day that God presented Marshall Coleman Dendy, Jr. to this world. For 46 years I had the privilege and joy of celebrating 46 of his 80 birthday celebrations.

Football season has started and every time the San Diego Chargers play, I am reminded of the season tickets we used to enjoy. We used to have season tickets to the Los Angeles Lakers as well. But after a certain "not so good" season Dad gave up the tickets. Of course the very next month the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson.

Two things stick out about my dad that I carry with me.
He told me when I was 43 years old that we was proud of me for the very first time. Somewhere around April 15, 2010 he told me that he loved me and was proud of me for the very last time. He died 10 days later. I will always treasure those words. I have made sure that I pass those same sentiments and powerful words on to my children on a daily basis.

The second thing is that Dad was a dreamer. He always had a big plan. Big ideas. He was always going to make a million dollars. He always knew that the next business plan would generate enough income to retire comfortably and that he would pass on those millions to me and my sister. He died without a penny to his name. He died with his big dreams still intact. I'm a dreamer too...I may dream about different things, but I always dream of a better day, a bigger accomplishment, an impossible thing becoming possible...

On this day... August 9th
I celebrate my dad...
I miss him...

My iWitness...
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6. 4)
To all the dads out there... "do not provoke your children to anger...bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" and let them know that you're proud of them and that you love them and that you share your dreams with them and most of all that you share your very selves with them.

On this day... August 9th

What will you celebrate?
Who will you remember?
Who will you honor?
Whose legacy will you pass on?
What dreams are you pursuing?

Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, Sons and Daughters...
Today is August 9, 2013!
There will never be another day like this one!
Make it a day worth remembering...
so that one day, someone just might look back and say...
I will never forget what happened on August 9th...

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


That's my dad on the far right.
That's me on my grandfather's shoulders
That's my grandmother making sure that I don't fall!!
They're all gone...
I miss them all...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Open House?

Last night the University of Dubuque held an "Open House" at its brand new performing arts and student center... the Heritage Center.

I found myself at the front doors welcoming the masses, directing the curious and offering an open invitation to all who would enter, "Feel free to roam at your leisure. We are glad you are here!"

One inquisitive gentleman approached me and asked, "Can we go backstage?"

With all the confidence in the world I quickly responded with, "Uh... I don't know... um... uh... let me find out."

I tracked down the director of the Heritage Center and he openly said, "Absolutely! All the doors are unlocked. We want to be as open and transparent as we can be..."

My iWitness...

 When I was in Junior High School someone at church introduced me to a little booklet (28 pages) entitled, "My Heart - Christ's Home" by Robert Boyd Munger, an ordained Presbyterian Minister.

It was a quick and yet very profound read.
The booklet invited the reader to imagine their heart as a home with all the typical rooms and nooks and crannies that all homes possess.
Now imagine that there is someone knocking on the front door and that someone is Jesus. In the joy of this new found relationship with Jesus, Munger proceeds to walk through each room of the house as an analogy of inviting Jesus into every room of your heart.

In the living room we meet and sit with Jesus on a daily basis. In the kitchen we share with him our appetites... all of our appetites and with the help of Jesus how to establish healthy eating habits which are good for our hearts as well as how to curb certain appetites which are harmful to our hearts. And so the book goes...
First preached in 1947, the message "surrendering the totality of my heart to Jesus" has stuck with me for over 37 years.

The question is raised over and over through this book and through my life.

Is my Heart an "Open House" to Jesus?

With his daily knocking, is my response each day, "Feel free to roam at your leisure. I am glad you are here."?

If you are anything like me, there are closets and other rooms that are under lock and key with only me knowing the contents. It has a big sign on the door that says, "Do Not Disturb!"

How transparent will I be today with myself and with my houseguest?
Will I even let Jesus past the front entry way?

May all of us open the doors of hearts this day and say to the One who gently, joyfully and persistently knocks, "Come on in..."

Oh...Pardon me... I need to excuse myself...
There's someone knocking at the front door...

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

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3. 20)