Monday, September 30, 2013

On being late...

Saturday was a crazy, "dad being the taxi" kind of day.
Julie was working.
I was helping coach the UD Women's Tennis Team which had a match at 9:00 am. It would last until 11:38 am.
Faith had to be at basketball practice at a Free Basketball Clinic held at Loras College at 8:30 am.
Joshua had football practice from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

As was our usual routine, when Mom is not around on a Saturday morning, we set off for "Donut Boy" to get our standard, "Donut Holes, Chocolate Covered Long John, and Chocolate Covered Cream Filled" donuts.

I had Faith at Loras College for basketball at 8:15 am and was out the door by 8:30 am. The lead coach told me that the clinic would be over at 9:45 am. I smiled and said, "See you then!"
I made it over to the University of Dubuque by 8:42 and then welcomed everyone to the match at 9:00 am by announcing the starting line ups for the mighty Spartans of the University of Dubuque.

I was out on the court coaching the number three doubles team when all of  a sudden I looked down at my watch and the face of it in a matter of fact way stated, "9:42 am".

I ran off the court, grabbed Joshua and said, "Let's go! We have to go get Faith!"

Off we sped (figuratively, not literally) to pick up Faith.

Joshua and I walked into the gym at Loras College at 9:52 am.

The next clinic had already started and I looked around for about 20 seconds before Faith came running up to me... eyes red... face tear streaked...and then she buried her face into my side crying..."Daddy, where were you? I thought you had forgotten to pick me up!"

My iWitness...

Have you ever felt like Faith?
Me too...

As the Father, I knew I would be picking up Faith.
As the Father, I knew that I would never abandon or forsake Faith.
As the Father, I knew that I would never leave my precious daughter in the hands of the "enemy, crosstown rival Duhawks of Loras College"!
As the Father, I was on my way...

But Faith...
precious little Faith became scared on my being late...
And the tears began to flow...

Have you ever wondered about God's timing?
What I don't like about God's timing is that it is always on His time and NOT MINE!
Doesn't He understand I have things to do and complete and achieve and secure and I need Him to show up and do His little wonders of protection, miracles and signs on MY time, not His...

As the Father, He knows He will be with me always...
As the Father, He knows that He will never abandon or forsake me...
As the Father, He would never leave me in the hands of the enemy without proper "armor of God" support...
As the Father, He is on the way...

All that to say, if the mind has begun to wonder, if the heart has started to ache, if the soul has begun to feel isolated and the faith has started to falter...
Hold on...Abba (daddy) has not forgotten you...
More than likely, He is not late at all,
But rather right on time...

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

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31. 6)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Breaking Bad" Finale - How will it all end?

I don't watch much TV outside of sports and movies. I am totally clueless on network shows such as "The Big Bang Theory" even though "everyone" tells me it is the funniest show ever!! A few weeks ago a friend of mine suggested that I start watching the AMC TV series, "Breaking Bad" about a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer and then makes the "logical" choice to start manufacturing "meth" as a way to leave a "boatload" of money to his family after he dies.

From the first episode I watched on Netflix I was hooked. After watching on average an "episode" a night I am all caught up and the finale is tonight!!

Walter White is on the run in New Hampshire in a self imposed witness protection program while the government has no idea where he is. He is on the move again after watching a former business partner totally diss him on live TV. His wife and son and daughter are in total legal limbo as wife Skyler really is an accomplice. His lab partner Jesse Pinkman's face looks like it has been put through a meat grinder after the Neo-Nazi thugs have beat the daylights out of him for telling the Feds all about them and having tried to escape, the consequence being Jesse's true love shot at point blank right before his eyes.

Tonight, Sunday, September 29, 2013 the finale airs on AMC at 9:00 Eastern/ 8:00 Central.
Then and only then will we find out "how will it all end?"

My iWitness...

I have theories, hunches and hopes for how "Breaking Bad" will end tonight.
But, in reality, I have no idea.

What about our own lives?
How will our lives end?
We can devise theories, hunches and hopes.
But, in reality, we have no idea.

What about "history" itself?
Here's the good news!
We don't have to devise theories, hunches or hopes.
In reality, we know how "His Story" ends!

Jesus wins!
Oh sure the battle goes on right now, but in reality, the war is over.
Jesus is victorious!
You can take that to the bank!

In the end, the dead shall be raised in the last resurrection of the dead.
Jesus reigns on high!
Every foe is ultimately defeated...
And the love, grace, mercy, and peace of God the Father Almighty, The Amazing Grace of God The Son, Jesus Christ, and The Power of God the Holy Spirit reigns and lives and endures forever and ever and ever...and we get to be in His presence forever as well! Oh my!!!

Forgive me for not offering the headline "Spoiler Alert" in regards to how history will end, but I just really thought you should know... just in case you didn't.

In this I take great comfort, joy and delight!
I love good endings!
Don't you?

Oops... I gotta run... I have only 3 hours left until I find out how "Breaking Bad" will end...

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

"But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4. 13-18)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

51 minutes...

Have you ever wondered if your life is making a difference?

My son's second grade teacher had a granddaughter born last Monday, September 23rd.
Listen to this announcement in our local newspaper on Thursday, September 26th...

Savannah Jane Houselog, baby daughter of Andy and Beth Houselog, of Dubuque, was taken into eternal happiness at 9:45 am on Monday, September 23, 2013, after gracing the world with her presence for 51 minutes.

My iWitness...
I was getting dressed for work yesterday morning and Julie dropped the obituary section of the paper on my lap and said, "If you want a really good cry, read this." I read the opening paragraph and started to gasp for my breath as tears overfilled my eyes and began racing down my cheek finding the finish line at my chin.

The obituary went on to explain that at the routine 20 week ultrasound checkup some medical complications were noticed and explained to Andy and Beth that should this baby go to full term the likely outcome would be a very short life. Andy and Beth decided to go full term. Along the way they took Savannah to a Red Sox game, a hot air balloon ride, motorcycle, boat and hayrides. Evidently, Savannah loved DQ blizzards, Dove chocolates and adored the voices of her big sister and big brother reading to her as she would kick her legs in the delight of their voices. She used to kick so much that the older sister nicknamed Savannah, "Bumblebee."

Savannah changed the world in which she lived.
Her beautiful face, her soft cry and her legacy of unconditional love to her family will never be forgotten.
The obituary went on to declare the great faith of the Houselog family as they joyfully shared how Savannah was greeted at heaven's gates by her big sister Sylvia and her great grandparents.
The obituary ended with these words of incredible perspective...

"We would rather have
had one breath of her hair,
one kiss of her mouth, one
touch of her hand, than an

eternity without it."

Let me close with the same question I opened with...
"Have you ever wondered if your life is making a difference?"

Whether you have been alive for...
51 years
51 months
51 days
or even
51 minutes...

The answer is a definite, "YES!"
If no one has told you lately, then let me have the honors...

God has knitted you together with great care and with greater love.
The way your eyes smile,

The tenderness of your touch,
The uniqueness of your voice,
The strength of your hugs,
The creativity of your mind,
The love of your heart,
The humor of your laughter,

Oh dear child of God...
I would rather have a moment of any of those things,

than an eternity without it...

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

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90. 12)

Friday, September 27, 2013


We all do it...
We all need it...
We all neglect it...
We all love it...

What are we talking about?

I haven't been putting in too many hours of sleep lately and yesterday my body rose up and said, "Enough is enough!"

I basically laid down at 5:45 pm yesterday and woke up at 5:45 am this morning. The only reason I woke up was because the alarm was going off. I probably could have slept another hour or so.

I can't even begin to remember the last time I had 12 hours of sleep.

My iWitness...

I have no doubt that I have written about this before, but it bears worth repeating.

We all need to rest
to shut down
to recover
to sleep

God has wired our bodies to rest and recover. If we are truly made in God's image then we, like Him, need to rest.

"And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation." (Genesis 2. 2-3)

Do you have any plans to rest in the next few days?
Do you have any plans to sleep in the next few days?

If you don't, then maybe take the next day or two to sleep on it...

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Other Chair

It was such a simple experiment with the most predictable of outcomes I am embarrassed to even mention it here in this public forum.
And yet, like a toddler who just has to touch the hot stove, I put my hand out to test this most simplistic of observations.

I walked outside this morning as part of my morning ritual ( See 9/24 blog). There's a chair sitting out near the driveway that Julie must have been sitting in yesterday as the kids were out in the front yard.

The cool crisp air kissed my cheeks and I thought for a moment about just sitting down on the chair to enjoy the moonlit sky. I put my hand out on to the cushion and it was drenched with the morning dew.

I made my way up the front walkway and there is another chair sitting under the cover of the front porch. Silly me... I tentatively put my hand out to touch "the other chair" and guess what?

It was as dry as it could be...

My iWitness...

One chair wet with dew.

"The other chair"... dry as the desert.

All because "the other chair" was under a cover that kept it away from the falling dew.
The dew fell.
But it didn't land on the "the other chair."

Do you ever feel like "the other chair"?
Does it appear to you that others around you are getting drenched in the dew of God's grace and mercy while you sit there dry as a bone?

Let's be clear... God's grace, like the dew falls each and everyday.

I wonder if sometimes we purposefully or unknowingly place ourselves in situations or conditions that prevent us from enjoying the morning ritual of God's dew gently raining down upon us.

Maybe we are afraid to get wet...
Maybe we know what feeling "dry" is all about and we don't want to risk getting "wet" because we don't really know what that would be like.

Let me offer these simplistic yet difficult words...
"Come on out! The dew is fine!"

Is there something covering you up and keeping you from receiving the full breadth and depth of God's grace and mercy?

Maybe today is the day to move away from "the other chair."

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

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.
By His knowledge the deeps were broken up
And the skies drip with dew. (Proverbs 3. 19-20)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Making plans...

One of the two adults in my home is a planner.
The other one is not.
One is detail oriented.
The other one is not.
One asks the question, "Is it on the calendar?"
The other one aimlessly asks, "Anything going on this weekend?"
One has the day mapped out.
The other one inquires of the planner, "Where am I supposed to be today?"
One loves the fact that A + B + C = D
The other one basks in the observation of, "Isn't it great that we have letters like A, B, C and D!"

So... yesterday when the other one proposed that we sit down and figure out some "calendar" items, the one was ecstatic beyond recognition.
So... there we sat...together... making plans...

My iWitness...

What did you have planned for yesterday?

How much of what you had planned on doing actually came to fruition?

What do you have planned for today?

What is your best guess on how much you will actually accomplish of that which you have planned?

Let's go up a little higher in elevation and get a "bird's eye" view of our life...

What do you have planned for this month? Between now and Christmas? This year?

Here's an age old question...

How much of that which you are planning on doing and being in the very near future actually align with the plans God has for you?

The age old question has an age old answer...

I love the Apostle Paul's opening lines in Chapter 12 of his letter to the Church in Rome...

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12.  1-2)

I have an idea that "the one" in my home will be thrilled when I put on the calendar the following items...

1. Living sacrifice
2. Do not be conformed by this world
3. Transform by renewal of my mind
4. Test, test, and test some more
5. Discern, discern, discern and discern some more what is the will of God
6. Practice what is good and acceptable and perfect

I'm making plans!
What is your plan?

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Morning Ritual

The Morning Ritual is the same every morning. (That's why we call it a ritual!!)
The alarm goes off.
I wake up, think to myself, "Really? Already?"
I make my way to the front door clad in my pajama plaid bottoms while my little miniature American Eskimo of a dog named Lily awaits with wagging tail as her outstretched front paws press on the front door just below the handle.
I turn off the front porch lights because they are just too bright against the darkened sky.
I saunter gingerly in my fur lined moccasins to the driveway to pick up the rubber band bound newspaper.
This morning I was amazed at how the strength of the moonbeam lit up my front yard. The cloudless, crisp 49 degree air welcomed me in silence as the near full moon waved, "Good morning old man!!"
With the newspaper lightly held in my left hand, I gazed at the moon wondering if the man who lived there really did just live off of the cheese which the moon was made of.
My neck craned in a way that allowed my eyes to take in the full wonder of the predawn sky.
With a little bit of orientation my eyes found the ever present "Little Dipper" with "Polaris" (The North Star) at the tip.
And of course with just a twist of the neck the "Big Dipper" poured out its morning dose of stardust.
Other stars twinkled and winked at me as if I was the only one in the world worth paying attention to.
And then... it was time to go back inside to continue the morning ritual...

My iWitness...

 I am sometimes lost in the thought that my namesake David, from the Bible, might have had the same morning ritual. I wonder how many times David went out to get the morning news and looked upward and saw the exact same starry formations that inspired him to pen these words...

 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
In all of my poetic prose this morning I am reduced to these thirteen words...
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
I think I will add those thirteen words to my morning ritual...
How about you?
And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!

Monday, September 23, 2013


I renewed a favorite routine of mine last night. I went to see the late show at the local movie theater. This used to be my Sunday night ritual when I was pastoring in Klamath Falls, Oregon. After staying up to all hours on Saturday night, preaching three services on Sunday morning and then taking a two hour nap on Sunday afternoon, I discovered that going to the late show on Sunday night was just about the best "Sabbath" practice I had ever experienced. Typically, I was the only person in the whole theater which allowed me to totally relax, sink down into the seat and escape into the land of rest, relaxation and reflection.

I arrived at the theater at 10:15 pm. My car was the tenth car in the parking lot. As the "ticket girl" gave me my ticket she said, "You'll be the only one in the theater." "Sweet" was my thought. I made my way to Theater #1 to see the weekend's top box office hit "Prisoners" starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Terence Howard.

I had a lot of seats to choose from so I went to the third row up and took the middle seat. I did something totally radical once I found my seat....

I completely disregarded the plea from the big screen telling me to turn off my cell phone. "Ha", I chuckled to myself. I can talk to anyone I want to during the movie if I so choose. I am the master of my own domain here in Theater #1.

While enjoying the upcoming movie trailers my cell phone buzzed at 10:30 letting me know that I had a message. I had a Facebook message from a very dear friend of mine that I have known over thirty years. The message instantly froze me in my chair while the Dolby Surround Sound fell on my deaf ears...

"D! Hope you are well. We are not. "T" (wife's name) was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive stomach cancer Thursday. We see the oncologist surgeon tomorrow at 11:00 am. We are in serious need of mercy and a miracle... Will keep you posted. "M"

My iWitness...

I found it incredibly ironic that I was getting ready to watch a movie called "Prisoners" when this Facebook message fell into my unsuspecting lap.

The movie "Prisoners" begins by having two young girls kidnapped. I quickly began to see that there were more "prisoners" in this movie than just the two girls.

I couldn't help but think that the infamous kidnapper "Cancer" had just abducted my friend's wife last Thursday.

I am so sick and tired of this villain known as "Cancer" who continues to prowl around our world, unencumbered and without discrimination snatching men, women, boys and girls out of the clutches of what we know as life.

My friend's beloved wife is being held prisoner.
My strong and faithful friend is held captive waiting to see if "Cancer" will release her.
The oncologist surgeon is at the mercy of the tenacity of the cancer.
My friend's children are thrown into the prison cell of worrying and wondering if their most beautiful mom will live to see them get married, hold their children or even be able to open up Christmas presents on Christmas day which is three months and two days away.
I find myself within the grip of "Cancer's" talons as once again it has smacked me and mocked me as I get down on my knees to pray for "mercy and a miracle."

There is only one person in this whole struggle who is free...


God is free to heal my friend's wife and God is free not to heal.
God is only held captive to His love and to His will.
His love for my friend's wife is unquestioned.
His will for my friend's wife is unknown.

God has a history of setting the prisoners free.
O Lord, for mercy and a miracle, hear our plea...

"Set "T" free!"

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

"I had said in my alarm,
    “I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
    when I cried to you for help." (Psalm 31. 22)

 And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” (Luke 4. 16-19)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What are you Building?

Dr. Stuart Briscoe was preaching at the church I attended this morning.
His sermon was a masterful piece of work that spun a challenging thread throughout -
"What is Worship?"

At the end of his sermon he used this age old illustration which I have heard many times, but for some reason resonated on a different chord than all the other times...

“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed,
"I…am building a cathedral!”

“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”

My iWitness...

Tomorrow is Monday.
I will go to work and perhaps you will as well.

What attitude will we bring with us?

I don't know about you, but for me...

As the Monday morning dawn awakens a slumbering world...
As my worship to the God who has revealed Himself to me through Jesus Christ...
I'm gonna start building a cathedral!

What are you going to build?

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

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain." (Psalm 127. 1)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

She answered the phone.
I introduced myself.
I asked how she was doing.
She quickly, almost too quickly responded with, "I'm pretty good."
My response was equally quick, "That's not what I hear."
I could hear her tears instantly streaming at a bandwidth stronger than 10megs.
And so the 35 minute conversation began.
I was privileged and honored that she would be transparent and honest enough to share the difficulties facing her at the beginning of this academic year.

Empathy was at the top of my game last night. I felt what she was feeling. I hurt in a way that could have served as her twin. We shared the same shopping cart of "aches and pains."

We are both into our second year at an institution of higher learning, with lots of acquaintances but few deep friends. We are both far away from "home." We are both in new "cultural" territory. We are both trying to learn a foreign language. The rock solid foundation that we had both been living on for a number of years is gone and now we are trying to get our footing on what seems to be the quicksand of new surroundings. 

I listened and listened and then offered some observations and perspectives as well as an emotional heartfelt prayer that concluded our time on the phone.

I discovered last night and maybe you have too, that sometimes just having someone who cares listen to our aches and pains is the perfect remedy. To know that we are not alone on the journey is oftentimes the best prescription to enjoying the rest of the sojourn.

My iWitness...

After I hung up the phone I headed downstairs to visit with Julie.
I eventually made my way to the computer to check on a few things and then I did what I always do when I am a little on the "emotional" side.

I dig deeper into the emotions. Rarely do I run away from such emotions. I dig deeper knowing full well that there is an underground aquifer of feelings and emotions that needs to be tapped.

I quickly found myself on YouTube watching "Britain's Got Talent". I knew exactly what to look for that would serve as the drill bit to free these pent up emotions into a full fledged geyser.

Her name is Connie Talbot and she is six years old whose only wish for Christmas would be her two front teeth. She loves to sing.

Judge Simon Cowell is in no mood for this and with little Connie Talbot, with microphone in hand, clad in a pink blouse, she begins to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

She only sings the first verse...(but I have provided the rest of the lyrics)

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Suffice it to say that halfway through Connie's solo I was an emotional gusher...

Listen to these words...
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true...

Will you dare to dream with me today?

Lastly, looking at the end of the song let me say this...
To my college student friend, to the man I see when I look in the mirror and to you dear friend who has taken the time to read this blog... perhaps our collective prayer to the Maker of the Rainbows is...

If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Why, oh why can't I?

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)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Nasty Noses

I ran into a good friend yesterday whom I had not seen for quite a while.
We made our way over to Peters Commons (the University's food service court).
Her husband is a great guy who pastors a church not too far from campus (within a 10 hour drive).

We caught up on what the kids were doing, what I was doing and then I asked, "How are things at the church?"

Her immediate response was, "Really well..." She went on to give a detailed description  of all the wonderful things that were happening. I just basked in her radiant recollection of the positive direction the church was taking under her husband's leadership.

A few minutes later she became a little more transparent in her assessment of things.
She said, "Well...we do have a few "nasty noses" in the congregation who are making things a little difficult."
I about jumped out of my seat with my reply, "Nasty noses? What are "Nasty Noses"?
She looked down at the table and gave a faint smile.
I continued, "I call folks like that "***holes." Is that what you mean?"
She sheepishly said, "Well... yes... I was trying to be nice."
I couldn't resist my next comment, "How do you think they got those "nasty noses"!!!???"
My boisterous laugh filled Peters Commons overshadowing her cute little laugh!
Oh my... Nasty Noses in the church! What a concept!

And yes... What a reality!!

My iWitness...

I could go in several directions here...

1. Quit being a nasty nose!
2. Stay away from the nasty noses!
3. Start a "Kleenex Team" in your church and "Wipe those Nasty Noses clean!"
4. In the "body of Christ" someone has to be the "***hole."

Lest I digress, let's go in this direction...

Isn't it great that the church has "Nasty Noses" and "Nice Noses"?

Welcome to the Church!
It's not the Country Club where everything is nicely decorated and everyone ascribes to a certain dress code and a modicum of behavior that is aromatically pleasing to all who participate.

No, No, No...the Church is full of nasty noses! The Church is a hospital where no potential patient is turned away and together we follow the Divine Physician's orders and prescriptions and allow the balm and salve of the healing power of the Holy Spirit to make us whole.

And guess what?

I am a Nasty Nose!
And so are you!

This is the beauty of the Church!
God has designed a place and a group of people called the church where it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we become something other than a "Nasty Nose."

By the grace of God I walk humbly day in and day out knowing that I am only a wipe a way from being a "Nasty Nose"...

Praise be to God who is so patently patient with and unconditionally accepting and loving to all of us whether we are a "Nice Nose" or a "Nasty Nose."

Just to let you know...
Jesus hung out with "Nasty Noses" all the time...

"And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2. 15-17)

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

I have another weird idiosyncrasy that drives my wife crazy and probably anybody else that hangs around me long enough.
I love listening to music. Nothing wrong with that right?
Well...the difference perhaps being, I love listening to the same song over and over and over and over!
When I was in college one of my hallmates and I had the same routine before every final exam.
Forty-five minutes before an exam we would get comfortable in his dorm room (me in the recliner, him on the couch), turn the lights down low and listen to the song "Sailing" by Christopher Cross... 10 times in a row and then we would go take our exam.

This week the song I have been listening to over and over and over is sung by Jason Gray called...

"Remind Me Who I Am"
When I lose my way,
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can't remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You.

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home,
Remind me who I am.
When I can't receive Your love,
Afraid I'll never be enough,
Remind me who I am.
If I'm Your beloved,
Can You help me believe it.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, whoa.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You.
That I belong to You.
To You.

I'm the one you love,
I'm the one you love,
That will be enough,
I'm the one you love.
My iWitness...
I love the disciple named John. I love the book he wrote called "The Gospel according to John."
He is an incredible writer and one thing I love about John is his ability to tell us in very simple terms the special place he played in the life of Jesus.
As I mentioned yesterday, it is John who records the race to the empty tomb between him and Peter. John is so nonchalant about the result of the race..."Oh by the way, we ran to the tomb... and... I got there first...I won the race... not that it is that important... but I did leave Peter in the dust!!"
A few days before "the race", the disciples are with Jesus in the upper room in what would be their last supper before Jesus was arrested. Jesus becomes quite troubled in spirit and states that someone will betray him. Obviously, the disciples become troubled and begin to question among themselves who will betray Jesus.
John, in recalling that moment in time records this very sentence...
 "One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus' side..." (John 13. 23)
The one "whom Jesus loved..."
I just love that sentence!
So here is our important reminder of the day!
Listen up!!
Look in the mirror and repeat after me...
Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, whoa. (Yes!! You have to say "whoa"!! That's integral to the process!!)
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You.
That I belong to You.
To You.

I'm the one you love,
I'm the one you love,
That will be enough,
I'm the one you love.
Just in case you forget...
Let me remind you...
You are the one whom Jesus loves!
If you need to be reminded of that,
just let me know and I will remind you in the same manner that I listen to music...
I will tell you over and over and over and over and over and over again...
And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!
ps - And when I forget will you please tell me over and over and over...?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We ran...

Joshua and Dad in the End Zone before the Big Race!

Julie was out of town yesterday at a conference on Sports injuries. I dropped Faith off at gymnastics at 4:00. I would pick her back up in one hour.

That gave Joshua and me one free hour to do whatever we wanted. We drove over to the University of Dubuque. I thought that there was a Women's Tennis match going on at that time. I was wrong.

We walked over to the empty, spacious Spartan football field.
We moseyed on over to the 20 yard line and then it happened.

"Let the games begin!!"

Joshua stopped.
I stopped.
We both knowingly looked at each other.
He's eight years old.
I am not!

I knew what was coming next...
Joshua did not disappoint.
"Wanna race?"

And we did.
From the 20 to the 50 yard line...we ran.  Joshua beat me by two yards.
From the 50 to the goal line... we ran. I knocked Joshua over so that I had a chance. He still won.

And then we walked and hit the tackling dummies and watched the softball team pick up ground balls and throw them into an empty net at first base and watched a guy shoot lacrosse balls into an empty net and watched baseball players squat down to pick up a baseball that was just sitting on the dirt.

Then it was time to go.
But first!
One last race...
From goal line to goal line... 100 yards.

We took our places behind the white stripe in front of an empty stadium crowd and Joshua yelled out... "On your mark. Get set. GO!"
And we were off...
And we ran...
And we ran...
And we ran...

My iWitness...

Running is a popular theme in the Bible.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son it is the Father who runs to the son who is returning to the loving arms of the Father. Please remember how shocking this story would have been to the first century listeners - Middle Eastern men of that time - don't run!

In one of the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, Mary tells the disciples that Jesus is risen and John and Peter run to the empty tomb with John winning the race (Yet, Peter runs into the tomb first).

In the book of Acts (chapter 8) Philip is told to go South. Upon going South he sees a man who has questions about God. Philip runs up to the man.

And then there's Paul.
I have no doubt Paul was a stud! Four sport varsity star who pummeled, raced and beat out everyone in whatever the competition might have been. What man could have withstood the beatings he did and then get thrown out of town only to dust himself off and then head back into the fray.

Paul passionately writes about running toward the goal.
We press on...
We persevere...
We push...
We run to win the race.
We run to get the prize.

And then Paul gets ready to hit the tape himself at the finish line of life.
He knows he is going to die.
He knows his time has come.
He has dodged the proverbial bullet time and time again.
But now he knows...
And so he writes to his dear friend Timothy some of the most poignant verses known to us in the scriptures...They are probably Paul's last words on parchment...

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." (2 Timothy 4. 6-8)

Joshua and I ran the 100 yard race before us...
It felt so freeing to run, to race, to reach, to press, to push, to persevere through the 100 yard dash.
Joshua and I will do a lot of things in life together...
As for yesterday... let it be known...
We ran!

At the end of the day...
At the end of the year...
At the end of our lives...
May we be able to say with Paul...
We fought!
We kept!
We ran!

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

ps - Joshua couldn't believe that his dad that is half a century in age could run 100 yards faster than him!

One last thought - It would be a great idea to read the book of Philippians for more on "running."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Ordinary Trucker

I parked my car in the parking lot where I always park my car yesterday morning.
Right in front of me an 18 wheeler pulled up and parked on the side of the street with the top of his tractor trailer intimately kissing the branches of about three trees.
I got out.
The trucker with furry eyebrows got out.
I walked around my car with my blazer, blue tie and khaki pants.
He walked around his idling truck with his well worn jeans and long untucked T-shirt.
I looked at him.
He looked at me through his silver rimmed glasses as he "hand combed" his scraggly hair out of the way of his view.
He said, "Excuse me, but I understand that there is a new building going up around here. Do you know where it might be?"
I thought to myself, "A man, a man asking for directions!"

What ensued was a most pleasant 15 minute conversation about trucking, his family that lives in Denver, his son who works in the sheriff's department in Greeley, Colorado, the devastation of the recent flooding in Colorado, the potential hazards of getting stuck in the snow, his trucking company, his 18 wheeler cab that has a microwave, refrigerator, 10 gallons of water and a great bed and yes, we ultimately talked about where the new building was and how to get there.

He told me his name was Clinton Nicholas.
I told him my name was David Dendy (of course I did...)

We shook hands.
I told him to be safe out on the road and "God Bless..."
And into his truck went "The Ordinary Trucker."

My iWitness...

Nothing spectacular...
Nothing really out of the ordinary...
Nothing that will make you rethink your position on race relations, current politics, the deity of Christ or the rise and fall of the local economy...
Nothing but a friendly conversation among two men that just happened to meet.

And this is what I find extraordinary...
God being found in the ordinary.

Perhaps I need to look there more often to see and experience the wonder of our awesome God.
How about you?
Where will you discover God today?
What may seem as "ordinary" just might be the most extraordinary display of our creator God...

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

"The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still small voice." (1 Kings 19. 11-13)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Four little girls

Do the names Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole and Denise mean anything to you?

Addie Mae, age 14 is a budding artist.
Cynthia, age 14 loves Math.
Carole age 14 is a straight A student.
Denise age 11, a friend of Condoleezza Rice has a flair for the stage and loves to read poetry.

They all have at least three things in common...
1. They all love Jesus and going to Sunday School at their local church together.
2. They were all in the restroom together in the basement of their church getting ready for a church assembly when a bomb went off blowing up the church courtesy of the Ku Klux Klan fifty years ago yesterday.
3. Their young, innocent, precious, and lifeless bodies were found in the rubble.

The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama a half a century ago on the heels of the "I have a Dream" speech just 18 days earlier would awaken America's slumbering conscience and prove to be a galvanizing point in the Civil Rights movement.

Do you remember what it was like to be 15 years old?
Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole and Denise never lived long enough to know.
They were just four little girls...

My iWitness...

Do you know what the Sunday School lesson was for that day on September 15, 1963?

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you..."

Addie Mae Collins
Cynthia Wesley
Carole Robertson
Denise McNair

In your honor, in your remembrance...
May we live out the Sunday School lesson you never had a chance to...

It's amazing to me how much the world changed after that day...
All because of "Four little girls..."

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Battered and Bruised


One of the great joys of my life right now is that I have the privilege of experiencing college age students living out their faith and trust Jesus Christ.

On Saturday night, September 7th after a hard fought victory against the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse several members of the football team "took a knee" on the fifty yard line in the form of a circle for prayer. I happened to be down on the field and noticed what they were doing. I ran over and said, "Are you guys getting ready to pray?" The said, "Yes!" My reply was simply, "Can I join in?" There I knelt with the star quarterback leading a great prayer in the midst of his teammates thanking God for keeping everyone safe and being present with them during the game.

Last night, September 14th our football team took a beating against the highly ranked University of Wisconsin - Platteville. The entire football team had a meeting with the head coach at the 20 yard line after the game. After the coach had his talk with them, the team broke into groups of specialty positions. I was on the sideline and I was wondering if there would be a prayer offered after this mighty effort that left many of the players battered and bruised.

Sure enough the quarterback took a knee and called out to a few other players. They circled up and I ran up to them just like last Saturday. I asked the same question I did seven days earlier, "Can I join in?" "Sure" was their downcast reply. I knelt down, grabbed the hands of the young men next to me and bowed my head. After about three seconds I looked up and five pairs of battle tested eyes were staring back at mine. Caleb offered these words, "Would you mind leading us in prayer tonight?"

I was honored...

I thanked God that He was with us in victory. I thanked God that He was with us in defeat. I asked God to lift up the spirits of these young men in the week ahead. And I finished by thanking God that these young men placed their trust and love in Jesus in all things. With everyone saying, "Amen" in unison we were up on our feet and the players slowly made their way to meet their friends and family...battered and bruised.

My iWitness...

Have you ever been battered and bruised?

Maybe you weren't physically or maybe you were...

We have all had our egos bruised and even battered at times.

The question is where do we turn?

Having been ordained as a pastor for 25 years, I have always been intrigued when I hear people say, "I am having a rough time in life right now. I am mad at God. So... I am not going to talk to him or even come to church for awhile until things get better."

My response is always the same.
"What better time to let God know how you really feel! God is a big God. Believe me when I say that He can handle your anger, your confusion and He can even handle your yelling and shouting. Go ahead... let it out!"

Up on the cross, in the midst of the cruelest torture known to humanity, battered and bruised Jesus let God know how he felt..."My God... why have you forsaken me?"

I find two things fascinating about Jesus' response...

1. It was so honest!! He is up on the cross and He is shouting to God the Father as best He could, "Why have you abandoned me, your son? Why have you turned your back on me? Hey! What is going on up there? Where are you?!!"

2. He was quoting scripture. Yes! Right there in the midst of full abandonment Jesus recalls God's word. He is quoting the opening verse of Psalm 22.

It is in the midst of being battered and bruised on the football field of life that we take a knee and lift up our hearts and cry out with the assuring words of scripture that You, O God "are with me always even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28)

Feeling battered and bruised?
Believe me when I say Jesus knows how you feel...

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

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Going downhill... fast

The name of the sender on a private message to me on my Facebook page made me want to open the message right away. I wish I had waited. Had I waited I would have been in a more private location. Crying at my desk with the door to my office wide open is not always the most preferable place to "lose it."

The message had that basic message of, "I thought you would want to know..."

Yes, I wanted to know.

The message had that basic message at the end of, "I am sure he would love to hear from you..."

Yes, I want him to hear from me. And yes, I want to hear about him from him.

So I did.

His lovely wife answered the phone.
We were both so delighted to hear one another's voice.
I shared that I had heard some very distressing news about her husband of 60 plus years.
Her voice quivered and she said, "Would you like to talk with him? He is right here."

She put the phone down and I heard her say, "Honey... it's David Dendy."
His thick Missouri accent filled my ear piece as his voice was much weaker than the last time I heard it.

In typical fashion he immediately directed the conversation into wanting to hear all about me and my family and my new position in Dubuque.

I obliged.

And then came that moment of silence.

It didn't last long...

I said, "I hear some very distressing news about you."

"Yes David. It's true. I am going downhill fast and I can't stop it. The doctors say I have about two weeks to live if I don't do any treatment and about five months if I do treatment."

We both started to cry... I mean I really started to cry. I tried to speak but my face being all contorted the way it gets when I cry and my voice going up an octave or two when I try to talk, I didn't get very far in saying how sorry I was.

My dear friend interrupted me, "David... David... I am going to be fine. You don't worry about me. I am going to be just fine."

We talked for a few more moments and then he said to me what he said to me every Sunday at the front door of the First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon, "Tell Julie we said hello!"

I will... and with crocodile tears rolling down my face... I did... I told Julie you said, "Hello."

My iWitness...

I remember the first time I rode my bicycle downhill fast.
My first bike was bought at the "Grants" department store in Atlanta, Georgia. I was in first grade.
It was green with a banana seat with "U" shaped handlebars. The extra dynamic feature was that it had a speedometer strategically placed on the handlebars so I could see how fast I was going.

There was a big hill near our home. The street ended in a "T". I remember going down the hill and the needle on the speedometer surpassing "20 MPH".

I remember panicking, thinking, "I am going downhill fast... what if I can't stop?" Of course I put on the brake and came to a stop at the bottom of the hill... safe and sound.

From the Christian perspective, here is the good news..

There might come a time in our life where we discover that we are going downhill... fast... and we cannot stop... all the brakes of medicine and cures will not stop us.

Guess who's waiting at the bottom of the hill?

Jesus... arms open wide... ready to catch us and welcome us into the new heaven, the new kingdom where the scriptures that we have read for years becomes the new reality...

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21. 4)

To my friend who is going downhill fast and can't stop...
"I will miss you! Thank you for all of your love and support that you gave to me and my family! And thank you for always telling me to tell Julie you said, "Hello."
I have one favor my dear friend...
With the biggest smile you have every smiled, "Tell Jesus we said, "Hello!"

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Living the Dream...

I was invited to play golf yesterday with a group of nine men yesterday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I knew one of the men, had met two of the others on one previous occasion and the other six were complete strangers until the moment I shook their hands.

This group invited me in and for about 6 hours we all laughed, shared funny and serious stories, complimented and lamented one another on our golf shots and overall had a fantastic day. The gentleman hosting all of us treated us to lunch afterward. These men have all known each other for years. I mean... "YEARS." Most of them were retired and have been friends with each other for 30-40 years.

Here's what struck me the most about the day...
Five of the men were African-American.
Five of the men (including me) were Caucasian.

I kept thinking throughout the day, What is and what has been the big deal about "race"?
What amazed me even more was that these men were friends with one another during the turbulent 60's of the civil rights movement where interracial friendships were probably not all that common, encouraged or even tolerated.

In the shadow of the 50th Anniversary of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech... these men are "Living the Dream."

I got to live the dream yesterday too.
Praise be to God!

My iWitness...

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

If someone asks me the question, "How are you doing today?"
My response will be...

"Living the dream!"

I hope you will join me in "living the dream" today and tomorrow and the next...

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

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3. 28)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hello! My Name Is...

I had the privilege of introducing myself to someone yesterday. What rolled off my tongue is what has rolled off my tongue for the last 35 plus years...

Hello! My Name Is David Dendy...

My iWitness...

This has been my protocol for over 35 years.
I have introduced myself to tens of thousands of people in this very manner...
There have been a few stark variations over the years...

1. Hi, my name is David Dendy...
2. Hey, my name is David Dendy...
3. Hey, I'm David Dendy...
4. I am David Dendy...
5. I'm David Dendy...
6. By the way... my name is David Dendy

You get the picture.

Do you know where this little insecure idiosyncrasy comes from?
Of course you don't!
I am about to tell you.

Back in the days of rotary dial phones when caller ID was but a cartoon reality on "The Jetsons", I had a "puppy dog" type crush on a girl. I couldn't have been more than 14 years of age. After deliberating with myself for over an hour in getting up the courageous nerve to call her, I finally, yet reluctantly, placed my right index finger in the rotary dial and performed a series of short staccato clockwise movements that in effect "dialed" her number. I had rehearsed my opening line to perfection.

When the phone was finally answered, I heard her very familiar voice on the other end of the line. With bold insecure confidence I said, "Hi insert girl's name here! This is David." (That was my opening line!)

The silence on the other end of the phone was deafening...
The pregnant pause was interminable...
Beads of sweat spontaneously popped up all over my forehead...
My mind was racing...

And then she spoke these unforgettable words...

"David who?"

Only seven words had been spoken and the conversation was already over.

You see... the reason I say, "Hi, My name is David Dendy" is that there is a huge part of me that truly believes that you will forget who I am if I don't tell you my whole name.

I have been forgotten in the past and it is a terrible feeling.
I don't want to be forgotten again.

That's why it is so important for me to call people by their name.
I figure since I love nothing more than hearing my name called, I will return the favor to those around me...

Here is the good news!
God knows our name and call us by name!

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine." (Isaiah 43. 1)

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Judge on 9/11

It was Tuesday morning.
He was at home.
The phone rang.
He was needed.
He quickly got dressed and donned his collar.
The last thing he put on as he ran out the door was his Fireman's helmet.
His name is Father Mychal Judge and he was the New York Fire Department's Chaplain on September 11, 2001.
As Father Mychal ran toward the Twin Towers others were running from it.
In the shadow of the smoldering Twin Towers, he came across a slain fireman who had been hit by a falling body.
As any proper Catholic Priest would do, Father Mychal offered "last rites" to this brave man.
Offering the proper respect due to this child of God lying in the street, Father Mychal bent down on one knee and removed his helmet.
Within moments, perhaps even seconds Father Mychal Judge was struck on the head by falling debris and instantly killed.

Father Mychal Judge is listed as "Victim 0001" of the World Trade Center terrorist attack.
He was not the first to die, but he was the first to be removed from the scene as depicted below...

My iWitness...

I want to be like Father Mychal Judge.
I want to be known and remembered as someone who always ran toward the problem.
I do not want to be known and remembered as someone who runs away from the problem.

I marvel at Jesus in this respect.
Jesus ran toward Jerusalem.
He knew what awaited him there.
He ran into the temple and turned over the tables in order to restore his Father's house.
A few days later would find Jesus at another table.
The table of the Last Supper.
He could have run away.
He could have removed himself.

But because of you...
Because of you Jesus ran toward the Garden...
Because of you Jesus ran toward the Cross...
Because of you Jesus ran out of the tomb...
Because of you Jesus now runs to you...

Let's run today...
Let's run toward Jesus...
Let's run toward those around us that are hurting...
Let's run toward the problem... Let's not run away...

On this 9/11...
I want to be like Father Mychal Judge on 9/11
I would rather die running to the problem than running away from it...

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

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5. 4)

ps - My prayers for my dear friend Pam and her family as they remember her beloved uncle who was killed on 9/11/01 in the Twin Tower attack.

Also, my word of thanks to my good friend Ernie who stood with me on that terrible day and watched the events unfold before our very eyes at Grace Community Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Ernie... we are forever linked on this anniversary. Thank you for continuing to stand with me...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

God in the Box part 2

Yesterday we took a look at two thought provoking questions...
What does God look like?

What does God mean to you?

We didn't look at any answers yesterday... just looked at the questions.

My iWitness...

Today, I would like to offer my answer to these two questions. I am feeling the pressure to come up with some incredibly profound answer that will blow the mind of each reader and have everyone walking away from this blog post shaking their head in complete and utter spiritual amazement!! Don't get your hopes up...

What does God look like?

Being the good "Trinitarian" that I am, I always think of God as three distinct, unique persons.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - Three in One.

When I think of God the Father, I just see the color white. It's not a blinding brilliant white but rather a soft, warm inviting white. I see no face but I do see large, strong yet gentle hands being extended from under robed arms. Furthermore, I see knees bent at a ninety degree angle under His massive white robe as God sits on some type of throne. I see no feet but I do see myself sitting, kneeling at the feet of God.

When I think of God the Son I have a definite picture in mind of what Jesus looks like. I am positive that my mind's eye has been influenced by movies, paintings and other visual mediums. Jesus is dark skinned, long thick brown wavy hair resting on a tall, strong and lean frame. I always picture Jesus wearing a tanned colored robe. Sometimes I wonder what Jesus would look like wearing jeans. Jesus has a brilliant smile and a contagious laugh. But, it is His eyes that captivate and mesmerize my every vision. Dazzling brown with deep black pupils surrounded by soft features, it is the eyes of Jesus that draw me in more than any other physical aspect. His eyes always reflect what I need... Encouraging, supportive, loving, corrective, forgiving, humorous, accepting, life giving and full of grace. When I look into the eyes of Jesus, the rest of the world disappears.

When I think of God the Holy Spirit - I see the wind, which is to say, I see nothing. Like the wind I feel the Holy Spirit. I see the effects of the Holy Spirit, but I do not see any type of quantified object that I could begin to describe.

What does God mean to you?

This is indeed a tough, thought provoking question.

God means everything to me.
God is the foundation on which I stand.
God is the post on which I lean.
God is the power that fuels my pursuits, my personality and my passions.
God is my shelter, my savior and my satisfaction.
God is not far away and distant but rather very personal, protective and providential.
God is the comfort in which I lay myself down and peacefully rest and sleep.
God is the keeper of the promises so that I can walk forward in life with full assurance and confidence.
God is the warrior that stands beside me in the most conflicted situations and shouts at the top of His lungs... "Fear not David! For I am with you!!"
God is the strength upon which I crumple when I finally admit just how weak and insecure I really am.
God is the extended hand that I hold on to as hard as I can only to realize that it is the hand of God that forever holds on to me even when I let go.
God is the giver of all things and the only framework from which I can operate is one of gracious gratitude.
God is supremely powerful and yet is surprisingly gentle with my heart.
God is God and I am not... (one of these days I will finally grasp this...)
God is the Hound of Heaven who runs after me and pursues me relentlessly when I run away and try to hide. He finds me every time!!
God is the detailed planner with an incessant creative imagination whose plans, hopes and desires are "far more" than my wildest dreams could possibly imagine.
God is the One, the only one who understands and accepts every thing about me.
God is the One with whom I find great delight, joy and extreme laughter which in turn makes me "laugh often."
God is the One who offers me hope in the most hopeless of situations, love when I am most unlovable, acceptance when I am most unacceptable.
God is the Voice that proclaims, "You are forgiven!" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over....
God is the hands that wrap around my face as His loving thumbs wipe away my every tear and whispers in my ear... "I understand..."
God is the elbow in my ribs as He says, "Hey David... check this out." And I do and I then stand there in utter amazement.
God is the great memory bank who reminds me who I am and whose I am when I forget.
God is the unconditional love that melts my heart each and every day.
God is my all in all.
God is the tape at the finish line that patiently waits to enfold me as I run the race of life, stumbling and crawling across the line exhausted and exhilarated!
God is One who waits on the 50 yard line of the stadium of heaven in the presence of the great cloud of witnesses and announces to the sold out crowd, "Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, from Dubuque, Iowa, a child of the covenant, a son of the King - David Wilkes Dendy as I come running through the tunnel out on to the field and jump into the everlasting arms of Jesus to the deafening applause of heaven!

That's what God means to me...

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

"...because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10. 9-13)