Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lone Survivor

There's a new movie coming out in about 10 days titled "Lone Survivor." It's based on the book:
"Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10"

Here's the synopsis: Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

In the movie trailer two things are mentioned that are worth our intense consideration on this last day of the year 2013...

1. This phrase below is used in describing the team work involved with Seal Team 10...

We are never Stronger than when we Stand as One...

2. The "lone survivor" in real life was being interviewed by the director and was asked something along the line of, "When you are in the middle of the firefight are you afraid?"

The "lone survivor's" answer struck me to the core -

Our biggest fear is not being there for one another...

My iWitness...

Over the last 365 days these two statements encapsulate what I have learned by fulfilling the challenge of writing a blog every day where I saw God at work each day in the life of every day people.

You are not alone!
I am not alone!
There are no lone rangers and there are no lone survivors.
There is no "I" in "We".
We are there for one another...every day... every hour... every moment.
Together we stand as "ONE" and together we stand with strength, solidarity and steadfastness!

Here's the best news I can offer...
The challenge for 2013 was to discover if I could really see God at work each and every day for a full year.
And the answer is "YES!"
My biggest fear was that one day God was not going to show up and then I was not going to be able to show up for you.
Fear not!
Every day God showed up.
Every day the blog "iWitness" showed up on dwdendy.blogspot.com, or on my Facebook page or in your email inbox.
Every day I showed up and every day readers of this blog showed up. We were never left alone!

Should anyone ever ask, ever wonder, ever ponder - "Is God still at work?"
You and I have 365, count 'em... 365 posts to reread, share, offer and show that God is at work every day in the life of every day people!

Praise be to God for His everlasting love, care, grace, mercy and laughter!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1. 9)

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

ps - Together we have been on an awesome journey.
This journey has taught me that I live in a community.
I am not a lone survivor and neither are you.
We are held together by a bond we call "The Lord our God."
Let's remember to stand together.
Let's remember to never leave someone behind.
Some of you have been with me every day for all 365 postings. You know who you are and for the most part so do I - Thank you!
Some of you have been with me for most of the time or maybe even for a short while - Thank you!
To my wife Julie...You and your love and support have been with me every day for over fifteen years - Thank you!
To my Lord Jesus... You have been with me every day for over forty years on this roller coaster of a ride called life - Thank you!

On an even more personal note...When I look in the mirror, I see a little boy with droopy eyes who really and truly wonders why anyone would want to read anything that I would write or say...Thank you for being a faithful reader and allowing me to see myself through different lenses... I am simply overcome and overwhelmed and amazed at the number of people who read "iWitness". My love to you all for an incredible 2013 and an even more miraculous and marvelous 2014!

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 weak,
Love and serve the Lord with gladness and with joy,
Honor all people!
Laugh often!!

Fear not!!
Go forth knowing that the unconditional love of God the Father Almighty, the Amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the communion, the fellowship and the power of the Holy Spirit is with you now and forever and ever and ever.
And everyone said, "AMEN!"
Go get 'em!!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Dunkin' Donuts with Jesus

Before church yesterday morning we decided to grab a little breakfast in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the world renowned "Dunkin' Donuts".

There were two cars parked out front and we saw a construction worker walk in before us. Downtown on a Sunday morning made the city look like a ghost town.

Much to our surprise every table was full in Dunkin' Donuts. Not one seat was available. Every seat was taken by a college age student. Bibles were open and pens were writing in notebooks. It was quiet, conversational and peaceful.

I walked up to a group of young men at a high top table and inquired, "What are y'all studying?"

They kindly responded, "Second Corinthians... Well... just one verse."
I set the hook, "What verse?"
The bearded student from Purdue University looked at me and said, "Second Corinthians 5. 17."
I then quoted the verse verbatim.
Everyone's eyes at the table grew large...
I smiled while inside I was thinking... "hook, line and sinker!"

I mentioned to them that I was a pastor and they quickly had a few questions for me about "Second Corinthians 5. 17... We had a stimulating conversation.

There must have been about 40 college students hanging out at Dunkin Donuts with Jesus.

About that time a policeman walked in to Dunkin Donuts. I walked up to him with a big smile on my face and cheerfully said, "What.. is this some kind of joke?" He didn't think it was so funny. (At least that's what I wanted to do inside my head!!!)

My iWitness...
I was moved that a group of young people would so openly and courageously take to the inside of a Dunkin' Donuts and take over the restaurant quietly, peacefully, joyfully and politely study the Bible and discuss how one verse could change their life.

About the time we got our order the place emptied out and the group was on their way to their conference. They left Dunkin Donuts spotless. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."

A great way to share your faith, make a statement, show your love, grow in your discipleship and help the local economy.

Dunkin Donuts with Jesus...
Might be something to consider in the New Year...

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

ps - 2 Corinthians 5. 17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Size Doesn't Matter

Calvary Presbyterian Church

I walked into Calvary Presbyterian Church in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin this morning along with my family and Julie's cousin Nicole and her fiancé Dustin. Nicole and Dustin are getting married in this church in May of 2014 and I have the joy of officiating the service.

We thought it would be wise for all of us to see the church together and get the "lay of the land."
Calvary Presbyterian Church was built in 1870. A Cathedral style built church, the ceiling and the expanse of the interior were impressive. There were no pews in the church, just chairs that provided a "flexible" pattern of setup for any type of worship service or experience that you wanted.

What shocked me the most was in the middle of this historic and beautiful cathedral of a church building were about 50 chairs set up in a semi-circle with a table in the middle adorned with oil, incense and a podium enveloped by Advent colored "sails" suspended from the ceiling.

The service started at 10:30 am and at 10:29 am our two combined families in tow represented 25% of the attendance. By 10:45 there were about 37 people in the church for the service.

I have to confess... I was a little saddened by the smallness of attendance in contrast to the huge expanse of the sanctuary.

My iWitness...

By 11:35 am I was ready to join the church.
I have never been so openly welcomed and received into the life of a church than I was this morning at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We live in a world and a culture...especially in the church, of "bigger is better."

Bigger church means better church...
Bigger attendance means better ministries...
Bigger budgets means better programs to build up God's people...
Bigger sanctuaries means better opportunities to invite and welcome newcomers...

Today, I discovered that "size doesn't matter" in the sense that "bigger is not better."

What did matter is that the people that were gathered together extended to all of us the love and hospitality of God...

Isn't that what matters...?

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

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18. 20)

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I was on the phone yesterday with one of my closest "pastor" friends. We were catching up on Christmas, the church he pastors, his daughter that is getting married in June, his other daughter's great ministry with the youth of his church and a host of other things that good friends talk about.

After about 25 minutes of great conversation the subject matter took a surprising turn. Unbeknownst to me my pastor friend had recently taken the initiative to confront a very difficult situation on my behalf. I was moved in ways unimaginable. I was humbled beyond belief.

There's no need to go into the details but suffice it to say that our relationship bumped up a notch or two. We have been friends for 26 years. Fifteen years ago he came to my side during a time in my life when no one else did. I love his family. He is one of the most faithful pastors I know. His church is blessed to have him as their "Shepherd of the Flock."

I rediscovered yesterday what I have always known about him.

I am blessed to have him as my "Wingman"!

My iWitness...

Stephen was one of the first Deacons in the first century church.
His devotion to Jesus, the Church and the mission and vision of the church was as passionate as they come.
Stephen's outspokenness caused him to be the Church's first martyr...

 Now when they (the Pharisees) heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[b] at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7. 54-60)

Did you notice the key phrase?

What is Jesus doing during the stoning of Stephen?

He is standing!

It is the only reference where Jesus is standing at the right hand of God.
Every other reference has Jesus sitting at the right hand of God.

The Lesson?

When we stand up for Jesus...
Jesus stands up for you!

Jesus is a great "Wingman!"

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Myth of Sisyphus

In Greek mythology there is a figure named Sisyphus who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.

Evidently the word Sisyphus finds its root in the word "sisyphe" - repetition of the same meaningless task.

Toward the end of WWII the story is told that the concentration camps in Germany were trying to conserve their bullets. In addition to trying to conserve, the camps were becoming overrun with prisoners. The leaders of the camp came up with a most brilliant and yet insidious plan to rid the camp of prisoners and yet at the same time conserve on their munitions.

A group of prisoners were told to move a very large mound of dirt from one side of the camp to the other side of the camp. Once the prisoners had accomplished the task they were told to once again move the mound of dirt back to its original location. This insane inducing "Sisyphean" task repeated itself over and over again until the prisoners, finding absolutely no meaning in their work, started throwing themselves into the electric fence that surrounded the camp only to be killed by electrocution on the spot.

Mission accomplished.
Prisoner population reduced.
Munitions conserved.

The Myth of Sisyphus lives on...

My iWitness...

Today is December 27th.
There are only four more days left in the year 2013.
On January 1st we will celebrate the beginning of the New Year 2014.

As you reflect on your life in 2013 and start to imagine what life might look like in 2014 does it start to resemble the Myth of Sisyphus?

Will there be anything in the New Year that will be different, add meaning and purpose to your life or will it be the same "Sisyphean" life for another year driving your mind and heart to the brink of insanity?

We all know the definition of insanity..."Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result."

In the book of Revelation, John records Jesus on the throne saying:

“Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (Revelation 21. 5)

I don't know about you but I don't want 2014 to be the year of Sisyphus!
Let's kill the myth...

Jesus is making all things new!
He even said, "Write it down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Well...okay then.. I am writing it down - "Jesus is making all things new!"

I wrote it down...
Now it's your turn...
Write it down!
I am talking to you Sisyphus!!
Write it down...

Now... let's believe it and go out and live it!

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Now what?

It always happens...
The day after your birthday.
The day after your wedding.
The day after you die.
The day after the Fourth of July.
The day after New Year's.
The day after Memorial Day.
The day after Labor Day.
The day after Christmas...

After all the anticipation. all the planning and all the build up. The day has come and gone and now it is the day after?

Now what?

What did Mary and Joseph do the day after Jesus was born?
They were only to be in Bethlehem for the census but it looks like they stayed for about two years before throwing themselves into exile into Egypt because of a dream.

What did the Shepherds do after they had searched and found and worshiped the babe found lying in a manger? How were their lives changed? Or were they at all?

What did the Wise Men do after they offered their gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh? They went home another way so as to avoid King Herod but what did they talk about? What was the substance of their conversation when they returned home?

We know what King Herod did when he found out that he had been tricked. He decided to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of two. I have often wondered how many families were affected in this horrific way because of the birth of Jesus and this terrible edict from an insecure, paranoid king.

The baby that had been prophesied for hundreds of years has finally arrived.
The question then is the same as the question today...

Now what?

My iWitness...

The presents have been unwrapped.
The wrapping paper is in the trash.
The memories have been tucked away in our minds or on Facebook, Instagram, Instaframe, Pinterest and/or Twitter.
The tummies are full.
For some, the tension is relieved as family members start heading back home.. until the next holiday.
For my brother Doug, he has a wedding to start planning along with his new fiancé Amy. (Congratulations!!!)
Now what?

Jesus is born!
The newborn king has arrived!
Now what?

Jesus in the manger is how many of us like it. There he is all snuggled in swaddling cloths resting on a bed of hay. He coos and smiles. He doesn't move much. We can go and do whatever we want and when we come back to the manger scene, there he is... in the same place where we left him.

Unfortunately there is a temptation to leave Jesus in the manger all year long.
I find the words of Isaiah to be haunting in some respects...

For to us a child is born,    to us a son is given; (so far so good!!)
and the government shall be upon his shoulder...
Did you catch that last sentence?
The government shall be upon his shoulder!

It's the day after Christmas and the question on my heart and mind is "now what?"

Here's my answer...

David... get ready. Jesus is moving out of the manger to become the manager, the ruler, the Lord and King of my life. The government of my life is now on His shoulders. No longer do I go about doing whatever I want only to return to find Jesus safely snuggled in the manger.

Jesus is now going with me. Wherever I go physically. Wherever I go spiritually. Wherever my thought life takes me. Wherever my prayer life directs me. Wherever I go, Jesus and his kingship and his kingdom will be with me. There is no escaping. There is no exit.

I find that to be exhilarating as much as it is haunting.
My "now what?" is already moving down the highway of life.
Excuse me while I log off and run after it...

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


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Present

How many times in your lifetime have you written or looked at the word "Christmas"?

Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

And late last night for the first time I saw something in the word "Christmas" that I have never, ever noticed before.

I have no doubt that most people have noticed it.
Just call me "slow" when it comes to that which is right in the middle of the word.

Do you see it?
Does it stick out like a sore thumb to you like it does for me now?
It's right there!!
Look closely once again at this remarkable word - Christmas.

My iWitness...

I have actually noticed two things about the word Christmas. I only noticed the second thing because of noticing the first thing.
Let's take a look shall we.....?

For the first time ever I noticed that in the heart of the word Christmas is the word "is".
In the word Christmas you will not find the word "was" or "will be."
But rather you will find "is" as in God is with us in the present tense and maybe that's why the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity is just that... the "present"...
Jesus "is" with us in this present moment...
He is, as the prophet Isaiah predicted, Immanuel - God with us... now and now again and now again and again and again.

The second thing I noticed about the word Christmas is the word "as" at the end of the word.
Put these two revelations together and flip them around and you get the phrase "as is."

Jesus left the heavenly kingdom to meet us where we live, where we work, where we play "as is."
He doesn't wait for us to get better or to become more "evolved."
He doesn't have time for us to get our act together.
He takes the initiative to meet us, greet us, embrace us and come to us "as is."
I believe that to be the most incredible Christmas present in all of eternity.

My dream and hope for all of us is to have the Immanuel with us as we love and offer the "as is" grace to all those we meet and encounter on a daily basis.
And maybe, just maybe if we do...
We will experience heaven on earth, just like the shepherds did two thousand years ago when the angels announced the arrival of a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths who "is" Christ the Lord.

The Christmas Present...

Merry Christmas!!

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

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1. 1-4, 14)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


What do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common?

One of my favorite Winnie the Pooh quotes relates to "Anticipation"...

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think.
Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do,

there was a moment just before you began to eat it
which was better than when you were,
but he didn't know what it was called."

My iWitness...

It's Christmas Eve...
Of the two words "Christmas Eve", which one do you enjoy more?
I love Christmas... but like Winnie the Pooh I bask in this moment called "Eve" which elicits all sorts of expectant joy and eager excitement.

It's the day "before."
If you have an Advent Calendar this is day 24 of the countdown and with each opening of the little box on the calendar we draw one day closer.
If you have an Advent Wreath, the "Christ Candle" will be lit tomorrow after having lit the previous four candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

In regards to anticipation, those original shepherds out in their fields had no built up anticipation.
Sure... they had anticipation as they went on their search for the newborn babe who is called "Christ the Lord" as the angels had declared. But, there was no "Eve" for them.

The prophets of old had foretold of the coming of the Christ, The Messiah, The Anointed One. In one respect the world had been in a state of "Eve" for about a thousand years or more. But after a thousand years of waiting the luster of anticipation had kind of worn off.

Mary had nine months of anticipation. She had been told all sorts of things about who and what this child to be was going to be all about. I wonder what kind of "Eve" she experienced as her body started to contract and go into labor.

That brings it down to us.
What do you like best?
The "Christmas" or the "Eve"?
May they both bring you great joy...


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

"For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
   and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace

   there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
   to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
   from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9. 6-7)

ps - The answer to the riddle of what do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common is the same middle name...

Monday, December 23, 2013

True Meaning of Christmas

Last night my little eight year old son Joshua asked me what I wanted for Christmas during his bedtime prayers. I answered, "As long as I have Mommy, Faith, Lily and You... that is all I need." He smiled and we kissed each other good night as we do every night.

Julie came into Joshua's room a few minutes later.
Joshua asked his Mommy the exact same question that he had asked me a few minutes earlier.
Julie basically offered the same response.

Joshua would not stand for such an answer, he pressed on asking his Mommy once again what she would like for Christmas. Julie's answer did not waver.

Then, in a whisper Joshua offered a plan that could only be hatched in his little intelligent imaginative mind.

(Whispering...)"I know what we can do Mommy. Next year you tell me what you really want for Christmas. Then I will tell Santa exactly what you told me. Then next Christmas on Christmas Day I will open my present from Santa and it will be exactly what you wanted and then I will give it to you. Because, Christmas is really all about giving and not wanting."

My iWitness...

I am speechless...

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20. 35)

"For God so loved the world that he gave... (John 3. 16)

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

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Before going to bed last night I looked out the window only to see the snow gracefully falling softly to the ground. The forecast was calling for 5-9 inches. As I looked out the window this morning, the forecast didn't disappoint.

The whole family got involved in the wonderful task of shoveling snow.
We shoveled it off the driveway.
We shoveled it off the walkway.
We shoveled it off the sidewalk.
We shoveled it off the area in front of the mailbox.

What we did next was pure genius!
My apologies to my environmentally friendly friends.
We scattered salt all over the driveway!

Within seconds the remaining ice and snow were dissolved and melted into wet water.

A little bit of salt can do amazing things with ice and snow.

My iWitness...

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declares, "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." (Matthew 5. 13)

Consider yourself a "salt shaker."

We live in a winter wonderland with people's heart's frozen to the warmth of the grace, mercy and love of God.

Go ahead...

Sprinkle a little bit of your "salty self" on those around you and watch the wintry world of icy stares and snowbound hearts melt in front of your very eyes, morphing into a blooming spring of dazzling colorful flowers whose fragrance emanates the glory of God.

It really is quite something to behold!

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

By the numbers - Post 355

My wife Julie posted on my Facebook Timeline - "TEN more blogs!"

About this time last year I felt moved by the Holy Spirit to face a new challenge for the upcoming New Year 2013...

Write a blog every day about where you see God at work in the lives of everyday people.

It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to face this challenge head on. With "spiritual antennas" on "high" each day of 2013, it has been simply and profoundly amazing to see God at work in so many ways. I have written on 354 ways I have seen God at work. Believe me when I say, I could have written 354,000 ways I have seen God at work.

Today is Post 355...

To date here are the numbers...

Number of posts - 354
Number of bloggers - 1 (me!)
Number of page views (number of times the blog was viewed) to date - 61,485
Highest month of page views - October with 8,120
Lowest month of page views - February with 3,949
Highest viewed post - October 22nd - "She's My Daughter" - 961
Average number of page views per day - 61,485 divided by 354 = 174

As of December 21, 2013...
That's iWitness by the numbers...

My iWitness...

Quick question...

In what, who or where do you find your value and/or your worth?

We all know the "right" answer!

But what is "your" answer?

I find this to be one of the toughest confessions to share.
Too many days in 2013 I found my worth and value "by the numbers."

Every day in the year 2013 I have spent one to two hours a day writing.
Each day I have been tempted to place a value on my self worth by the number of "page views" that each blog records.
When a blog post has over 200 page views the temptation is to feel really good about myself.
When a blog post has under 100 page views the temptation is to feel not so good about myself.
On top of the number of "page views" there is the added pressure of paying attention to the number of "Likes" and/or "Comments" on my Facebook page. The higher the number of likes and/or comments the better I feel and vice versa.

I like to think of myself as faithful, strong, confident, unfettered by the opinions of the populace.
Some days I am.
Some days... not so much.

I have "TEN more blogs."

Perhaps in the next ten days I will finally learn that my value doesn't come from "page views" but rather from the One who spends 24 hours a day, every day, every month, every year for the past 50 years, 9 months and 16 days writing on the pages of my heart these simple words...

"I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be, because you're never going to be as you should be...I love you David!"

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

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139. 13-16)

Friday, December 20, 2013


I saw a Christmas card that said, "Peace on Earth."
The heavenly host of angels sang something to that effect to the fearful shepherds back in Luke, chapter 2...

According to one source the world has not been at peace since 1914.
I would beg to differ.
The world hasn't been at peace for much longer than that.
Will we ever be at peace?

My iWitness...

One of my strategies in talking to couples who were planning on getting married went something like this...

"In order to have a healthy marriage, we need to be healthy people.
Two unhealthy people cannot have a healthy marriage. One healthy person and one unhealthy person cannot have a healthy marriage."

We would then spend some time talking about what it meant to be a healthy person.
Sometimes we would spend weeks talking about what it meant to be a healthy person!

Would that strategy somehow apply to peace as well?
It's hard to be at peace when we have people waging war on each other.
It's hard to be at peace with others when the other side has no peace in their own life.
It's hard to be at peace when I am not peaceful with myself or with others.

My question for the day is...

Am I at peace...
with my God?
with my family?
with myself?
with my workmates?
with my friends?
with my past?
with my present?
with my convictions?
with my mistakes?
within my own heart?

Jesus says you can be...

Are you at peace with that?

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

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you..." (John 14. 27)

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I met with the wrestling coach of the University of Dubuque the other day. I asked him, "If you could narrow it down to one thing and one thing alone, what makes for a successful and great wrestler."
He didn't even hesitate for one second...


My iWitness...

I am reminded of a story my Youth Pastor Jim Burns once told me.

There once was a swimming party and the youth group had gathered together for a wonderful backyard bible study accompanied by hot dogs, chips and cookies.

One of the young people asked the Youth Pastor what it would take for him to grow in his faith. The Youth Pastor jumped at the chance to illustrate his point. He invited the young man to join him in the shallow end of the pool while the rest of the youth group watched poolside.

The Youth Pastor brought the young man beside him in the pool and asked him to submerge himself underwater. He obliged.

Immediately the Youth Pastor put his hand on the young man's head. The inquirer thinking this was some kind of joke played along for a good 30-40 seconds until he started running out of air. He then pushed up, but the Youth Pastor held him down. The poolside youth group started becoming nervous and agitated. The young man became panicky and tried to push harder but the Youth Pastor was stronger and held him down even longer. With a burst of energy that the young man did not know he possessed he shot up out of the water gasping for the much needed oxygen for his body and soul.

He turned to look at the Youth Pastor, but before he could say a word the youth pastor grabbed him with his big hands and got right up in his face and said, "David... when you desire a relationship with Jesus as much as your body desperately desired a breath of air then... then... you will find yourself having a growing and dynamic and incredible relationship with Jesus."

On a scale of 0-100 what is our desire for a better relationship with God looking like these days?

What would it take to improve our desire?

What would it take to lessen it?

My word about desire for you and for me is this...

"Don't ever lose it..."

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

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God. (Psalm 42. 1)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Locked out...

We were enjoying homemade pizza last night around the dinner table still trying to figure out why having walrus teeth (see previous post) would save us money. In the middle of dinner the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor Diane from across the street. The temperature was in the mid 20's and little snow flurries were fluttering around. We quickly invited her in. She had been outside for over an hour. She asked if she could use the phone to call a friend. She had gone out to feed the birds and the door had closed behind her. She was locked out.

My iWitness...

Have you ever been "locked out"?

This time of the year reminds us of the story of how Mary and Joseph were "locked out" of all the inns, hotels, motels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. They found refuge in a stable of all places.

Let's revisit the previous question...

Have you ever been "locked out?"...

From a group?
From a church?
From a relationship?
From a friendship?
From a marriage?
From a job or business?

Have you ever been on the "other side" looking in while being "locked out?"
Have you ever been on the "inside" looking out making sure those on the "outside" stayed "locked out?"

I have...

I've been locked in and locked out...
Neither of which is a very enviable position.

I am wondering today if you would be willing to take the key and let yourself out from being locked in...

I am wondering today if you would be willing to take the key and let someone in who has been locked out...

Both situations warrant our attention, our prayers and our actions...

(Warning: Please be advised... setting yourself or someone else free can cause incredible joy and ecstatic happiness accompanied by wild flailing of arms, excessive hugging and dynamic dancing)

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

"For freedom Christ has set us free..." (Galatians 5. 1)

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (Matthew 25. 35-36)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I am the Walrus...

We were all enjoying a wonderful homemade meal last night when all of a sudden Joshua blurted out, "You could save a lot of money if you had teeth like a walrus."

My chili almost went spewing across the table...

My iWitness...

We tried to get to the bottom of where such a thought would originate and why would it be shared at such a tranquil moment.

We got nowhere.

Oh sure... Joshua had all sorts of explanations of how and why you would save a boatload of money if you had the teeth of a walrus.

But the "why"... "Why" would you think of something like that and then "why" would you share it at the dinner table?... We never found an adequate answer.

Does God perform such random acts of nonsense?
I remember back in the summer of 2003 I was out of town somewhere and Julie called me on a Tuesday to tell me that she had just received a phone call from a local nurse in town who was looking for a home for a 10 day old little boy. The birth mother would like to meet us on Saturday. The nurse had heard that we were childless and might be interested in adoption. My mind was racing and within hours I had named the little boy and had all sorts of visions of what life would be like with a son. The nurse said she would call back later in the week to set up the visit.

Julie and I prepared for the visit. Friday and Saturday came and went with no phone call from the nurse. The silence of the phone on Sunday was excruciating. On Monday the nurse called to tell us that the 15 year old birth mother had chosen another family. That boy was ten days old. Now he is ten years old.

For the last ten and half years I have often wondered, "What was that all about? Why did that event come and go in our life? What possible purpose did that serve?" My questions could go on and on.

Was that some sort of random act with no base or purpose for Julie and me?
Was God playing some sort of random trick on us?

For whatever the reason might be I have to believe that with God nothing is random.
Nothing is purposeless.
Nothing is a waste of our time and energy.
Nothing comes our way that doesn't somehow and in some way shape us and form us.
With that in mind I am going to close this blog post and ponder about how much money I could have saved if God had only made me with the teeth of a walrus...

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

ps - There was nothing random about the birth of Jesus...

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1. 18-25)

Monday, December 16, 2013

It all started in a Manger

At church yesterday the sermon was entitled "It all started in a Manger" and was acted out by members of the church. Members of the cast ranged in age from 2 to 62. The costumes were homemade. The crowns and shepherd's crooks were of the department store variety. Baby Jesus, once again was played by a doll with a plastic head and his blue eyes fixed... wide open! The acting was at times stilted and felt "staged." Some of the lines in the story were downright comical as the congregation laughed out loud (LOL) on several occasions. My kids watched with great intensity and attention as did I. The message came through loud and clear...

It all started in a Manger...

My iWitness...

Twenty three years ago today a dear friend of mine in Augusta, Georgia gave birth to a little girl. This little girl entered the world with some major medical complications. She would spend her first month in the neonatal intensive care unit.

I will never forget coming into the recovery room and looking into my friend's deepest of deep brown eyes which were filled with fear and anxiety. She grabbed my hand and her quick question struck deep into my core..."Is my baby girl going to be okay?"

In the midst of a being in a foreign town, there being no room at the inn, the cattle lowing, the smell of animals surrounding her, shepherds paying homage to her newborn son, I often wonder during this time of the year what Mary went through that first Christmas.

Mary had already been told that her son was going to be something special by the angel Gabriel.
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David. and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1. 32-33)

And now the time came for Jesus to be born in this most unusual setting.
I can't help but think that Mary with eyes filled with wonder and fear might have asked God the same question my friend asked me...
"Is my baby son going to be okay?"

Jesus turned out to be more than okay...
In fact he turned out to be perfect.
There would be incredible heartache and immeasurable joy for Mary along the way...
And it all started in a Manger...

Praise be to God!

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

ps - Happy 23rd Birthday Anna!
And for my deep brown eyed friend Denise...
My answer today is the same as it was 23 years ago...
"Yes... the answer is YES! She is going to be okay!"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Dollar Short...

It was such a simple gesture.
It barely even crossed my mind before offering.
Julie was working this morning, which meant I took the kids to Donut Boy!!
We were fourth in line and the gentleman at the front had just had his "dozen" donuts carefully and delicately placed inside the box. The cover was put on it. The cashier politely said, "That will be $5.00.
The gentleman reached into his pockets and pulled out a wad of one dollar bills.
Guess what?
He was a dollar short.
He panicked a little bit and offered, "I have another dollar in the car. I will be right back." With that he quickly made his way to the door. He had his hand on the handle when I shouted, "Hey! Hey!" He turned to look at me. With a big smile on my face I said, "I've got you covered. Grab your donuts." He did.
Walking out the door he graciously said, "Thank you very much..."
I couldn't resist. My teeth exploded through my wide grinning lips as I waved and said, "Have a Merry Christmas!"
As quick as the wink of an eye he was merrily on his way with a dozen donuts under his arm.

My iWitness...

This is the gospel story in a nutshell.
We come before the Grand Cashier of the Universe and it matters not how much money we have to purchase the donut holes of eternal life and fellowship with God, there we stand with our pockets empty... a dollar short.
When out of the blue Jesus steps up and says, "I've got you covered" as he pays the rest of the debt.
Jesus accomplishes something we couldn't have done on our own.
We are indebted to the one who covers us and grants us the privilege of finalizing the ultimate transaction of eternity.
Whatever "gap" existed is now "covered."
And we go on our way...with a big smile on our face thanking the One who proclaims, "Merry Christmas!"

Is it really that simple?


And that's my iWitness...
Laugh often and Fear not!
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3. 21-25)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

On the Ropes

Today marks the one year anniversary of the most sacred of trusts being broken as a young man stormed into an elementary school and ushered 26 innocent victims into the heavens.

One of my classmates whose Christian faith is rock solid and whose broad muscular shoulders are straining under the stress sits in a hospital room next to his beautiful wife who is having the battle of her life with cancer.

I have a most dear family relative in the hospital after suffering a stroke.

Friends of ours are trying to raise money to fulfill their missional call to go to China.

There are a lot of people who are "on the ropes."

My iWitness...

My mission bound friends gave me this poem that I wanted to share with you...



Down beneath the mighty ocean
Divers plunge for treasures rare
But men hold the ropes above them
So they breathe the upper air.
Seeking pearls of richest value
Braver hearts have dared to go
But our hands must every moment
Hold the ropes that reach below.

So amid the heathen darkness
There are heroes, true and brave,
Shrinking not from death or danger,
Hearing all to help and save,
But they cry,
"Oh, do not leave us,
Mid these dreadful depths to drown,
Let us feel your prayers around us,

Hold the ropes as we go down!"

Count on me to embrace this joyful privilege and weighty responsibility to hold the ropes for you.

Would you be so kind to be on the ropes for me?

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

"...pray without ceasing..." (1 Thessalonians 5. 17)

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Lion Chaser

Yesterday was going to be a tense day...
The timing of text that came in at 10:25 am from my wife Julie was perfect...

"I am praying for you today, I think you are in a pit with a lion on a snowy day! God will get you through..."

My eyes flooded with tears...

My iWitness...

Julie knows that  one of my heroes of the Bible is Benaiah.
Ever heard of him?
Is he an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?
We find him buried in the book of 2 Samuel, twenty-third chapter, twentieth and twenty-first verses...

"There was also Benaiah son of Jehoida, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two of Moab's mightiest warriors. Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it..."

Most of the lions I come face to face with elicit great fear when they are registered in my visual cortex. Once my brain has come to grips that a lion is staring me down my muscles reflexively react in a way that make my legs and feet move in a way that would qualify for the Olympics in the 100 meter dash. I run!

Not Benaiah...

He doesn't run away from lions.
He chases lions.
Benaiah is a lion chaser.

I love how the author of this book depicts Benaiah's conquest.
It's not enough that Benaiah is chasing a lion.
It's not enough to add that while chasing the lion, Beanaiah finds himself stuck in a pit with the king of the jungle.
Forget the fact that the ground is slippery.
Oh no ladies and gentlemen... the author adds, "by the way... it's snowing!!"

Benaiah meets beast in the worst of conditions and come out victorious!

Let me throw something your way for you and me to ponder today...

Any lions in your world today?
Any lions getting ready to pounce on your parade?
Any lions roaring havoc in your life?
Does it happen to be snowing today?

Here's my counsel...

Don't run away...

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Star

The Wise Men saw a star in the West and they followed it. They came from the east and who knows how long they traversed with The Star leading the whole way.
Ultimately The Star would lead them to Bethlehem where they would indeed meet the Savior face to face and then proceed to fall down on their own faces to worship the approximately two year old toddler named Jesus offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

My iWitness...

Help me out with something...

If you recall, The Star led the Wise Men to Jerusalem before making their way to Bethlehem, six miles to the south.
There they encountered King Herod and the religious leaders.
The Wise Men inquired about the new "ruler." The religious leaders said, "Yes! The prophet says that the new messiah is to be born in Bethlehem."
The Wise Men say thank you very much and go on their way.

A couple of things stand out here that I need help with...

1. Going to Jerusalem first was out of the way. Why go to Jerusalem? The Star could and should have led them straight to Bethlehem. Why this detour to the north to have to deal with the insecure, genocide prone and paranoid King Herod? We know that there was another way to get to Bethlehem because when the Wise Men leave they go home another way so as to avoid King Herod.

2. The religious leaders of the day knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet, none of them went with the Wise Men. For nothing other than just curiosity none of them accompanied the Wise Men.

Let's talk about number two first...

Don't be like the religious leaders. Here was their big mistake - Just because they "knew" where the Messiah was to be born didn't guarantee that they would "experience" the newborn king.

So it is with us... We know that December 25th is Christmas Day. We have known about it since we were old enough to know what a calendar is. Just because we "know" that Christmas day is in thirteen days does not guarantee that we will experience the joy of the day.

Now for number 1.

Is The Star you are following these days leading you to places that seem "out of the way" of your ultimate destination? Do you feel like you are on the "beltway", going around and around?

I know that feeling all too well. I do believe with all my heart that God has us on the "beltway" for reasons only known to Him at this point in time. However, I do believe with all my heart and with all the confidence in the heavens, believe that His purposes will ultimately be revealed.

Who knows?
Being on the "beltway" might just allow us to once again see The Star in the western sky and lead us to a place where we see and worship the Savior face to face!

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

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Matthew 2. 1-12)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


The elementary school which my children attend hosted a Roller Skating Party at "Skate Country" last night. I couldn't wait to get to the rink and put on my "quads" and get jammin' to the music, bustin' a few moves out on the floor and showing my kids how their dad used to do it "back in the day."

Sure enough, it was like riding a bike. I was out there gliding around looking like a real amateur! The popular songs like "Thriller" and "What does the Fox say?" blared through the loudspeakers and I skated, skidded and skedaddled around the rink having the time of my life with Faith and Joshua.

My mind drifted back in time to the "Holiday Skate Center" back in my home town of Orange, California. My long time friend Gina was a staple at the roller rink. She was poetry in motion out on the rink with her long black hair flowing in the wind contrasting with her white roller skates attached to the bottom of her skinny legs. Those good memories were quickly interrupted by a not so nice memory.

I remember being in Junior High School and going to the rink on a Saturday night with a friend. I was wearing a shirt that had a picture of a sunset on it. Some other boy didn't take too kindly to my shirt. He started bumping into me and calling me names like "faggot" and other derogatory names. His friends surrounded me while we skated counter clockwise around and around. He challenged me to go outside and fight. I was not able to skate freely. I started to sweat in fear. I didn't know what to do as this small gang of skaters on quads bullied me all evening.

This type of bullying happened to me on more than several occasions in Junior High School. That probably has a lot to do with why I love guys like Steven Segal, Jason Statham and Jason Bourne in the movies who really know how to kick other people's ass with the greatest of ease and flare. I didn't enjoy being bullied and I cannot stand watching other people be bullied.

I have always had this fantasy of being mugged and right before the guy mugs me I hold out my hand and say, "Hold on just a minute. Before you mug me you need to know something. I'm a pastor and I've been a pastor for about 25 years. So you see... I have 25 years of repressed anger built up inside of me and I am about to unload all of it on you in about 15 seconds. Just wanted you to know all the facts before we get started!"

All of this... due to bullying.

My iWitness...

Have you run into any bullies lately?
Anyone "bullying" you at work?

Just because we may think out of the box, speak with an accent, dress according to our own style, walk to our own drummer, see life through loving lenses or place our trust in a Jewish carpenter who allowed himself to be bullied by the self-righteous, holier than thou religious authorities does not give anyone the right or the "go ahead" to bully us.

For those of us who are being bullied or were bullied, praise God we have a Savior who understands and empathizes with us...
Jesus knows better than anyone what it means to be the victim of bullying...

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

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5. 10-12)

ps - I have never been in a fight since 5th grade and I have no plans of going out and trying to get mugged to get rid of any repressed anger...I'll leave all that to the guys in the movies!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


It happens every year at this time.
Somehow, some way "needy families" are identified and their needs are distributed to different groups. These groups purchase items that meet the needs of these families and the gifts are delivered.
Our department chose to participate in this annual tradition.
My assignment was to purchase pants for a  girl, size 14/16.
I went to Target today and bought a pair of pants that looked pretty hip to me.
The cost was $7.98

My iWitness...

Typically when I participate in such festivities I feel just that..."festive."
Not today...
For some odd reason I felt sadness as I purchased these pair of pants.
I felt sad for a young girl out there in Dubuque whose wardrobe depended on a 50 year old's taste of fashion.
I felt sad as I thought about my own Christmas festivities considering we will more than likely spend 150 times more on our own family. That doesn't even begin to account for the amount of money we spend on others who are close friends and family members.
I felt selfish and a little awkward walking through the girl's section of clothing at Target.
For all I know, this young girl will be overwhelmed and happy for the pair of pants she would not otherwise have received.
For whatever reason my emotions are raw, exposed and a little on the melancholy side.
It's the season of cheer, joy, happiness and smiles and yet, for me today... not so much.

Who knows?
Maybe in ten minutes my attitude, thoughts and feelings will change...
Then again... maybe they won't...

Among other things please remember this Christmas season...
Those who have lost loved ones...
Those who are needy...
Those who would love to change their disposition from depressed to cheery, but simply cannot do it...
Those who are without family, home and shelter...
Those who have a lot of stuff, but don't have anything at all...
Those whose lives might be forever touched if we would just spend $7.98

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

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
(2 Corinthians 9. 6-7)

Monday, December 9, 2013


Yesterday was a brutally long day of travel. It began with a 5:30 am flight from the West Coast with a "scheduled" 90 minute layover in Denver. My 5:30 flight became 6:15 flight with a "scheduled" 45 minute layover in Denver. No worries! Plenty of time. My flight from Denver would allow me to arrive in Cedar Rapids, Iowa around 1:30 pm. Combined with my 90 minute drive home I would arrive about 60 minutes before my children performed in the church Christmas Pageant.

Once in Denver I rushed to my assigned gate only to discover that there had been a delay and then another and another. Suffice it to say... I arrived 60 minutes late for the Christmas Pageant. Everyone was enjoying cookies and punch when I arrived. I did however have the chance to stack and put away al the chairs in the fellowship hall after the reception was over.

The drive home from Cedar Rapids was painstaking. It was pouring down snow. The roads were icy. I drove very slow and I had very poor visibility.

My iWitness...

Let me rethink those last three words of the previous sentence - "very poor visibility."

How much "visibility" did I need to get home?

How much "visibility" do we need to make it through the day?

In driving home I had enough visibility to make it the next 200 yards or so. Drive 200 yards at a time at 50 miles an hour over a two hour time frame and you can cover quite an amount of distance.

All that to say... Go with the "visibility" you have.
Keep plugging along.
You just may be on the right road, heading in the right direction, arriving at the right destination.
You may have just enough visibility to travel the next 200 yards.
And that may be all the visibility you need...

In retrospect let me revise the statement in question...
"I drove very slow and I had enough visibility to get me home. Thank you, God!"

Getting home was the point anyway, wasn't it?

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

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. (Exodus 13. 21)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Looking Up

Sometimes they came in groups of three.
Other times only one or two would stop and look up at about a forty-five degree angle.
They always stopped at the same spot.
The men who looked like hunters from the North Woods of Wisconsin ran for their life after stopping by and "looking up."
One older man stopped, looked up and started running in one direction, only to realize after scurrying for about thirty feet, he was running in the wrong direction.
I bet you yourself have been a part of this curious crowd.
I know I have been.
I was part of that crowd today...

Of course I am talking about the "Airport Monitors" that you find in every terminal and concourse at your local airport.

My iWitness...

It really is a fascinating phenomena to watch.
What I love about this ritual is that without fail I am told where to go to find the next leg of my trip.
Typically the monitors are right every time.
I love this.
I come to a crossroad in my journey.
I walk up to the monitor.
I look up.
The monitor tells me which gate to go to continue on my journey.
I go to that gate.
I get on a plane and within hours I am at my desired destination.

Do you ever wish it was that easy with God and our own convoluted journeys?
We come to a crossroad.
We wonder where we should go next.
We "look up" and God, the monitor tells us which gate to go to.
We walk to the next gate full of joy, knowing full well that God the monitor has pointed us in the right direction.

There is one thing that we can do...
Look up...

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121. 1-2)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,)
    and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3. 5-6)

Here's to "looking up"...

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


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Life isn't the same...

I dropped by the office of my late dear friend Howard Newman yesterday. I asked Cass how things were going. Her response was quick and to the point, "Life is not the same without him."

To which I replied, "Life wasn't the same with him."
My iWitness...

It's a wonderful "Catch 22."

Life is not the same without you and life is not the same with you.
Do you believe that about yourself?
Whether you believe it or not, the above statement is true.
You have an incredible impact on the people around you.

How about our life with or without God?

Life is not the same without God.
Life is not the same with God.

I am certainly enjoying the ride with God... I really can't imagine the ride without Him...
Can you?

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

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28. 20)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Letting Go...

I listened to a song this morning that brought me to tears.
It was performed acapella style by the Westminster College Men's Chorus.
The title of the song is: Oh Love, That Will Not Let Me Go

  1. O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in thee;
    I give thee back the life I owe,
    That in thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.
  2. O light that foll’west all my way,
    I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    May brighter, fairer be.
  3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
    And feel the promise is not vain,
    That morn shall tearless be.
  4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee;
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.
My iWitness...

Believe me when I say, "I have let go of God many times."
Trust me when I say, "I have pursued my own pursuits and desires with the passion of a dog on a bone."
Put it in the bank when I say, "I have wandered aimlessly in the deserts, the high plains, the jungles, the mountains, the beaches and the forests of life."

But listen ever more closely when you see me on my knees with tears streaming down my face when my heart joyfully professes and confesses...

"His love... will never let me go... Never..."

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Yesterday, in the University Chapel the preacher read from Isaiah...

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9. 6-7)

The preacher's voice carried with it a subdued passion. That which Isaiah had proclaimed some 600 years before the birth of the Prince of Peace had become the "hope" on which people eagerly awaited with great anticipation the coming of the Messiah.


My iWitness...

My favorite quote on "Hope" is attributed to the Hall of Famer from the Chicago Cubs Ernie Banks...

You can live 30 days without food
You can live 3 days without water
You can live 3 minutes without air

But you cannot live 10 seconds without hope!

Hope and the firm basis of it is predicated on that which is promising the "hopeful" outcome.

I hope that I will be the winner of the Men's 55 US Open Tennis Championship in 2018.
That's called Pollyanna, pie in the sky "wishful" thinking.

I hope for world peace!
I can't even hope for that because the people being held responsible to bring about such peace are not trustworthy to bring about that cause.

I hope that poverty will be forever vanquished.
Poverty could be eliminated in our country but I really don't hope for that either because the decision makers in our country can't make up their minds on how to go about such a task. Even if they would find unanimity in their desire would their constituents be interested in making that a priority in their lives.

As with most things, this list could go on and on...

I do hope for peace in our hearts, minds and in our lives...
I do hope that the very poverty of our spiritual life will be vanquished...
I do hope that in the end, the love of God wins out and that I will live in the house of the Lord forever and ever.

I can hope for these things because such hope is rooted in the firm foundation of the One who can bring about such things - God!

What are you hoping for today?
Where might your hope be placed?
For that which you hope for, on what basis do you find support for such hope?

I hope you find "hope" in the One who is the author of all of our hopes and desires...
Otherwise, you only have 10 seconds to live!

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