Thursday, September 11, 2014


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

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

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

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

My iWitness...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

"I told you I would..."

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Little Drummer Boy

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

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

My iWitness...

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

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

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

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Change Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My iWitness...

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

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible.

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

All that to say, the number 40 is special!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 16, 2014


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

My iWitness...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"David, I'm gay..."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's what I do think...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tan Lines

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

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

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

My iWitness...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Best Friend, Worst Enemy

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

My iWitness...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Need Help...

The message was short...

Six words...

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

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

And so I did...

My iWitness...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need help...

I know I do...
How bout you?

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

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trust That

Like a wave building two hundred yards out from shore slowly but powerfully growing into a wall of water, cresting, pausing and then crashing down into a rush of white foam, so too was the ladies' laughter from the utility company when I told her that I had filled out an order form online and was calling to check on the status of the order.

By the time she caught her breath from laughing, I was laughing as well and finally this little bit of frivolity ended with her saying, "Oh sir, I'm sorry. But you filling out an online order form with our company and you thinking that it actually went through... you can't trust that."

My iWitness...

Have you ever offered up a prayer to God and wondered:
"Did that prayer go through?"
"That online prayer order form that I just filled out in spiritual cyberspace...did it get to its intended recipient?"
"Is there some type of bureaucratic pipeline filled with twists and stops whereby my prayer request just got clogged up in the molasses type flow?"
Is there any way to bypass all of this and find someone who has a direct pipeline that can speed up the process?"

Those are just a few of the thoughts that have ruminated through my mind over the years.

Here's the good news...
Listen carefully:

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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. 14-16)

I love the last verse...

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...

Going to God with confidence that God hears, listens and helps?
You can trust that!

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

"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.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." (Proverbs 3. 5-8)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Not a Seat in the House

I moved into the house that I am renting over the weekend.
The owner is still doing some upgrades to the kitchen which is creating quite a mess downstairs.
That means that most of my "stuff" is in the garage and that most of my "time" is spent in the master bedroom upstairs.
Yesterday it hit me that outside of the three commodes there is "not a seat in the house."

My iWitness...

I have a good friend who has kept the same routine every night for the last 30 plus years.
Before tucking himself in for the night, he kneels.
He kneels beside the bed...
He kneels before his Maker...
He kneels in prayer...
He kneels as he lifts up in prayer his family, his friends, his coworkers, his life...
And then he gets up... it takes a little bit longer today than it did 30 years ago...and goes to sleep.

I was once told by a police officer friend of mine that when securing a suspect it is imperative to get them into a kneeling position. It is the most vulnerable and weakest position to be in. It's very difficult to do much harm while in the kneeling position.

With "not a seat in the house" I found myself doing that which my friend and others have been doing for centuries... kneeling in prayer. I feel very vulnerable and weak in this position. It's okay... I am in good company... If it's okay for Jesus to do it, then it must be okay for me to do it as well...
"And Jesus withdrew from them about a stone's throw and knelt down and prayed..." (Luke 22.41)

I'm wondering if you would join me in kneeling before God to offer up our prayers and praise...

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. (Psalms 95. 6-7)

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

Sunday, June 1, 2014

At The Top of My Lungs

I drove into the shopping center. All the normal eateries and big box stores had their signs that shouted their presence in the middle of this megalopolis they call Houston.
I parked the car.
Got out and started making my way toward the front doors of the latest church I would "check out" to see if this just might be the place where God wants me and my family to serve.
The greeters, who had big smiles on their faces were enthusiastically engaged with other visitors or perhaps friends as I walked into the foyer of this large church completely unnoticed and without a greeting of "Welcome to our Church." (Sidenote - As a pastor this drives me crazy when this happens. I wondered if I would make it out at the end of the service without anyone saying hello.)

I wandered around a bit looking at the various ministries and watching other people enjoy the joy of fellowship of knowing one another in the context of a church setting.
I went in and found a seat in the middle on the aisle about halfway to the front of the worship center.
No one else sat in my row of 15 chairs.
I felt quite lonely and quite alone.
Nothing worse than being in a large group of people where everyone else is laughing and carrying on great conversation and there you sit rereading your worship bulletin for the 5th time.

The five piece band started to play at the allotted time - 11:00 am.
And they were loud!
I mean really loud!
The bare, polished concrete underneath me and the unfinished ceiling above me created quite the echo chamber. The 1,000 plastic chairs only enhanced the reverberations.

The second song we sang is one of my favorites...

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman...

The chorus goes like this...

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

When we got to the line: Sing like never before

I did just that!!

For the first time in my life in a church setting...
I sang
I mean...

My iWitness...

When was the last time you sang a song about God at the top of your lungs?

With the music being so loud, the invitation to sing at the top of my lungs could not have been more obvious. I took full advantage of it.

In the midst of feeling a little out of place in a new worship venue, stinging a little bit from not being greeted and my butt hurting from sitting in a flimsy plastic chair, I stood up and felt the presence of God fill me up with enough oxygen to blast His praise at the top of my lungs. God is worth singing to at that volume regardless of my circumstances, feelings and issues!

Rarely have I felt so liberated, so blessed, so full of joy, so uninhibited, so beside myself in singing as loud as my voice would project. Maybe it was a good thing no one else sat near me!!

I felt a new kinship to and appreciation for my namesake David as he writes in the Psalms:

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.

Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre (or acoustic, electric and bass guitar!);
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. (Psalm 33. 1-3)

The church service was over after 90 minutes of singing, praying, preaching, more singing and then communion.
I walked out with no one saying anything to me...
It didn't matter...
My heart was too full to care otherwise!
I had done something with God I had never done before...
I shouted for joy...
I gave thanks to God...
I sang to Him a new song...
I sang "like never before"...
At The Top of My Lungs!!

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Under the Covers

As has been my practice of late I woke up in the middle of the night and found it next to impossible to get back to sleep. I feel positive that I am the only one who has ever experienced this phenomena!

My body temperature felt a little on the warm side so I just laid there on top of the covers for over 45 minutes. First on my left side, then I tussled over to my right, then I wiggled over to my back and then I wrestled myself back to my left. Nothing seemed to work.

Finally, I resorted to get back under the covers and within minutes I drifted off into Mr. Sandman's soothing slumber...

My iWitness...

I have been especially moved to tears by a variety of songs lately. The latest being a song by Christy Nockels titled "Grace Flows Down"

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
Amazing Love
Now flowing down
From hands and feet

That were nailed to the tree
As Grace flows down and covers me

It covers me
It covers me
It covers me
And covers me

Has life been a little on the rattling side lately?
Do you find yourself tussling, wiggling and wrestling with life lately?
Have you exhausted yourself by trying every avenue you know available to get life under control?
Me too...

Might I make a suggestion?
Get under the covers...

The covers of God's love, mercy and grace.
Let the weight of God's amazing grace slowly flow down and cover you, soothe you, calm you.
I do believe in no time you will fall into the relaxing, rejuvenating, restoring and restful arms of God.

I'm getting under the covers!
How bout you?

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

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions (wings)
and under his wings you will find refuge:
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler
." (Psalm 91. 1-4)

Friday, May 23, 2014


I keep hearing the same song over and over again on XM  radio channel 63 - The Message...
The title of the song is "Keep Making Me" by the Sidewalk Prophets.

I hear the first line and my mind goes off into a thousand different directions and I never hear the rest of the song.
The opening line is... "Make me broken..."

My iWitness...

Why would anyone ask for that?
Pardon me, upon further reflection the phrase "Make me broken" is not a question.
It's a request...
It's a plea...
It's a desire...
It's a hope and a wish and a command all wrapped up into one bizarre bundle.

Why not start the song with...
Make me whole...
Make me funny...
Make me popular...
Make me powerful...
Make me wealthy...
Make me good looking...
Make me ripped with six pack abs like Zac Efron!

I guess there's a reason that the song starts off with "Make me broken..."
Because we have a God who does His best work with
broken pieces
broken hearts
broken dreams
broken lives

God is the master artist at putting the pieces back together again into a majestic mosaic that is made up of just that...broken pieces.

I heard the song "Keep Making Me" by the Sidewalk Prophets just yesterday and I heard the completion of the opening line for the first time...

"Make me broken...
So I can be healed."

I am broken!
How about you?

Let the healing begin.
I can't wait to see what God pieces together this time.

Maybe God will use some of my broken pieces to help heal you and just maybe God will use some of your broken pieces to heal me.
And together the Master will make us into a beautiful collage of interwoven broken pieces...
Maybe that's why they call us a Masterpiece!

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

"God, pick up the pieces.
     Put me back together again." (Jeremiah 17. 14 The Message)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Plastic Surgery

I went to see the movie "Heaven is For Real" the other day. I settled into my seat as the "previews" were streaming on the big screen.
These were not "movie trailers".
These were advertisements for local businesses.
A pastor and his wife appeared and invited everyone to come experience the love of God at their church.
Another pastor from another church showed up on the screen saying, "No... come to My church and experience the love of God."
And then...came the soothing "voiceover" offering the services of a local plastic surgeon. Scenes from the warm, comfortable doctor's office appeared with the doctor talking with a patient in a very caring manner. A very pretty bleached blonde woman (Actual Patient) began sharing with the audience her wonderful experience with this surgeon. As she talked a list was presented on the left side of the screen of the work the plastic surgeon had performed on her.
Tummy Tuck
Breast Augmentation
Brazilian Butt Lift

The list continued for four or five more items...

The lady's interview, along with the advertisement closed with her saying,
"Dr. Smith (not his real name) makes you look the way God made you..."

My iWitness...

My mind raced in a thousand different directions when I heard the above quote.

How did God make you?
Are you pleased with the way God knitted you together in your mother's womb?
If you could change a few things about how God made you, what would you change?

More importantly, what would you expect to happen if the changes were made?
If some physical changes were made to your body, would it ultimately change you?

King David implores God to do some surgery on himself.
Not plastic surgery...
Not even angioplasty or a bypass surgery.
King David screams out:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51. 10)

Basically, David is praying..."I need a heart transplant!"
The verb "create" that David uses means to "create out of nothing."
David is not asking for God to fix his heart, mend his heart, or even give me someone else's heart.
David is pleading for a "brand new" heart created out of nothing by God's creative and imaginative hand.

And guess what?
God does!
David is known as a man after God's own heart! (Acts 13)

I have had the privilege of seeing the incredible results of many people receiving a new heart whose lives have completely changed.
On this day may King David's prayer to the Divine Physician be our prayer...

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

ps - Heaven is for real!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Deep Waters

Sunday morning arrived this past week, as it always does and for the first time in many years, I had no idea as to where I would go to church.

I'm in a new town... Houston, Texas.
I'm without my family... They are still in Dubuque, Iowa (1116 miles away)
I have a new job... Assistant Tennis Pro at the Carlton Woods Country Club, thanks to one of my best friends. 
I'm without my traditional pillars that provide buoyancy to my life that keep me from sinking:
Security, comfort, family, church, house, neighborhood, neighbors, friends, space and routine.

To put it bluntly...

I'm in Deep Waters...

On Sunday I decided to go to a Mega-church where I knew that I would know no one except for God alone. I took my seat, texted "Welcome" to the number on the big screen and received an immediate text saying, "Welcome to our church!"

The opening song began and my mind and heart were critical and closed.
The second song began and I simply melted into a well of deep tears that only added to the volume of deep waters that surround me.

I'm familiar with this song but had never seen the lyrics written down. As they were projected on the big screen before me this song took on a deeper meaning.

Let me offer these lyrics to you... 

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

My iWitness...

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

I don't know about you but I love the SHALLOW END of the pool!!!
I can touch the bottom.
When the water gets rough I can touch the side.
When I need to, I can get out.
I am in control...

The DEEP WATERS do not offer such luxuries...
but rather incredible necessities...

and more

So, here is my mantra for the days ahead...

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

What I have discovered in the last couple of days is that there are many of us in the deep waters...
O Lord...
"Keep my eyes above the waves...
Keep my eyes above the waves...
My soul will rest in your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine."

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Tim Amuchastegui

Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

"Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's SUPERMAN!"

Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!

You have probably figured out by now that the man in the picture above is not the Superman of the Television series.

It's just my friend Tim.
Mild mannered builder/architect from Klamath Falls, Oregon.
He's not very fast. He might post a 13 second run in the 40 yard dash.
He's not very strong. Probably weighs in at less than 150 these days.
At best, his vertical leap is around 8 inches.

I love this photo of him wearing a Superman Shirt.
At the time this photo was taken he was about two hours away from having life threatening pancreatic cancer surgery. 
He's in his hotel room surrounded by family.
This photo showed up on my phone a week ago today.
His incredible wife Cec texted it to me at 5:00 in the morning. 

As I gazed at my friend, my brother in Christ and looked at that "S" on his shirt, I wondered what that "S" might stand for:
"Scared S***less?"

My phone rang 20 minutes after this photo was taken.
It was "The Incredible Wife Cec"!
Her voice was upbeat... "Now David, we have everyone in the hotel room here (family that is). And we are going to put the phone down right in the middle of all of us and we are going to circle up around the phone and hold hands and oh, by the way you are on speaker phone and we want you to pray for us before we go to the hospital. Ok David, are you ready? We are ready for your prayer..."

And so I prayed and I prayed and my voice was strong and then it was weak and then it quivered and then I cried as I invoked upon the name of the Lord God almighty to do a "super" miraculous healing work on a most "super man" who is a brother, a husband, a dad, a father-in-law, a grandfather and a friend.

And then I said, "And everyone said, (And together we said) "Amen!"
There was a moment of silence as we all collected ourselves and then Tim's deep, slow, melodic voice came over the speaker..."David, thank you..." 

And then, "The Incredible Wife Cec" came on and offered her thanks and her love and we hung up.
And they were off to the hospital, for surgery, to remove a cancer that has taken the life away from so many other people...

My iWitness...

I've gazed upon this picture of Tim from time to time all week...
My eyes always turn first to the light that seems to be coming out of his left armpit right near his heart.
The backdrop of a hotel room looks ever so familiar to me as I spent six years living in hotels from week to week.
The two clinched fists speak volumes of the inner strength that Tim has found through our Lord and God.
His face evokes confidence and calmness in the midst of life's greatest storm.

And then there is the "S"...
What does that "S" stand for?

Here's my take...
Surrounded by a loving family...
Secure in the loving knowledge that he is in the hollow of God's hand and God never lets go!
Saved by the blood of Jesus Christ who loves Tim more than Tim will ever know.
Serene - Jesus is able to give us a sense of peace that passes all understanding.
Strong - When we are weak, God makes us strong. I know that that is an oxymoron and rather paradoxical, but all I can say at the moment is that Tim is at his strongest right now.

Last but not least...
Tim is a super man because of a Super Man who came into this world about 2,000 years ago with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. A man who changed the course of history, bent the most bent out of shape people back into shape, loved the unlovable, spared the condemned and fights a never ending battle for the way, the truth and the life so that we may enjoy life and life eternal.

I don't know about you, but I think that is Super!

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

ps - A week out of from the above photo there are two more words that come to mind when I look at the letter "S"...


But he (Jesus) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12. 9-10)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Running the Race

A year after the terrible act of terror that took place at the Boston Marathon, thousands of runners stood ready to run the race. And run they did. With security high and thousands of onlookers who became instant cheerleaders, the runners did what they do best...they ran!

The length of a marathon is 26.2 miles long. It is a grueling distance and perhaps what is even more grueling is the training that takes place in the months and years that lead up to marathon. I trained for a marathon in the winter of 2011. Running in temperatures that never exceeded 32 degrees Fahrenheit was a real test of my resolve. Had it not been for my running partners Marty Ledgerwood and John Mick, I am not sure I would have been able to complete the training.

Had it not been for my biggest cheerleader, my wife Julie being at the race on March 6, 2011, I am not sure I would have been able to cross the finish line in 4 hours 26 minutes and 13 seconds.

Yesterday, at the Boston Marathon one such runner made it to the 26 mile marker and then collapsed. He only had two tenths of a mile to go and yet his legs, his feet, his knees, his hips, his body said in emphatic fashion... "No more!" And there he lay...1,000 feet from the finish line.

My iWitness...
If we hear nothing else from this post today, please hear this...

"We run this race not alone!"

This runner who had collapsed was quickly helped to his feet by another runner. They didn't make it very far before his legs gave out. Then another runner came alongside and the two runners put the collapsed runner's arms around their shoulders and they carried him for a little bit. They didn't make it very far before two more runners came alongside and each one picked up this collapsed man by the feet.

What a sight! Four runners, each one carrying one of the man's four limbs, walking, then jogging and then running across the finish line... together!!

Tell me...
What was more important?
The finish line? Or how these five runners got to the finish line?

Tell me one more thing today...
How are you doing today?
Are you running strong?
Or are you collapsed on the track on life? Is your body and soul screaming out, "No more!"?

Let me offer this...
If you are running strong, be on the lookout for someone who is collapsed on your path and offer a hand.
If you are collapsed on the track of life and cannot move one more step, be patient, wait... someone will be along soon to offer you a hand.

We run this race not alone!
For those fellow runners who picked me up when I lay collapsed on the road of life, I offer my deepest of gratitude!
For those fellow runners that I have had the privilege of carrying for a mile or two, I offer my deepest of gratitude!
I'll see you out on the course!
Let's continue on running the race of life...together!

And oh, what a glorious sight it will be at the finish line!!!

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

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2. 1-12)

Monday, April 21, 2014

30 Years Ago

30 Years Ago on Easter Sunday in 1984 my grandfather, the Reverend Dr. Marshall C. Dendy (the grandchildren called him "Dendy") and I sat in the third pew from the front at the First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida (The Church that my grandfather had served as the pastor from 1942-1952).

Just two weeks earlier "Dendy's" wife, Nan (the grandchildren called her Nana) had passed away after suffering a stroke. Easter weekend 1984 would be Dendy's first Easter weekend without Nana in over 58 years. I was a junior at Davidson College in North Carolina and decided to make the trip down to keep "Dendy" company.

The Reverend Dr. Howard Edington preached a powerful sermon that Easter day entitled "King of Kings." During the service it came time to sing my all time favorite hymn:
"Jesus Christ is Risen Today."

Here are the lyrics:

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!

But the pain which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He's king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!

Dendy and I wrapped our arms around each other and began to sing this glorious hymn.
Nothing came out of our mouths.
No sound emitted.
Our vocal chords were silent.
All that could be heard were the tears streaming down our collective cheeks.

We got home from church and Dendy sat down at the piano and said, "David, we didn't get much of a chance to sing 'Jesus Christ is Risen Today' at church, how about we sing it right now. What key would you like to sing it in?"

"Let's sing it in the key of C", I responded.

And so we did. We proclaimed at the top of our lungs the magnificent mantra that Jesus Christ is Risen today! Alleluia!
It would be the last song we would ever sing together.
Dendy died three weeks later on the Wednesday after Mother's Day.

That was 30 years ago...

My iWitness...

Thirty years later on Easter Sunday 2014 the opening hymn was "Jesus Christ is Risen Today."

For thirty years I have never been able to make it all the way through that hymn without tears streaming down my cheeks.

Yesterday was no different.
My voice muted.
My face contorted.
My cheeks wet from tears.
My heart full of praise for the greatest and most profound message of all time...

"Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia"

I have the privilege of proclaiming it!
Nana and Dendy have the joy of living it in the heavenly kingdom for the past 30 years.

I have a feeling that next Easter I won't be able to make it all the way through the hymn without weeping.
I find it to be a wonderful tradition that started 30 Years Ago...

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

 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen...(Matthew 28. 5-6)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Aston Martin "Vanquish"

I was talking with a very good friend of mine on the phone yesterday and our conversation quickly turned to Easter. He asked me, "When it comes down to the essence of Easter... if you had to pick just one verse to explain it all, what verse would you pick?"

I was a little bit surprised by the fact that my response was so quick, so instinctive and so ingrained it would have even made Pavlov proud.

"And the angel said to them (the women who had come to the tomb), 'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is Risen!'" (My paraphrase of Luke 24.5)

My iWitness...

Anybody who knows me very well, knows that I love cars. I am fascinated by high end expensive cars. When I am around these beautiful, purring, powerful, sleek driving machines my heart beats a little faster, my palms perspire more than usual and the wings of the butterflies in my stomach start flapping!

Yesterday was no different. I found myself getting giddy as I slowly, and I mean very slowly walked past an Aston Martin Vanquish. And then it hit me... "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"

Great question! Why am I seeking the living among the dead? Why do I begin to think that "things" which have no heartbeat, which have no pulse would provide me with the very thing I seek: LIFE.

On this Easter Sunday let's take a hard look at that which we seek.
Do we seek "Life" among the heaps of things which in the end are among the dead?

I find it fascinating that as Mary "ran" away from the tomb of the dead she ran smack dab into the One who said, "I am the life..."

Let's put on our running shoes today and seek the living among the living!
Get ready to run into the risen Lord Jesus who is not dead, but is alive!

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

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

Friday, April 18, 2014



We have been friends since 5th grade. We went to different schools but attended the same church. For seven or eight years we were inseparable at church. We never dated. It was one of those relationships when I wanted to date her she didn't want to date me and vice versa. And yet, true friends we were. Then she got married. Then I got married.

And then we went our separate ways.
Do you remember what life was like before Facebook?
People went their separate ways with only the memories tucked away in their back pocket, only to be taken out every now and then to reminisce and thank God for the friendships of old.

We reconnected about 13 years ago. And then we reconnected again once Facebook arrived.
I received a Facebook message from her the other day that ended like this...

"My life is so different than I planned."

My iWitness...

My heart bends, softens, melts and breaks over such sentiments.

My life is so different than I planned...

I was speaking at a Men's Retreat at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas a couple of weekends ago and a gentleman came up to me and said, "If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans."

To my dear friend and to all who would venture to read this post -
"Whose plans for their life have turned out just as they planned?"

I started thinking about all of the curveballs, dead end streets and endless circles I have gone around thinking I was doing what I planned, only to find out that life was turning out so different than I planned.

I didn't plan on getting divorced.
I didn't plan on getting out of ministry.
I didn't plan on becoming a Senior Executive Consultant.
I didn't plan on having four children with two of them not talking to me for the last 16 years and 3 days (But who's counting?")
I didn't plan on being a Vice President of a University
I didn't plan on getting married again (So glad I did!!!)
I didn't plan on finding my "birth" family (Once again... So glad I did!)
I didn't plan on living in every quadrant of the United States of America.

I didn't plan on a lot of things...
I wonder if you can relate...
Help my friend out... let her know that just about everyone who reads this post's life has not turned out as we planned.

There is only one person I know whose life turned out exactly as planned.
His name is Jesus.
Today, Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified on a cross for our sins was no accident. It did not catch Jesus by surprise. It was exactly what Jesus had planned from the very beginning.
In three days we will celebrate with a raucous antiphonal chorus of "He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!"

It will turn out just the way Jesus planned.

Did your life turn out the way you planned?
Take great comfort in this... You're not Jesus!
It may sound trite but I have taken great comfort in the following saying for over 40 years...

"I don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future."

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

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29. 11

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the Shadows

Over the last two days I have spent 18 hours painting the ceiling, the walls, the nooks and the crannies of our lower level in our home. I think I went through 200 hundred songs on my phone to help pass the time.

Yesterday a song by Switchfoot struck a deep chord while my roller went up and down, up and down on the plain wall in front of me. I don't know if it was the overexposure of the paint fumes or the moving of the Holy Spirit... I will let you decide.

The title of the song was, "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine."
I cannot even tell you what the lyrics of the song say, but I can pay witness to this...They sang "the shadow proves the sunshine" over and over and over again.

My life has been in the shadows lately and I was emotionally, physically and spiritually enlightened by this mantra "the shadow proves the sunshine."

My iWitness...

Are you saying this phrase over and over again in your mind like I have been for the last 24 hours?
Like a hard rain trying to penetrate the hardened pan of dried dirt, I do believe the Holy Spirit finally made its way into my heart of hearts.

You cannot have shadows without sunshine!
With no brilliant light, shadows have no life.
With no ray of sunshine shadows are nonexistent.
Without the power of light, shadows are powerless.
It is quite the irony and oxymoron all rolled up into one.

So here I am living life in the shadows and my heart is overjoyed!
Because, "the shadow proves the sunshine!"

I don't know about you but this is a game changer for me.
Are you living in the shadows these days?
Life seem a little darker than normal?

Rejoice and again I say rejoice!
God is shining bright!

Call me crazy...
Call me maybe...
But whatever you do,
Don't call me despondent...
Don't call me down and out...
Don't even call me delusional...

Just call me overjoyed!
I'm "in the shadows!"

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

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1. 5

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91. 1-2

Monday, March 24, 2014

Your Name

We walked out of church yesterday and the pastor enthusiastically said to my daughter, "Good bye Faith!"
We hadn't walked more than two steps when Faith looked up at me and said, "I can't believe she remembered my name."

My iWitness...

What is it about our name?
Whenever we hear it called out in a crowd, our head will automatically turn.
Whenever our name is attached to the end of the phrase, "I love you...", our hearts burn with joy, security and love.
Whenever our name is used in conjunction with our middle and last name respectively we know our current standing just might be in jeopardy.
Who doesn't love the sound of their name?
Do you ever wonder if God calls you by name?
Have you every heard God say, "I love you (insert your name here)!"
Does your neck ever get sore from twisting this way and then that way because God has called your name so many times in showing you the beauty and wonder of His world?
"David, come look at the sunrise!
David, smell the bluebonnets!
David, witness the wonder of the love of your friends!
David, breathe deep the richness of my grace and unconditional love!
David, seize this opportunity to serve the people around you!
Goodnight David...
I love you David!"

The One who made me...
The One who made you...
We should never be surprised that God remembers our name.
The real question is, "How could He forget it?"

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

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

ps - Thank you Pastor Kat for remembering Faith's name. You made her day!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Trash or Treasure?

I am far from being "Green" but I do try to do my part by picking up litter when I do see it around the campus of which I work.
The other day I rushed out the front door of my 1926 built brick building on my way to chapel and noticed a scrap of paper awkwardly folded on the sidewalk. I ran right past it.
After chapel I retraced my steps across the quad and made my way up the front stairs to my office and lo and behold there sat that same piece of awkwardly folded paper.
I reached down, picked it up and got ready to throw it away in the appropriately placed trash receptacle. I paused momentarily as my curious mind wanted to know if there was anything written on the paper.
Sure enough...
On this piece of trash was printed a true treasure...

Prayer by Julian of Norwich
"Lord you know what I want. I fit is your will that I have it, or if it is not your will do not be displeased with my prayer, for I do not want anything that you do not want ."

My iWitness...

This faded treasure piece now sits on my desk and has become my daily prayer.
Julian Norwich has a fascinating story...check it out on Google.

I was blessed the other day by "pausing."
Had I not paused I would never have found the treasure that I thought was trash.

There's a lot of treasure to be found in our world.
So many times we make the quick decision that something is trash without pausing long enough to discover the treasure.

That is perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned over the years with some of the most bizarre people I have come across.
People who don't believe what I believe,
People who act differently than I act,
People who live differently than I live,
People who think differently than I think,
People who dress differently than I dress...

The list could go on and on.
When I have taken the time to pause, more times than not I strike gold!

Perhaps my prayer today in addition to Julian of Norwich's prayer is this...

"Oh Lord, please give the people that cross my path today enough time to pause to discover the treasure in me... And Oh Lord, please give me the time today to pause and discover the abundant treasure in others."

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

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matthew 13.44)

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Tonight Show

I grew up in Southern California on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.
The routine was typical.
Watch the 11:00 news on a TV that didn't even know what a remote control was.
At 11:30 continue watching the same station which meant you didn't have to get up and manually change the channel.
With its multi-colored curtains flowing the familiar booming voice of Ed McMahon would offer these two historic word - "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!"
From behind the curtain Johnny would appear. I always wondered, "Who pulls the curtain back for Johnny to walk through?"
For the next ten minutes we would sit as a family in complete silence only allowing the voice and image of Johnny Carson to fill our family room.

Six hundred seconds later the monologue came to a conclusion and off to bed I went.

The Tonight Show torch was soon passed to Jay Leno.

On Monday February 17, 2014 the Tonight Show Torch was once again passed on to none other than Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon busted out on to the New York stage and did a fantastic job of introducing himself by revealing his age (39), his six month old daughter, his wife, where he was from and then he said something like this...

"My mom and dad are in the audience tonight... I hope they are proud of me..."

My iWitness...

My first thought leapt out of my brain, "What do you mean 'I hope they are proud of me'? You're the host of The Tonight Show! You just came off of a successful run as the host of The Late Show. You started out on Saturday Night Live and now 39 years into your life you are wondering on the debut of your hosting the most successful late night television program in history whether or not your parents are proud of you."

My heart sank...

He didn't know...

I have talked about this topic before but it bears worth repeating here...

As children who grow up to be adults...we need to know if our parents are proud of us.

If Jesus had to know, then we have to know!

 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3. 16-17)

If you have never done it or even if you have done it a thousand times, let your children know that you are proud of them... that you are "well pleased" with them.

It just might make their day or perhaps even their life!

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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Message

The message to Faith and Joshua's teachers was quite simple...
"Please send Faith and Joshua to Y Care after school."
Two hours later Julie arrived at the school for a meeting about 5-10 minutes after school had let out. On her way to the meeting she decided to stop by the gym to say hello to Faith and Joshua.
Julie saw Faith...
But no Joshua.
Faith said Joshua never showed up.
Julie proceeded to the school office to inquire if she had sent the message to Joshua's teacher.
The answer was an affirmative.
The school office used the 1960's style "intercom" system to call Joshua's teacher and asked her if she had sent Joshua to Y Care.
Within seconds Joshua's teacher came running down the hall. She had just seen the message that the "runner" had left on her desk while she had been out in the hall dealing with a disciplinary issue.
Mama Bear Julie started running...
She ran down the hall
She ran through the front door
She ran across the street
She ran down the hill to the park which is the usual rendezvous spot to pick up Faith and Joshua after school...
And there he was...
All by himself...
In the snow covered park...
No other cars in the parking lot...
No other parents picking up their children...
No other children waiting...
Joshua was building a snowman...
Julie ran down the hill and yelled, "Joshua!"
Joshua turned...
Saw his mama...
His reaction was immediate...
He burst into tears...
The reunion was sweet as salty tears ran down their faces...

Why was Joshua in a snow covered park by himself?
The explanation was quite simple... Joshua hadn't gotten the message.

My iWitness...

Has this ever happened to you?
You are doing everything you are supposed to be doing.
You are going where you are supposed to be going.
You are following protocol.
And then all of a sudden you find yourself in the middle of a snow covered park on a subfreezing day frightened with no one in sight, with no clue why it is that the people who love you the most are nowhere to be found.

The explanation is quite simple...You didn't get the message.

Fear not...

If you listen real carefully, you will hear the footsteps in no time..
It's God...
And He's running...
To you!

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

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God... (Isaiah 43. 1-3)