The Trunk

2016-ford-explorer-xlt-rear-end

The first Thursday of February and of all things it’s Groundhog Day!!

I went outside this morning at 5:15 am and did not see my shadow.

That can mean only one thing!!
Sunrise is still one hour and twenty-six minutes away…

I have a friend…
Okay, let me be a little more specific.
I have a friend who is a Pastor of a large church in Houston, Texas.

He’s an incredible preacher who lives out his faith in extraordinary ways.

As with all Pastors, he does a have one flaw.

He loves to drive fast, becoming increasingly impatient with anyone driving slower than him.

Ok, you’re right… That’s two flaws. But who’s counting?

His commute to and from church can be grueling, especially with all of those “slow” drivers clogging up the streets and freeways!

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The Game

lambeau-field

It’s the Thursday before the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America.
It’s the Thursday after Novak Djokovic lost in the second round of the Australian Open! (UGH!)
It’s the Thursday before the Green Bay Packers advance to Super Bowl LI – (I was at Super Bowl VII – Miami’s undefeated season! – Beat Washington 14-7)

It’s the Thursday before David Dendy preaches about Volunteering

All that to say… Today is Thursday and that can only mean one thing!!
Time for:

Thursday’s Thoughts from Pastor David

Think of a football stadium…
Not the Cowboys stadium. No one is there…
How about Lambeau Field… where the mighty Packers of Green Bay, Wisconsin play.

It’s Sunday afternoon about noon on the West coast.

The Packers are just about ready to kick off against the Atlanta Falcons.
(Now, I know the game will actually be played in Atlanta, but stick with me here…)

Where will you be when Mason Crosby the kicker of the Green Bay Packers kicks the ball into the end zone of the Atlanta Falcons to start the game?

Where will you be when Aaron Rodgers throws a perfect strike to receiver Jordy Nelson for a touchdown?

Where will you be when the sound of the helmets crashing like thunderbolts echo of the storied stadium walls?

Where will you be?

You have lots of choices…

  1. The Tailgate Parties taking place across the street from the stadium in some homes which have been transformed into Packer Backer Party Houses, complete with taps built into the wall, oversized big screen HDTV’s, in the coziness of heated rooms along with watching the game on TV and seeing all the commercials.
  2. The Parking Lot – Tailgate parties with brats, ribs, hamburgers and dogs will dot the parking lot as the smoke and the aroma of these animals sizzling on the grill will fill the air. You will be able to hear the distant roar of the crowd, but you will be outside the stadium, not inside. You will know the game is going on, but you will have to rely on secondhand “sound” to let you know how the game is progressing.
  3. The Stands – You’ve got your seat snuggled right next to a stranger on a bleacher made of aluminum. Ninety percent of the stands in Lambeau Field are not “seats” in the sense of chairs with backs and side arms with cup holders. Just a bare piece of metal to sit on in sub-freezing temps. You will see the game. You will hear parts of the game. The players will typically look much smaller forty to fifty yards away from your seat than they would up close. The referee will have to be amplified through the speaker system in order for you to hear about all the penalties that will be charged against the Falcons! Binoculars would be a great asset.
  4. The Sidelines – Talk about up close! You’re on the sidelines. You can hear the crushing hits and the trash talk. The players are right there in your face, breathing hard with waves of what looks like smoke shooting out from their mouths. The play calling and the coach’s sending in designed plays will be right in front of you. You can turn around and see all the people in the stands.

 

Where would you like to be?
Which place suits you?

Where will you be?
The Parties across the street?
The Parking Lot?
The Stands?
The Sidelines?

Oops!
I left out one more place you could be…
ON THE FIELD!!!

On the field you are PLAYING THE GAME OF FOOTBALL!

On the field you get to hit, tackle, run, catch, throw, block, and talk trash!

On the field, the players are life size, with real faces and eyes and ripped arms.
On the field you get to run an offensive play against a defense.

On the field you get to run a defensive play to keep the opposition from scoring.
On the field you get to experience the game of football like no one else!
Wow!

Where would you like to be?

And so it is with the Christian life!

There’s a game of eternal significance going on and today…
The Thursday after the Green Bay Packers’ stunning victory over the Dallas Cowboys
I am wondering…
I am wondering…

In this game called the Christian Life, where are you?

If it was up to me to share with you where I think you should be, I could sum it up in four words…
GET IN THE GAME!!!

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3: 12-14)

 

Grace and peace,
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Are you Insane?

the-myth-of-sisyphus-nicci-bedson
Thursday’s Thoughts from Pastor David

The last Thursday of 2016!
Here we go!!!

Has anyone ever accused you of being “insane”?!
Me too!

The definition of insanity has been described to me with these immortal words…
“Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” 

Such a strong definition reminds me of the Greek mythological 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, over and over and over again.

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Two Days Before Christmas

mary-and-joseph

The Thursday before Christmas…

Growing up I always had the impression Mary and Joseph were frantically searching for shelter in Bethlehem and at the last moment when Mary’s contractions were one minute apart, they found the stable and upon entering the stable Mary immediately gave birth while the cows lowed, the goats bleated and the sheep baaah’ed (is that even a word?).

Where such an idea found root and blossomed in my brain, only to bloom for the last 53 years is beyond my comprehension.

But, today I am trying out some new “mind-bending” techniques without the use of herbal, organic supplements (legal or otherwise!).

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The Empty Chair

emptychair

For my dear friends who are grieving the loss or the absence of a loved one this Christmas…

The Empty Chair

“The Empty Chair” sits vacant at every home this Christmas.
It sat there all alone in my house and it sits all alone in yours.
The difficult part about dealing with “The Empty Chair” is that it used to be filled…
Filled to overflowing perhaps…
Filled with sounds of laughter…
Filled with striking smiles and twinkling eyes…
Lips that curled a certain way right before busting out laughing and even crying…
Eyes that narrowed in keen observation, eyes that softened and moistened upon saying “good-bye”…
Eyes that lit up with a joy uncontainable upon seeing your face…

The Empty Chair used to be filled..
Filled with hands that you used to hold and stroke and hands that used to hold yours…
Hands that had wedding rings and diamond rings and mood rings and turquoise rings…
Hands that had dug in the dirt, changed the oil, baked the birthday cakes and
Hands that you just knew you would hold forever and ever…

The Empty Chair used to be filled…
Filled with a voice that was so unique you could pick it out as “that” one and only voice in a crowded mall.
The voice that made your heart sing every time that voice uttered your most precious name…
The voice that read you bedtime stories, Bible stories and the “funnies” on Sunday morning…
The voice that would command, direct, whisper and shout.

The Empty Chair used to be filled…
Filled with someone you loved or still love…
They are no longer at the table
Not necessarily because they don’t want to be..
They may just not be able…

The Empty Chair they used to fill is empty because…
They have passed away, never again to see you another day…
They have ventured off to another land, promising to one day return and hold your hand…
They are imprisoned either literally or figuratively which by either case hurts none the less…
They are hurt beyond compare and the only way they know to respond is to hurt you back by filling the empty chair with just “air.”
They might be on vacation and will return next year to fill The Empty Chair.

The Empty Chair used to be filled by…
Our husband, our wife, our granddad, our grandmother, our mother, our father, our son, our daughter, our significant other, our friend, our uncle or aunt, our brother or sister…

It is always this time of the year that The Empty Chair makes the loudest noise.
It’s Christmas and we celebrate with all the smiles and with all the joys.
And yet, The Empty Chair is not a seasonal chair…
It sits empty all year long right in front of you, right there.

It is with sadness and it is with glee that we celebrate and tolerate The Empty Chair.
The Empty Chair is a blessed curse,
Some days are better and some days are worse.
Our memories of those who once filled The Empty Chair fill our heart
Do not let the memories evaporate would be a good place to start.
Instead, take one step or more
And walk across the dining room or living room floor
And sit, sit tall or sink right in The Empty Chair
And absorb the spirit of the one who is no longer here and no longer there
And praise God above for the love you are able with family and friends to share
Because, one day your spirit will be all that is left to fill The Empty Chair…

 

Love came down…

love-came-down

Ten more days until Christmas!!

When was the last time you read the Christmas story from Luke’s perspective?
Well…

Here it is…

Luke 2  English Standard Version (ESV)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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Reason for the Season?

Reason for the season

Reason for the Season?

Someone will post it on Facebook…

It will grace the bumper of the car in front of you…

It will float out there like a righteous hot air balloon amid some serious Christmas conversation…

With the casualness of saying “How’s it going?”, it will be reeled off the tongue of a sincere friend…

You may even be accosted with it by some non-commercialized zealots intent on keeping Christmas “pure”…

With big letters, some store owners will paint it on their storefronts…

Maybe I’m the first one to bring it to your attention this Christmas season…

You are going to come face to face with it sooner or later, so here we go…

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”

There…
I said it…
You just read it…
Whew…
Glad that’s over with…

My iWitness…

I get it.
I understand.
I even put it on the top of this blog post!
I know what “they” are driving at when they proclaim it and declare it.
I see the desire to “rail against the commercialized Christmas machine.”

Yes…

The focus of the Christmas season needs to center on the newborn savior.
However…

Jesus is not the reason for the season.

Yes, you read that right.

Let me repeat myself…

Jesus is not the reason for the season.

If Jesus is not the reason for the season, then who or what is the reason for the season?

Do you want to know the answer?
Of course you do!

YOU are the reason for the season!!

Listen carefully as you read the most quoted verse in all of scripture…

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3. 16-17)

God loved who? The world!
Who is the world? YOU
God gave His son. So that whoever believes…
Who is whoever? YOU
God sent His son not to condemn, but to save.
Save who? YOU
God sent His son into the world so that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.
Who gets eternal life? YOU

Get it?
Got it?
Good!

YOU are the reason for the season! And don’t let anyone tell you different…

And that’s my iWitness…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

ps – This is a chapter out of my “iWitness December” daily devotional book. Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle format.

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

The Hands of Grace

hands-of-grace

I received the following letter earlier this week from an old High School friend from Orange, California
________________________________________

November 29, 2016

The Reverend David W. Dendy
8601 Del Webb Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89134

Dear David,

I don’t know if you remember me or not but this is YdNed DiVad. You used to call me Yid the Kid. That nickname has carried with me all my life. Thanks David!

I moved to Orange from the old country in 5th grade and we had Mr. Smith together along with Doug Fields and Felicia Beatty. Do you remember them?

Anyway, for some odd reason you came to my mind the other day and I set out on a search to find you. There you were on Facebook. I googled you and there you were again. A pastor? Really? You? You were always a nice guy and I can see you as a pastor. The pastor at my church is kind of crazy, so I can see where you might fit that mold. LOL!

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Forgiveness Kills…

Forgive

Dictionary definition of the word Forgive.

No subject invites more push back, more dissension and more consternation than that of the topic of “Forgiveness.”

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…

Everyone seems to be offended these days.
College students are offended that they have to pay for college. Hourly wage earners are offended they are not making $15 an hour. Democrats are offended by Republicans and vice versa. Protesters are offended by the opposition’s second amendment right to offer an opposing view. School districts are offended by students wearing T-Shirts that say God Bless America. And coffee drinkers the nationwide are offended by plain red Starbucks Coffee Cups. Just to be clear… It is not Starbucks responsibility to wish people a Merry Christmas. The responsibility is ours! People are offended because the pastor wears a robe. People are offended because the Pastor wears his shirts tucked out.

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Flying the W

cubs-w-flag

Finally!

The Chicago Cubs can “Fly the W” as the winner of the 2016 World Series!

Congratulations as the longest drought in championship history is now over.

Last night, during the epic Cubs-Indians game 7, there was much discussion from all the broadcasters on one subject and one subject alone: Managing

Should Joe Maddon, manager of the Chicago Cubs have used a certain pitcher in the previous game?
Who should Terry Francona, manager of the Cleveland Indians substitute for certain players?
Will Maddon put in this pitcher or that pitcher in the next inning?
Will Francona pitch to this batter or intentionally walk that batter?

The second guessing, the analysis, the evaluation and the judgment of the managers last night by the broadcasters was endless.

Endless of course until the Cubs secured the victory and were able to “Fly the W!” (A tradition when the Cubs win a game is to fly a flag with the letter W on it)

Interesting how the Owners of each respective team was rarely, if ever mentioned.

Honestly, I cannot even tell you who the owners are of each team.

The focus of the conversation was on the Managers.

This Sunday, November 6th, is Stewardship Sunday at MVPC where we, as a congregation will have the honor, privilege, joy and blessing of offering to God our 2017 financial commitment card as an act of worship.

God, the owner of this world and all of creation and Lord of our lives and hearts has entrusted all these aforementioned items into our care as “Managers.”

We are not the owners!
We are the managers!

God has provided us with all the necessities of life as the owner.
How will we be “stewards”? In other words, how will we be managers of said resources?

Do we manage life or does life manage us?
Do we manage our finances or do our finances manage us?
Do we manage God or does God manage us?

Here is what I have learned over the years about being a “Steward” (Manager) of God’s resources…

  1. It is better to give than receive (very scriptural – Acts 20: 35)
  2. Giving back to God 10% of my income (tithing) has been the best managerial decision of my life. (Gen. 14: 19-20 / Gen. 28: 20-22 / Malachi 3: 10-12 / Hebrews 7: 1-2)
  3. God can do more with my 90% than I can do with my 100%. (See number 2) When I keep all the money to myself, I always seem to run out. When I give away 10% God always stretches my 90% in to more than enough.
  4. Malachi 3:10 – Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” It is the only place in all of scripture where God says, “Test me…” Let me encourage you to put God to the test and give 10% and watch the blessings pour down!
  5. “Give until it hurts” – We have all heard this line before. Here is the truth I have experienced – The only time I hurt is when I don’t give. I have never hurt by giving of my resources, my time, my talents and my energies.
  6. Giving is a great way to be “God-like.” John 3: 16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I could go on and on…

Let me encourage you to pray and after praying, be bold.
As our Stewardship Theme has been this fall, let us be “Fearlessly Generous” in our commitment to God and watch God pour out blessings which will simply and profoundly take our breath away…

As a church, as a community of faith, as a body of believers let’s do one thing this Sunday

FLY THE W!!

Grace and peace,
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com