The Trunk

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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 Smile of Love

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Our family had the complete privilege and joy of spending ten days together on a much anticipated Hawaiian vacation on the island of Maui. Our family was celebrating two  2016 mileposts – Julie turning a half a century and our fifteenth wedding anniversary!

Two days after our arrival the Dendy family arrived at slip #55 at the harbor to embark on a snorkeling adventure on the “Maui Magic.” We bounded on to the boat around 7:30 in the morning full of anticipation. Fresh fruit and muffins found their way on to my plate before the boat launched. My typical gregarious self was in full motion in meeting the awesome crew and other passengers. After getting our instructions and making sure the other forty passengers were safely on board, off we went to the island of Molokini!

About halfway to Molokini, my wife Julie asked for me to look for something underneath my seat. I bent my head over to look and quickly realized I would not be able to fulfill her request.

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The Average of Five

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THURSDAY’S THOUGHTS FROM PASTOR DAVID

The Average of Five

Here is a few wonderful questions to ponder as you mosey into the weekend…

Who are you?
Who are your friends?
Who are your traveling companions on this road of life?

Have you ever heard of this “rule” called “The Average of Five?”

It goes like this…

“We are the average of our five closest friends.”

Basically the rule of The Average of Five is stating we become like the people we associate with the most.
Once again, my question for you and me is:
Who are you hanging out with the most these days?
Are you truly the average of the five closest people to you?

Is that a good look for you?
Is it a bad look for you?
Is it somewhere in between?

How does your presence in “The Average of Five” influence those around you?
How does the presence of your “Five” closest friends influence you?

We are all on this road of life.
Who are your traveling companions?

I almost laughed out loud with this Good News Translation of Proverbs 13: 20… The Bible many times simply says what needs to be said straight out…

Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.

The English Standard Version of the same verse states it a little more gently…

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Either way, you get the point.

Let’s choose our “Five” carefully, prayerfully and thoughtfully…

I have a feeling if we all had God as one of our “Five”, our average would go way up!!

The Apostle Paul offers these words in making our “average” increase on our marvelous journey of life.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
(Romans 12: 1-2 The Message)

See you out on the Road!

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Taffy or Teflon?

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Are you made of Teflon or Taffy?

Teflon – a non-stick substance…

Taffy – Made by stretching or pulling a sticky mass of boiled sugar…

Using these two substances (work with me here!) which product, Teflon or Taffy would describe your interactions and your relationship building experience.

We meet people…

We get to know people…

We invest in people…

We laugh with people…

We struggle with people…

We make a decision to walk with people…

People have problems…

People have issues…

People come from dysfunctional families…

I will stop being obtuse…

When you encounter people are you Taffy (do you stick?) or are you Teflon (do you not stick) to the people with whom you have become involved.

Taffy or Teflon?

Which would you say?
Or are you Taffy with some and Teflon with others? And vice versa…?

Jesus tells a great story which is two-thirds Teflon and one-third Taffy.

It’s the story of the Good Samaritan.

Perhaps you have heard about it.

Jewish guy gets robbed and the daylights beat out of him and cast to the side of the road.

A religious leader walks up, crosses the road and walks right by him. Total Teflon!!!

Another religious leader walks up, crosses the road and walks right by him. Total Teflon!!!

A Samaritan guy, acknowledged social enemy of the Jewish guy, walks up bends over, picks the Jewish guy up, helps him to safety, pays for his night in a hotel and offers the innkeeper more money to take care of the Jewish guy until he is fit to return home. Total TAFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Think about this for a moment…

What people are you mostly Taffy with?
What people are you mostly Teflon with?

Have you ever given much thought as to why which is which?

What would happen if we all became Taffy with everyone we met?

What would happen if we all became Taffy with those who met us?

I just wonder…

All I know is God became incarnate in the person of Jesus to be totally TAFFY with humanity.

I am stuck on Jesus!
Jesus is stuck on me!

Looks like we are stuck with each other!
Sticky Taffy is pretty cool!

So is Jesus!

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Room for one more?

 

Full ElevatorOne of my favorite experiments in life is riding an elevator.

I love pushing the up or down button.

The anticipation of waiting to see which elevator door is going to open from the bank of elevators is almost too much to handle sometimes.

The “ding” that my elevator has arrived only builds my anticipation.

Then…

Then…

The doors slowly start to open as I have quickly positioned myself front and center…

The doors part, my mind starts to race, my palms sweat, my pupils dilate to saucer like size,

Who is going to be on the elevator?
How many people will be crammed into the elevator?

What faces are about to greet me when the doors fully retreat into the side pockets?
Will there be room for me? Or will I have to wait for another elevator?

Just as a quick aside, I am always a little disappointed when the elevator car is empty.

Now comes the fun part!
Whether I am riding up or riding down, I always wonder how many stops will the elevator make before I get to my desired floor.

Once again the anticipation begins to build as the momentum of the moving elevator starts to slow to a stop.

The whole anticipation cycle repeats itself!!

The doors once again begin their slow retreat to the side pockets.

And yes, there they are!
The people who are waiting for the elevator are standing there front and center experiencing exactly the same thing I experienced just a minute or so before.

This is my favorite phrase while on the inside of the elevator with the doors open wide and people standing across the threshold…

“Come on in! There’s always room for one more!”

It never occurs to me to evaluate the race of the people, the morality of the people, how good or bad looking the people might be, the gender, the sexuality, the economic disposition, the accomplishments or the achievements of those who wait to enter…

I simply say, “Come on in! There’s always room for one more!”

I always say that! No matter how many people are in the elevator!

And guess what?

There always is…

My hope is the same can be said of our church and for our world and for you…

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13: 34)

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Alone

 

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It has happened to me.

It has happened to you…

We have been sent to the corner of the room…
We have run off to the bedroom…
We have jumped in the car and pealed out of the driveway…
We have put on the “earbuds”…
We have shut the door to our office…
We have taken the long walk…
All of that and more to do and be just one thing…
ALONE!

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You never know…

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One of the greatest needs we have as humans is the need to be accepted.
We offer people the greatest gift when we accept others into the fold.
People offer us the greatest gift when they accept us into the fold.

Chew on that for just a moment…

Okay…done?

This is when life gets messy…
The lengths to which we go to accept people and the lengths to which we go to be accepted by others.
It’s never clean and easy… Which is what makes life so fascinating!
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Great is Thy Faithfulness

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I love when Thursdays roll around!

Quick question to set the tone for the day…

Are you faithful because others are faithful and the circumstances surrounding you are favorable? Or are you faithful because you are faithful no matter what the circumstances warrant? 

Definition of “faithful”

  1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty:

a faithful worker.

  1. true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc.
  2. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant:

faithful friends.

  1. reliable, trusted, or believed.
  2. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate:

a faithful account; a faithful copy.

  1. full of faith; believing.

I love the inspiring hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

It speaks of God’s constant and persistent faithfulness regardless of those circumstances and situations which might otherwise alter God’s faithfulness.

Check out these words…

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

 Here’s a little sampling where I have seen God’s faithfulness lately…

The Sun came up!
          Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Holding the hands of an elderly couple as I prayed for the husband’s healing, I was overcome with the presence of God’s spirit! Yes! Surely, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there with you…”
          Great is Thy Faithfulness!

 Watching the angst come over the face of a woman whose past is checkered, whose greatest fear is being judged and whose most recent experience is one of “rejection” and being able to tell her, “In Christ, in the Church, in my heart, ‘You are ACCEPTED!’” And then watching her eyes fill to the brim as this new realization and new reality began to sink in…
          Great is Thy Faithfulness!

 Teaching my children the definition of sin, confession, repentance and forgiveness and basking in the joy of seeing their eyes light up – “we are forgiven every time?” Yes, every time! “When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and forgives us of our sins.” (1 John 1: 9)
          Great is Thy Faithfulness!

 A young man’s challenge to overcome a quick draw trigger of a judgmental attitude and witnessing this young man change right before my very eyes.
          Great is Thy Faithfulness!

 A pastor having the best day of his new ministry yesterday and feeling the tears flow down his own cheeks as his heart bursts into praise of thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God!
Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Great is Thy Faithfulness…
See you Sunday!

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com
www.daviddendy.com

Grant

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One of my best friends in the whole wide world has a son named Grant.
Grant is an awesome tennis player!

Grant’s parents named him Grant because they came out to visit me and my wife when we lived in a town called “Grants Pass.”

Supposedly, President Ulysses S. Grant passed through there one time. So… naturally the people decided they should call that particular area of southern Oregon, “Grants Pass.” (Other Oregonians call it Grass Pants!)

I bought my first bicycle with a banana seat and U-shaped handlebars at a department store in Atlanta, Georgia called “Grants.”

The ever profound and soul searching song “Broken Hallelujah” is sung by Amy Grant!

Back in 2001, with my hip hairstyle, while sitting at a sidewalk cafe in the ski resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho two sisters (ages 9, 17) approached me with pen and paper in hand asking me if I was indeed Hugh Grant!

Making my way through seminary would have been much more difficult had it not been for the number of generous “grants” I received through some wonderful scholarship opportunities.

As you can tell, I love the noun and more specifically the verb – “grant”

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…

I love the verb “grant” the most when the word “God” is in front of it.
Special thank you to American Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr for putting those two words together in the most eloquent way.

I have had a rather trying week and the way Reinhold uses the phrase “God grant” has become a mainstay for people like me everywhere who have a trying day, or week, or month or year or life… I am honored to share with you what Reinhold wrote after penning “God grant…”

God grant me grace to accept with serenity 
the things that cannot be changed, 
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

These inspired words are commonly known as the “Serenity Prayer.”

I call it the “Grant” prayer…
There’s more than “serenity”…
There’s courage
There’s wisdom
There’s sin
There’s trust
There’s surrender
There’s God’s will
There’s happiness
There’s forever…
And then, there’s Amen!

And for some glorious reason when I utter the word, “Amen”, peace hovers and then descends upon my soul!

I guess maybe that’s why they call it “The Serenity Prayer.”
Such Serenity May God
grant…

SeeingGodatWorkEveryDay…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com
www.daviddendy.com