Grave Clothes


Thursday’s Thoughts from Pastor David!

The first Thursday after Easter and the last Thursday of the month of April!

On Easter Sunday, Christians all over the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Out of the belly of death (after being digested for three days), Jesus arose out of the depths and out of the tomb to life once again!

There’s only one person who has stayed dead longer than Jesus to come back to life.
That would be Jesus’ good friend Lazarus.

Lazarus was dead in the tomb for FOUR days!

Jesus arrived at the tomb encasing the dead body of Lazarus and told the mourners and family members to remove the stone.

The response was overwhelmingly negative…

Let me paraphrase…
“Oh Jesus… Don’t do that. Lazarus has been dead for four days and his decomposed body will stink to the high heavens! Can’t you just say a prayer instead?”

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The Queen B (6/2/1940-12/1/2018)

I wrote this blog after seeing my birth Mom, Betty Jean Padgett back in July of 2017.
It was the last time I would ever see her…

Betty Jean passed away this evening, surrounded by her loving husband Doug, son Doug Jr., daughters Laura and Ellen.
I was privileged and honored to know and love Betty Jean and the whole family, all of  whom received me into the fold as a true family member with all of its rights and privileges just twelve years ago…
I love you Betty Jean! I will miss you!
We will see each other again, and together we will once again… Dance!



The Queen B sits on her throne, a rocking chair from Cracker Barrel.

Her reign covers towns with names like Gloucester, Mathews, West Point, Ware Neck, Gwynn Island, Urbanna, and Saluda.

Her reign reaches out to bodies of waters with names like Chesapeake, Rappahannock, Mobjack, and York.

From the Commonwealth of Virginia down to the Sunshine State called Florida, so has the train of her regal robe traveled.

The Queen B is married to King Doug, better known in the royal family as Senior.
The King’s thick Virginia accent is soothing to the ears as the phrase, “We are going about the house” would be pronounced, “We are going aboat the hoase.”

The royal family consists of two Princes and two Princesses, an equal balance of beauty, brawn, brains, love, and loyalty.

Prince Doug, commonly called Junior.
Princess Laura.
Prince David
Princess Ellen, the Baby Sis.

Three of the Royal Children share the Queen B and King Doug’s full DNA genealogy, with Prince David only sharing the Queen B’s genes as a traveling Court Jester made his way through the kingdom during the difficult Civil War of 1962-1963. With Prince David’s striking resemblance, the family has teased the Queen B that perhaps the traveling Court Jester was actually the King of Rock N Roll in disguise…


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The Shadow of Death

I will fear no evil (2)

Happy Thursday to you!

Novak Djokovic just won the Gentlemen’s Tennis Championship at Wimbledon on Sunday!

France just won the World Cup on Sunday!

Jordan Spieth just finished at 1 over at the Open Championships at Carnoustie, Scotland today! (The British Open)

And I am just six days removed from officiating the memorial service for a three year old little boy named Zachary who drowned in his backyard pool.
That reality weighs much heavier on my heart and mind than the aforementioned sporting events.

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Happy Birthday!



We celebrated my daughter Faith’s thirteenth birthday yesterday. Actually, we have been celebrating all weekend the fact our little girl is now a “TEENAGER!!”

As we sang, as we blew out candles, as we watched her face beam as she opened presents, the question arose in my mind, “Why do we celebrate birthdays?”


This question really fascinated me.
It seemed so simple and yet the question itself took me down lots of roads, highways and byways…

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“25 Days of Christmas” Now Available on Amazon

25 Days of Christmas Cover

Merry Christmas!!

I am pleased to announce the publishing of “25 Days of Christmas” – A 100 word daily devotional, counting down the days until the birth of the Newborn King!

Below is the brief description found on the Amazon website…

Christmas is the most special time of the year!
Anticipation, thoughtful preparation and joyful expectation all play a role in having a better understanding of the Christmas story.

“25 Days of Christmas” offers a unique look at unpacking the Christmas story. Author and Pastor David Dendy took on the challenge of using only one hundred words per day in this twenty-five day devotional adventure in diving into the depths of the biblical Christmas story.

Get ready to be challenged and inspired in this thought provoking daily devotional discipline that will offer the reader an opportunity to prepare fully for the arrival of the newborn King!

It is available in Kindle ($2.99) or Paperback $5.50).
Thank you for your continued support and may you see God in magnificent and meaningful ways in the New Year of our Lord 2016!

Grace and peace,
Laugh often and Fear not!


On March 8, 2012 I packed up my office at First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon into about 158 boxes (slight exaggeration).
Yesterday, three years, four months and five days later, in my office at the Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, those 158 boxes began to get unpacked.


Unpacking the ten boxes or so yesterday took me on an unexpected roller coaster ride filled with emotional, spiritual and mental twists, curves, corkscrews, banks and turns.

The boxes were filled with books… some unread, some read, some – I should have read. Classic novels (think Old Man and the Sea, Grapes of Wrath), Systematic Theology books that were once pored over in days gone by. Authors that I soaked up every word. Authors that I have never even looked past the cover. Some hardback, some paperback and some had lost their backs altogether.

The boxes were filled with photographs… weddings I have performed, beautiful portraits of family members who no longer grace this earth with their physical presence, young pristine daughters who haven’t uttered a word to me in seventeen years and three months, faithful friends that I am still fabulously connected to, friends that have fallen by the wayside due to the natural attrition of life and distance, stunning geographical landmarks that I have had the good fortune to visit, to climb, to ride and conquer. Most of all the photographs elicited a memory where a very strong emotional and visceral connection was attached. The flood of emotional attachments was so overwhelming it was like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant.

The boxes were filled with gadgets, for lack of a better term. Yo-Yo’s, Old 35 millimeter camera that my dad had bought back in the 1950’s, Davidson College letter opener, Bronze American Legion Award from high school, a very old laptop computer, paper weights. My favorite paper weight that I hadn’t seen in three years, four months and five days with one of my favorite quotes – “Never, never, never give up!” – Winston Churchill. I realized after holding this paper weight that I had indeed done exactly that over the last three years – Never given up!

The boxes were filled with bulletins and programs. Weddings and Funerals tend to need the services of a pastor. The names and dates of birth and death dotted several bulletins. Each funeral notice struck deep into my heart the privilege of knowing the person whose funeral I had presided over. Names and faces filled my mind over the couples I have married. Some now divorced. Some still happily married to this day.

The boxes were filled with letters and cards. Over the years I have collected and kept encouraging cards, letters, emails and handwritten notes from friends, family members, parishioners and people I don’t hardly remember that have bolstered my sense of call and purpose in this world. There are times in my life where my insecurities take hold of me and my heart and I have to draw on those cards, letters and notes to buoy me during particular storms and rough seas that attempt to assault my well sense of being.

The boxes were filled with Bibles. There it was! My first hardback Harper Study Bible. Flipping through the pages and hovering over underlined passages that still hold meaning and value to this day in yellow highlighter from my high school days. Certain tags on specific passages indicated that I had preached on the underlined passage. Memories flooded my heart of my first youth pastor in high school sitting down with me on the dock of the Sacramento River Delta sharing with me the love of Jesus, the laughter of life and the abundant life that could be found in Jesus. His hands held this very bible. He helped show me the way. Depression got a hold of him like nobody’s business a few years ago and he committed suicide. At his funeral I sat next to a group of friends that were sitting on that same dock thirty five years ago.

The boxes were filled…

I wonder if life isn’t a lot like those boxes.
Our lives are filled with memories, experiences, photographs etched in our minds and hearts, people who have served us well and some people who have almost done us in, gadgets that hold special feelings and thoughts, cards, letters and notes that lift us up in ways like no other, scriptures that serve as the foundation of our very being and life.

How often are those boxes of life “unpacked?”

I’ll be honest with you…
Unpacking those boxes of our lives is not for the faint of heart.
It’s serious business.
I wonder if that’s why we don’t unpack those boxes more often.
The seriousness of it can oftentimes be too much for us to handle.

The major thread that ran through my heart, mind and soul yesterday as I unpacked the boxes was that with each memory, each emotion, each laugh and each tear there was one person who had been present on every step of the journey…God!

The thrill of the unpacking was found in the joy that I experienced God with each box unpacked…
I hope you’ll excuse me.
I have got to go now.
I have some more boxes that need to be unpacked!

I bet you do too…

Laugh often and Fear not!

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

You’re Almost There…


This past Saturday I decided to take a hike. (People have been telling me to do this for years!!)
The 11,916 foot peak of Mt. Charleston looms large, looking over Las Vegas, Nevada.
Within a spectacular forty-five minute drive I was at the Mary Jane Falls Trailhead – Elevation 7,800 feet.

I wasn’t properly dressed. With blue jeans, hiking boots and a long sleeve shirt I had underestimated how warm it would be on the trail as I began the one and a half mile hike that would ascend another 1,500 feet.

The trail is well marked, well maintained and well worn.
I marveled at the fact that hundreds of thousands of hikers had helped pave the path before me.

The trail was full of hikers ascending and descending.
The warm “humid-free” air was breathtaking.
The view of the tall evergreen pines lining the trail was an eye-full.
The climb literally took my breath away.

An interesting phenomena started happening about half-way up the trail.
As I was ascending, there were those on the trail descending.
With each passing hiker and with a friendly nod of the head and a brief, “Hey!”, every hiker said exactly the same thing…

“You’re almost there!”


Sure enough, this mantra of “You’re almost there!” encouraged me and motivated me to keep going.
The fascinating thing about this particular hike is that I was never able to see Mary Jane Falls until I actually arrived.

I just had to trust the trail and adhere to the advice of my fellow hikers that I was almost there.
The moment finally arrived where I arrived at the summit of Mary Jane Falls.
The trail opened up and there were a number of fellow travelers taking in the view. As I came over the horizon, the mantra of “You’re almost there!” became “YOU MADE IT!”

I raised my bottle of water in the air to cheer the accomplishment as I breathlessly uttered, “Woohoo!”

This got me thinking…(Stick with me here… My imagination might get a little far fetched…)

My hike was very analogous to the Christian journey…
I am hiking through life and as I ascend the Mountain of God I run across all sorts of hikers ascending and descending.

Those ascending are fellow hikers trying to make their way up the arduous trail.(The living…)
Those descending are fellow hikers who have already made it to the top. (Those saints who have passed on)

A thought that popped into my head on the way up the mountain was, “How high is the mountain that each of us gets to climb?”

My Superman friend Tim’s mountain was only sixty-four years high. He passed by on his way down and encouraged me with his slow deep drawl, “David, you’re almost there!”

How much further would I be able to travel up “my” mountain before I would hit the summit thus ending my hike?

I had just taken a few steps onto the trail when I ran across my friend Hannah Noel. Her mountaintop was only nine weeks high.

About ten more minutes along the way Jacob was running down the mountain with the biggest smile on his face, his peak only being seventeen years high.

And so this is how it went for a full hour.
My cousin Gary…
My youth pastor Gary Lenhart…
My F-15 fighter pilot friend Skip “Hoss” Robertson… (We laughed together as I said, “Fly Skip Fly!”)
My tennis partner Howard…
Members of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church…
Members of First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls…
My grandparents…Nana and Dendy, Momma Jerry and Paw Paw..
My dad…He was still smoking his pipe!

And the list went on and on…
Each of them encouraged me, “You’re almost there! I have hiked the path you are on. Keep going! They are waiting for you at the summit!”

How high is the mountain that you are ascending?
I have no idea and neither do you…
For some of us the peak will be ninety years high.
For others, not so much.
Whatever the elevation our peaks might be…we just keep hiking!

And then the moment arrived…
I arrived at Mary Jane Falls…
I never saw it coming…
I knew I was close but I couldn’t see it until I came around a bend in the trail!
The chorus echoed in my heart and soul…

Hear the good news!
We will hear that victory chant as we walk or run or crawl on to the Summit of God’s heavenly kingdom, exhausted and exhilarated and literally out of breath!

As I sat there for about thirty minutes I had the complete joy of joining in the chorus of “You made it!” to my fellow hikers, many of whom I had passed along the trail.

Then the time came for me to start my descent.
Guess what I had the privilege of saying to each hiker I passed as they were ascending the trail?

“You’re almost there!”

Laugh often and Fear not!


He is Risen!!!

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was one of the most powerful men on earth. He was a Russian Communist leader during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and afterwards.

There is a story told about a journey he took. He went from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge crowd. The subject was, or course, atheism. He attacked Christianity! He said some insulting words about Christianity. And he argued against it as well. It took him a long time to convince the crowd. At the end of his talk, he was confident that he had convinced the crowd that they should reject Christ and embrace atheism.

At the end of the meeting Nikolai turned it over to the local parish priest to dismiss the crowd. The priest humbly ascended the stage and complimented Nikolai on his eloquence.

The priest turned to the crowd and uttered, “CHRIST IS RISEN.”

And the people passionately exclaimed as with one thundering voice, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”


Don’t you just love that!

I have heard this story for years. I have no idea if it is true or not. I guess it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the three most powerful words ever declared in the course of human history are as true today as they were the very first time they were uttered…

If we didn’t utter these words the Easter Lilies would trumpet the praise of this good news around the world!

I love the fact that when those three words are proclaimed, “HE IS RISEN”, my mind, my heart and my voice proclaim with an almost Pavlovian response, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!!

It’s indisputable!
It’s undeniable!
It’s incredible!

It’s life changeable!
It’s eternally livable!
It’s magnificently miraculous!
It’s totally true!

May the promise, the presence and the power of these three words bring you much joy today as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

As Jesus found new life, may all of us find, discover and embrace the new life He has in store for us this day!

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28. 5-6)

Laugh often and Fear not!

On Saying Goodbye…


David Dendy and his 90 year old “girlfriend” Bettie Lively!

The anticipation was great. At 10:04 am yesterday morning with bated breath I knocked on the door of her apartment. I heard her approach. The door knob turned and the door swung open with my girlfriend’s fifty-seven inch tall frame standing there with her bright eyes looking up to mine. Her sweet upbeat voice sounded exasperated as she said, “Where have you been?! I’ve been waiting all morning for you.” (I was four minutes late.)

Her arms shot up in the air as I bent my seventy-four inch tall frame down to meet her diminutive stature. We embraced and as we parted, her ninety-year old hands clasped the sides of my face as she planted a “smooch” right on my lips. We laughed in spite of ourselves.

We sat down in our usual spots and the hour long conversation began.
I gave her a signed copy of my book (Seeing God at Work Every Day – The Forty-Day Challenge… available at She was thrilled to know that I had undertaken the task of writing a book. It fit perfectly on her little lap and she held on to it the whole time we talked as if it were some treasured family heirloom.

I told stories that I have told her hundreds of times before. Because of her memory loss issues, each retelling of the same ol story is met with glee, wonder and awe as Bettie many times replies, “You don’t mean it! Did that really happen? Oh my…”

Yes, Bettie, they really did happen. And that is what is so wonderful about our relationship. It is built on 20 plus years of laughter, tears, unbelievable and ridiculous stories of frivolity and much, much more.

One of my favorite stories of Bettie that I will take to my grave is about eighteen years ago she said to me, “David, I am old enough to be your grandmother. Twenty years earlier I would have been old enough to be your mother. And twenty years before that I would have run off with you!” I have no doubt we would have!!

The conversation came around to “what else is going on in your life David.”
And then I broke the news…
I am moving to Las Vegas to be the pastor of the Mountain View Presbyterian Church.
Bettie’s arms went up in the air as she proclaimed, “Oh that’s wonderful!”
She followed that up with, “When do you leave?”
“This Sunday” was my reply as I watched the wheels in her ninety year old brain churn away, processing the timeline of what I had just stated.

Her eyes moistened, her face became a little scrunched and she looked right at me through her spectacles and said, “So…this is the last time I am going to see you…”

I hesitated in my response and then finally said the word that was on the tip of my quivering lip, “Yes…”

We both cried in the reality of our impending circumstance. She waved her hands in front of her face as some women are wont to do, as if the waving of the hands in front of our teared up eyes will somehow make the flowing tears dry up.

The conversation continued for another twenty minutes or so..
She told me about how great her life has been and how she is ready for the Lord to take her.
She said, “David, every now and then someone really special comes along in your life and you never want to say goodbye. You are one of those people for me David.”
I nodded in agreement.
Bettie lives in a retirement home and she lamented about the population of the home by saying, “It is so hard here in some respects. Every day someone is dying and it is so hard to say goodbye over and over, day after day.”
I nodded in agreement. (What else was I going to do…)

I knelt before her and I took her little hands into my big hands. Feeling the softness of her aged hands against mine, humbled me to the core as I contemplated the number of years those hands had lived and clasped in prayer and reached out in love and held others in sweet care.

How blessed am I to have been held by those hands.
I offered a prayer through choked up tears.
We walked to the door and kissed each other and with me standing on one side of the threshold and with Bettie on the other side holding the door exactly the same way she held it one hour before, I looked down at her and she looked up at me and with great love in our voices we said, “Goodbye…”


What is it about saying, “Goodbye” that is so difficult?
If I spent a good thirty minutes on this I have no doubt that I could articulate an answer in a way that would strike at the heart of the matter. But in another sense, if I did that I just might be limiting my experience and your experience by the confounds of some written down English words.

So… how about if you let your own mind and heart ponder that thought…
What is it about saying, “Goodbye” that is so difficult?

I have had to say “goodbye” to a number of people recently. It is difficult, heartbreaking and challenging.
Even when Jesus went to the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept. (John 11:35).

And so in my ever increasing desire to be like Jesus, I will do the same…
on saying goodbye to Bettie…
and to many others…

Laugh often and Fear not! (Cry often too!)

PS – I have included a video by one of my favorite artists, Michael W. Smith singing, “How to Say Goodbye”