Have you ever been “Stung?”


I needed to be back at the church for a scheduled 7:00 pm meeting tonight. I quickly made my way home by 5:20 pm to grab a bite to eat and spend some time with the family before retreating back to the workplace for the night.

My wife Julie was busy with Faith hanging some pictures on the wall of Faith’s newly painted and decorated room. Faith was having her first try at “hammer and nail.” Julie suggested I grab some leftovers from the previous night’s delectable dinner. I made my way to the kitchen and found the aforementioned leftover in the appropriate clear Tupperware container with the pale pink lid. No need to empty the contents onto a plate. Just dig it out of the ready-made pseudo bowl.

Clouds covered the usual clear sky, causing the temperature to drop to a very comfortable 95 degrees. (It’s a dry heat!!!) I asked my son Joshua if he would be willing to join me on the back balcony for some fascinating conversation while I ate dinner out of a Tupperware container.

His response was quick, decisive and very polite, “Thank you for the invitation Dad, but I am going to keep playing “Boom Beach” on Mom’s phone.”

I made my way through the sliding glass door and sat down on the green patio chair that swivels and rocks. To be totally candid, my son’s polite response and rebuff stung.


I am scared to ask this next question.
I believe that if I knew the answer my heart would sink so deep I would wallow in a depressed wasteland for weeks.

Here I go…
How many times has my heavenly Father asked me to join Him for some fascinating conversation and my response has been, “Thank you for the invitation God, but I am going to keep (you fill in the blank!)…..

How many times do I unconsciously or subconsciously or even blatantly say, “Thanks but no thanks” to the Father’s tender invitation to sit with Him ’round the proverbial campfire of conversation?

What on earth could possibly be more important than time spent with the Father of the universes and listen to His voice as He listens to the voice He created in me?

No one likes to get stung…even God.
Oh dear Lord, please take the “stinger” out of me as I carve out time and space to converse with you and others.
It’s going to be fascinating!

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,'” (Hebrews 3: 7-8)

Laugh often and Fear not!


My Four Year Old Date

It happens every Friday at 3:15 pm, fifteen minutes before the school bus arrives.
Every Friday without fail.
I wouldn’t miss this date for the world.

Every Friday around 3:10 pm I grab my six foot by six foot orange striped blanket/towel. I walk out my front door and turn left and ease my way past four houses and at the fifth house I spread out my soft blanket and lay it on the coarse St. Augustine grass. I lay down on the towel and prop myself up on my left elbow and wait.

I don’t have to wait long before the front door of the fifth house opens up and here comes Levi. On his left shoulder he carries an insulated soft sided cooler that contains four very important items. One twelve ounce can of Coke. One seven and a half ounce can of Coke. Two small bags of Trail Mix.

We open up the bag and a surprise look flashes across my face every Friday, “Look at what your mom packed for us! Two Cokes and two bags of Trail Mix! Wow!” Levi’s face lights up like a Christmas tree. I pull out two miniature red solo cups and pour Coke into them. We raise our glasses and click them together and proudly say, “Cheers!” Levi’s pronunciation is more like “Tweers.”

And so begins my wonderful, weekly, warm Four Year Old Date…


This past Friday I asked Levi what he was going to do on Saturday. His answer was quick and decisive. “I don’t get to spend time with you on Saturdays. Only on Fridays.”

This is true. Only on Fridays do we get to laugh on the lawn and chug our Cokes.

I spoke to Levi’s mom about this and her eyes became as big and round as saucers. “Every day Levi wakes up and asks what day it is. When I tell him that it is not Friday, he immediately flops back down on the bed. But when I do tell him that it is Friday, he straightens right up, jumps out of bed and gets dressed right away and all day long he asks, ‘Is it time yet? Is it time to go outside and see David?'”

The anticipation is almost more than Levi can take. The front door on Fridays opens up and Levi almost rushes as fast as he can so that he can sit down on the orange striped blanket, look me in the eye and have our fifteen minutes together alone before the bus arrives and a slew of the neighborhood kids come bounding off.

It has become a ritual, a rite of passage and a holy time for a four year old and a fifty-one year old to come together and share a snack and a Coke together.

Of the two of us, the fifty-one year old and the four year old, which one of us represents Jesus the most? What would you say?

I believe you have guessed correctly.
Levi, the four year old best represents Jesus in my eyes on this weekly encounter.
In reality it’s Jesus who waits all day, every day to meet us face to face.
Jesus can’t wait to hear the sound of our voice.
Jesus can’t wait to be in our presence.
Jesus can’t wait to gaze lovingly into our eyes.
Jesus can’t wait to raise a cup with us and shout, “Cheers!”
Jesus can’t wait to lay down on our blanket and just shoot the breeze.
Jesus can’t wait to listen to our heart of hearts.
Jesus drives the angels crazy in heaven as he asks over and over, “Is today the day that I get to talk to one of my children?”

And so it is… Levi the four year old is Jesus to me and I, David Dendy, the fifty-one year old preacher is the child.

It’s amazing what spiritual truths I have learned on “My Four Year Old Date…”
Thank you Levi!

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus – (Matthew 19. 14 ESV)

Laugh often and Fear not!



The list was short…
The parking lot was full…
I kept reminding myself, “The list was short.”
The “superuberboxstore” was crowded with holiday shoppers.
I parked in the second to last spot available.
I walked with purpose in my step and in my gait.
The fluorescent glow of the storefront illuminated the mist coming down from the rain threatening sky.

I made a decision that I had never made before…
It was a difficult decision.
I am a purist when it comes to listening and hearing.
I want to capture every sound, every nuance of every word spoken.
Every inflection of every dialect ever spoken carries with it a thousand different meanings in front of a thousand different emotions which lie just underneath the surface.
I want to hear and interpret each and every one of them.
Such is the joy of engaging the world around me.
Not tonight though…
That’s why it was a difficult decision.
This would be a debut decision…a first timer.
The decision was strikingly deliberate and decisive.
I reached into my pocket, pulled out the convoluted, tangled wires.
Plugged them into my iPhone
Placed the earbuds in my ears
Held the iPhone in my right hand.
Swiped with my left.
Poked with my index finger the Music icon.
Bog Seger crooned that wonderful raspy voice into my brain, mind and heart.
“We’ve Got Tonight” was the melody and my thought was, “Yes we do!”
And with that fateful decision, I walked into the Super Walmart
In my pocket? – iPhone
In my hand? – Short list
In my ears? – Earbuds!


I approached the front “automatic doors” with the yellow “Caution” stickers stuck right in the middle of them. From the opposite angle a young African-American woman with her fuchsia scrubs and beautifully braided hair that bounced ever so softly on the small of her back approached the front doors simultaneously to my arrival. I caught her eye, she smiled, I offered, “Please…after you.”

That’s what I said…
That’s what she heard…
She nodded and went first…
And then this amazing reality hit me…

I didn’t hear a thing, except for Bob Seger singing…
I didn’t even hear my own voice say, “Please…. after you.”
She nodded, she smiled, her lips moved…I didn’t hear a thing.

Right then and there, I knew I had entered an unfamiliar and yet quite exhilarating zone!
I was not going to hear anything anyone said in Walmart!!
My pulse quickened…
My adrenaline kicked in…
With big metal four wheeled cage of a shopping cart in hand, I was off and running!

My cart ran into someone else’s cart. I looked straight into the person’s eyes and uttered, “Oops…Sorry…Excuse me…” (I couldn’t even hear my own words). The person on the receiving end smiled and her lips moved…quite a bit. I smiled in return and guess what?
I didn’t hear a word she said!!!
I smiled and moved on!!

And so the evening went!!
I saw animated conversation between a husband and wife…didn’t hear a thing!
I saw a Walmart employee on the hand held microphone making a request…didn’t hear a thing!
I saw kids pleading for some toys…didn’t hear a thing!
I didn’t even hear an announcement from overhead about “Prices falling!”
It was awesome!!

I was in my own world…
Enjoying my music…
Not hearing a word…

With cart full and paid for, I headed for the exit doors…
And wouldn’t you know it…
Guess who was approaching the exit doors at the exact same time I was?
The African-American nurse in the fuchsia colored scrubs.
Our eyes caught…
I removed the earbuds…I had to say something…I had to hear something…
I said, “We came in together and now we are leaving together.”
She nodded and smiled…
She went first.
As we exited she veered to the right
I veered to the left…
I offered with a big smile on my face, “Merry Christmas!”
She stopped every so briefly, turned, flashed a brilliant smile and said in the most exquisite African accent, “Merry Christmas!”
And guess what?
I heard every word, every nuance and every inflection and it made my heart smile and my face chuckled in the misty air. I wished I had heard it on my way in to the store and not just on my way out.

Here’s my word for the day…

Praise be to God that Jesus didn’t put the earbuds in his ears.
He left His own world to be in our world.
How easy it would have been to stay in the heavens.
How convenient it would have been to stay away from the noise and the hassle.
Jesus made a very deliberate decision.

He entered our world and heard and listened to:
Every word
Every nuance
Every plea
Every accent
Every question
Every struggle
Every doubt
Every argument
Every pain
Every silent vocal chord

We have a Messiah who moved into the neighborhood with eyes and ears, especially the ears wide open with no earbuds…

May we remove the earbuds from our ears of life and listen and experience the joy of hearing the sounds around us this Christmas season!

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

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1. 1-5, 14 ESV)

Laugh often and Fear not!