Who Is In Your Stadium? (reboot)

Do you ever wonder: Am I really making a difference? Am I just going through the motions of life?

Or perhaps you can strongly relate to what George Bailey’s character went through in It’s a Wonderful Life – you’re beyond frustrated that you just can’t catch a break and will never “get ahead”?

I came across this quote on Instagram from author/speaker Jon Gordon several weeks ago that continues to resonate in my mind:

Just heard that on average one person will influence 80,000 people in the course of their life. Enough to fill a stadium. But remember even if you influence just one person you are a Leader! Choose to be a Positive Leader and make a positive impact.

80,000 people! Thinking about the stadium example – I categorized the people in the seats into three groups:

  1. The Dissatisfied – These are the people who don’t like the game, have bad seats, feel that they paid too much, sit next to the guy with the foam finger or has the shrieking whistle that numbs their hearing. Overall, the game was a rotten experience and they probably won’t come back.  Translation: Think of times I’ve been rude, too busy, hypercritical, hurtful, selfish, and negative. Sometimes we can go back and ask for forgiveness. Unfortunately for others – it was just a one time encounter, or the hurt runs too deep. Hopefully, this group doesn’t take up a lot of seats.
  2. The Satisfied – This group of people enjoys the game, had an excellent view of the action, were present in the moment and felt they got their money’s worth. Translation: People we’ve shown love, selflessness, and kindness to – Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers. Being nice to the waiter even though they were nervous and brand new. Showing patience as one of our children works through the challenges of life. Giving someone an unexpected gift for no reason other than love. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that can make a major difference that we don’t even realize. Hopefully, these folks fill up the majority of seats.
  3. The Fully Immersed Fan – They showed up early to tailgate, bought a truckload of souvenirs, and stay until the end whether their team is winning or losing. Some were so influenced by what they experienced – they want to financially invest in the team beyond just being a fan. Translation: People we’ve impacted not only because we showed them love and kindness – but also that we help set their life on a new and positive trajectory. A teenager with a low self-esteem you encouraged to pursue their dreams. An unknown person freed from human trafficking because you gave financially to an organization. A child who was given hope towards the future because you sent a small shoebox with Christmas gifts. Maybe it was a friend you just sat with and said nothing as they went through the process of losing a loved one. Hopefully, our stadiums are packed with these people.

Over two decades ago, I was on maximum overload. We had a new baby and a teenager, I was teaching full-time, taking graduate courses, and valet parking on evenings and weekends. It was New Year’s Eve – and the last thing I wanted to do was valet park for all the people out having a good time and celebrating. Around midnight in a cranky and exhausted mood, I pulled up a gentleman’s car. Getting out – I hoped he would give me a few bucks as a tip. He said, “Thank you for working tonight.” He then proceeded to hand me two twenty-dollar bills (which was a fortune for a tip over two decades ago). My energy, attitude, and perspective changed because of his generosity and empathy.

I’ll never know who that man was. But I’m sitting and cheering in his stadium.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12: 1-2).


Dave 🙂


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Spring Break and Disney World = Oil and water??? (reboot)

A few years ago, I painstakingly planned the “perfect” vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios for Spring Break. This ended up being one of my most popular blog posts that many people commented they could completely relate to. Here’s a recap of my story:

Are you a “Planner”, or do you like to “Fly by the seat of your pants”? I’m a total Planner. Thus, the inspiration for this blog. I had extensively planned for about 8 months an Orlando Spring Break vacation for my daughter’s senior trip. We had never been there as a family – so I read endless books, conducted extensive interviews and interrogations with those that had been past visitors, and combed the Internet for anything related to this magical place. This was going to be the greatest family trip we (or anyone else in history) had ever taken. This time, I was going to do everything right. No room for error. Pure joy. Every activity would be on a precise schedule – just like Robert Deniro’s character in Meet the Parents.

The trip got off to a rough start when I noticed a sharp discomfort in my lower back around 5:30 am at DFW Airport. Thought it was a cramp, nerves, or some other nuance that would go away. We boarded the flight, and those uncomfortable airplane seats were even more uncomfortable. Three hours later, I was writhing in pain – I literally started crawling on the floor of the terminal at the Orlando airport. Was this “The Big One” like Fred Sanford used to say? Was one of my major organs giving out? Appendix bursting? We found a saint of a cab driver that sped us to a close and quality ER. About 5 hours later, I had passed my first kidney stone! Okay, this wasn’t in the plans. However, the medical staff patched me up and blessed me with meds – in a few hours I was screaming in exhilaration as we rode The Everest Expedition Roller Coaster that evening. Slight “blip” in the plans, but we would hit the next few days with a vengeance. Universal Studios and Harry Potter World were tomorrow.

In spite of getting up at the crack of dawn, it seemed as though tens of thousands of other people had that same idea. As the lines allowed, we rode every ride we could between the two Universal Parks (some marketing genius out there conceived the idea of splitting up the Harry Potter World into two worlds – I would love to say it was for the benefit of the consumers, but it was so they can double their moolah intake). We were exhausted, but tomorrow was The Magic Kingdom – and I was determined to see my plans to fruition.

Our hotel was about 20 minutes away from The Magic Kingdom. They offered a “free shuttle” that left at 7 am and dropped everyone off at Epcot (which I was informed is the central hub for all Disney Park transportation). Thought we’d save a few bucks and not use a taxi or Uber. Sounded perfect – The Kingdom opens at 8, leave at 7, arrive between 7:30-7:45, scan our tickets, and we would be in! Everyone had advised us to get there right as the park opens, and you can experience at least 3 major rides before the crowd hits. That advice combined with 3 Fastpasses – I envisioned myself joyfully singing, “Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me!” We had the potential of enjoying 6 major rides before the clock struck noon – boom!

The trend of most of my plans not going as I had hoped once again began to rear its ugly head. I first became suspicious when our “shuttle” was a giant charter bus. “Wow, that’s nice of them to provide such a big bus for one hotel,” I thought in my ever increasingly fatigued, naive, and delusional mind. Even though we are not Orlando residents, after about 10 minutes we noticed, “Hey, this isn’t the route to the park.” The bus, oh excuse me – the “shuttle” literally made 7 stops at other hotels before Epcot. The driver dropped us off around 8:15 am in an empty parking lot the size of the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz. It took about a 10-minute walk to get to the Monorail. Phew, finally made it. Oh, but wait – you must get off this Monorail and transfer to another one. Stood in line for about 15 minutes. Rumors circulated throughout the tense crowd that there was a delay.  We waited about 15 more minutes to get on a ferry headed for Disney World. 20 more minutes on the boat ride – and we finally arrived at the entrance around 9:15 am. We soon discovered that half of humanity had already beaten us to the ride (and food) lines – realizing it’s not really such a Small World After All. As the day unfolded, I soon began to fully immerse myself in the spirit of the dwarf Grumpy – along with some of his lesser-known brothers: Pushy, Pouty, and Rudey.

A few days after we returned home – I had some quality time to reflect. I then realized that one of the most important events of our trip was that crummy shuttle ride. That experience served as a great reminder of what it is like to walk with God. So many unplanned stops along the way that test my patience. Not having control over situations and just having to go with the flow. Disappointment. People getting on my nerves. Me getting on people’s nerves. Unexpected barriers and delays that get in the way of me reaching my envisioned destination.  Which leads to the question we can ask in every situation: Is my envisioned destination His envisioned destination?

Plus, I had so much to be thankful for. We were able to save up for the trip instead of charging everything. I could have been stuck in that ER for days, or possibly have had to have surgery, or it could have been “The Big One”. The family had several spontaneous moments of belly busting laughter. A ticket snafu that “entitled” us to 3 any time any ride Fastpasses at Disney Hollywood Studios. And finally, embracing every second of having lunch in Epcot Italy knowing that my daughter is only a few months away from going to college.

This trip was a continual reminder that I want comfort, control, and predictability. God offers wild, uncomfortable uncertainty – covered with many promises that He will be with us every step of the way. May your journey find you somewhere between the happy medium of planning and pants flying.

Dave 🙂


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Are You a “No-Name”? Perfect!!! (reboot)

This is a huge world we live in. The population statistics are mind-boggling. It is easy to wander down the thought path of: “Does anyone really see me?” “Has God forgotten about my life?” “Did I miss Plan A – so, for now, I’ll be quiet and content with Plan D?”

Author and pastor Max Lucado summarize this thought pattern up brilliantly in the cover sleeve of his book Out Live Your Life:

We are common folk. We sit in the bleachers, eat at diners, change diapers, and wear our favorite team’s ball cap. Fans don’t wave when we pass. Servants don’t scurry when we come home. Chauffeurs don’t drive our cars; butlers don’t open our doors or draw our baths. Doormen don’t greet us, and security doesn’t protect us. We are regular folk.

And we wonder: Does God use people like us? He did (and does – my two- word addition).

Several weeks ago, I was reading through the book of Exodus and came across a person named Bezalel. Never heard of him. He definitely hasn’t been mentioned in any sermon, lesson, or podcast I’ve listened to. And yet, he had one of the most crucial roles in the Old Testament. When God was commissioning Moses to create some special objects of worship for The Tabernacle (kind of a small, portable church in the wilderness where the presence of God would appear) – he had a unique person in mind to create the six pieces of furniture that would be in it (including the Ark of the Covenant of Indiana Jones fame).

Take a look at what God had to say about this individual:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft! (Exodus 31: 1-5)

We can gain three points of insight from this small passage:

  1. God sees us when other people don’t. Look at how many descriptors God uses to describe Bezalel: “chosen, filled with the Spirit of God, wisdom, ability, expertise, master craftsman, and skilled.” God is able to look past our mistakes, faults, bad decisions, and low perspectives of ourselves. He is able to see beyond the muck and broadcast our unique gifts, strengths, talents, and specialized purposes that only we can fulfill! No matter how insignificant the task at hand seems to us – it is all a part of His divinely woven together plan. We haven’t missed it.
  2. Bezalel worked on his gifts and skills during his “downtime.” Traveling by foot through rugged terrain, camping at sites for days, and being disciplined by God for 40 years in the desert provided a lot of extra time for the Israelites. I’m making an assumption here based on the Exodus passage, but I think Bezalel used this time to develop into a master craftsman. When else did he work with gold, silver, bronze, engraving, gemstones, and wood? What a great example for us. What is that “something” deep in our hearts we want to try, but we “don’t have the time for it?” Taking a class, pursuing a relationship, learning a new language, writing a book, training for a marathon, volunteering for a cause, starting a side business, coaching a team, cultivating a garden, etc. We need to stop waiting for the perfect time or more time or tomorrow – it isn’t going to happen!!! Procrastination and perfectionism will win the battle every time. Today is all we are guaranteed. The past says, “I should have _______.” The future says, “I might ________.” Stop it! What can we do TODAY??? Sign up for that class. Write for 10 minutes a day. Fill out that application. Go on that trip. Make the necessary phone call. Send the email. Take a 15-minute walk. Read a book or research 20 minutes before we go to sleep. Reward ourselves with television, don’t let it replace what you have in your heart to accomplish. There are multiple moments of downtime – we just need to seize them.
  3. Bezalel was ready when God had a big opportunity for him. Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk found himself on the bench as a back up his freshman year of college at San Diego State. However, he trained, studied, and pushed himself as though he were the starter – believing wholeheartedly that someday it would occur. Sure enough, during the first quarter of a game against the Pacific Tigers – San Diego State’s starting running back suffered an injury. Marshall was put into the game. He went on to rush for 386 yards and score 7 touchdowns!!! He later went on to have an incredible career in the NFL – including helping to lead the Rams to a Super Bowl victory. What if he had sulked, smack talked, and been lazy instead? I wonder how many moments we miss that God wants us to walk into? Maybe it seems too small, not important enough, our few dollars contributed won’t make a difference, this would take me out of my comfort zone, we’re too busy, or we’re caught up in distractable, time-wasting, unproductive activities?

Conclusion – We are seen, we are known, and we have a path that God reveals one step at a time. The question becomes, what is my responsibility? What is the area of my life where I could become a “master craftsman”? What is a seemingly small task now – that could have an unimaginable ripple effect?


Dave 🙂


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We interrupt this blog to bring you an important announcement . . .

What’s the announcement? I’m taking some time off/a sabbatical from writing this monthly blog. Not to rest – but to work on a book! Truth be told, I have had a concept in my head for several years – now I finally have the framework to put it into book format. Writing a book is a love/ hate relationship. It is exciting to create something new from nothing. You also reach the point of: “If I have to stare at or correct or edit this manuscript one more time – I am going to punch a hole in my computer screen!”

What is the book going to be about? I want to keep it kind of a secret to build anticipation – but here are a few clues: I’m going to create in a devotional format a book that takes an insider look at The Navy Seals, King David and his Mighty Men, and often overlooked and unknown women during that time period like Tamar, Abigail, and even Bathsheba – and tying it all together with helping people grow spiritually no matter what level you are at in your walk of faith. Phew . . . I gave away too much! 🙂

When will this book be finished? Great question! I’m aiming for September of 2022.

What about the monthly blog “Still Waters”? What I’ll do is repost popular articles from the past each month. Maybe every now and then submit something new. Google has a complex algorithm that “likes” consistent, new, input. So I want to keep feeding the artificial intelligent blog monitoring robots. 🙂

However, like the rest of you – time is one of our most precious commodities. I know myself and that I can easily get distracted, waste time, procrastinate, and spread myself too thin. My goal is to channel small blocks of time, my creativity and imagination, and primary focus dedicated to writing the book instead of a monthly column.

What does the future hold? Again, it starts with on a daily basis winning the “war” against wasting time, priorities, motivation, complacency, and discipline – but also balancing out quality rest and down time. I have some more book concepts in my head. I want to keep polishing and presenting my speaking topics. I’m developing close up and stage magic shows (I get to practice them in front of PreK kiddos!). Maybe create a podcast, maybe something on YouTube, an encouraging weekly newsletter, and new blog entries. And keep growing spiritually, personally, and professionally. That’s my short term 20 year plan 🙂

Why do you want to do all that stuff? We all have been uniquely designed by God and given gifts for His glory, furthering His Kingdom, and blessing others. You and I have unique messages and experiences to share. You and I have different audiences that need to hear that message (it might be an audience of one). You and I have an enemy called The Devil that wants to put our messages on “mute” and “silent”. You and I have been given and unknown and limited amount of time on this earth to make an impact. Phew . . . don’t get me going! I just attended a 5 night online speaker bootcamp with Dr. Dharius Daniels and I’m fired up! Watch him speak on YouTube and you’ll see why 🙂

How about an encouraging word for today? Stay close to God, stay close to God, and stay close to God! We’ve had two of the most “unique” years in human history and most of us are drained. We can’t keep waiting for “normal” to get back. All we know is the unknown.

Besides hearing from God in your Bible – do whatever it takes to integrate what speaks to your spirit in small increments everyday. Walks, worship music, nature, reading faith based books, creating, gardening, praying, uplifting messages and podcasts, exercising – you know you. I leave you with these words that King David was giving his son Solomon as he was passing his kingdom on to him. However, it is like David is giving each of us his personal formula for success:

And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.

(1 Chronicles 28: 9-10)


Dave 🙂


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Changing The World One Amazon Package at a Time . . .

What if there was a simple, year-round way to help feed the hungry, assist in providing clean water to people in other countries, and support organizations that fight human trafficking? Or, have your money go towards finding homes for animals, help build schools around the world, or be a part of the healing process for military veterans? What if it didn’t cost you anything extra to participate in something like this?

The good news is that there is a way! Maybe you’ve heard of the “Amazon Smile” program. If so – great! If not – here we go. . . 

Amazon has created a program that will donate 5% of your purchase price to the pre-designated charity of your choice. It is fast and easy to sign up.

  1. In your web browser, go to smile.amazon.com 
  2. Select the charity of your choice – there are 9 major categories to choose from (education, veterans, animals, faith and spirituality, international, arts, environment, health, and human services). Within the 9 categories are dozens of choices where you should be able to find your favorite charity or something close to it. 
  3. Then complete your Amazon purchase as normal. That’s it!

The only challenge I’ve faced is that I forget to go to the smile.amazon page instead of my regular home page. It will not contribute to your charity unless you start on the smile page. The other item to watch is that your purchase has to be an “eligible item.” It will tell you if it is or not. If memory serves – it seems the majority of purchase are eligible. 

Think about how much you and I use Amazon in a year (Christmas, birthdays, Mother and Father’s Day, and the unread books accumulating on my nightstand that I buy on a monthly basis). What an impact all of those small contributions put together can have! It can bring just a small sliver of joy knowing that even a tiny bit of change is going to something beyond ourselves. I even found a charity called Rancho Obi-Wan whose purpose is “To serve the world through Star Wars memorabilia” . . . So if that’s your mission and you believe “This is the Way” – then go for it! 🙂

They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. (Psalm 112: 9)


Dave 🙂


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The Unreachable Lighthouse

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lighthouse-main.webp

Doesn’t it seem like simmering anger is the major emotion many of us are feeling? Even watching the daily news for a few minutes – someone or a group who is upset or angry is featured – and then I get angry watching it. I won’t even mention driving somewhere. Lord knows I need to work on my potty mouth when I’m cut off, tailed aggressively, or almost get hit by someone looking at their phone.

Enough about anger – I can sense you’re getting fired up 🙂 Let’s flip it and go on the opposite side – the emotion of happiness. This is another interesting set of feelings to take a look at. Speaking broadly and generally, it seems most people are struggling with happiness. An obvious reason is the amount of loss of health, lives, businesses, and way of living brought on by the global pandemic.

Let’s flip the script one more time. Why does it seem so many people that have been blessed with so much seem unhappy? Stretching our minds – we can think of people in politics, business, sports, entertainment, or people that we know personally – they just seem to be missing something. Besides having faith in something or someone greater than themselves – what else are they missing?

Recently, I believe I heard a great explanation on a podcast interview with a man named Dean Graziosi (The Ed Mylett Podcast October 12, 2021) that gave amazing insight into this reality. I had never heard of Dean – but the title intrigued me: “Succeed with Happiness and Confidence.” Skeptical at first. Thinking this just another multi-millionaire trying to sway us common folk into buying his product and then we’ll all be rich! I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Dean grew up in poverty. At one point, he worked 20 hour workdays to build a business while his buddies were busy partying and having fun. Now he has the goal of “impacting over 100 million people” with his trainings, charities, and philanthropy. Here is a paraphrase of his answer when Ed asked him, “Why are so many people unhappy right now? Especially those that have achieved some level of “success” in their particular field?” Dean’s answer:

Success with money, power, and possessions – but without fulfillment and happiness, equals shallow living. Some people think that they have everything they want – but they are still unhappy. Here’s what I believe the reason is. I think unhappy people have stopped stretching themselves. They’ve arrived at their goals and stopped. Or, they were not able to accomplish their goals and gave up. Either way, they’ve stopped personally growing.

Imagine a lighthouse representing any goal you are seeking to accomplish. Well, let’s say you met the goal and now you are in your mind standing next to the lighthouse. Most people stay there. They arrive at whatever destination they had in their minds and stop. They stop striving, problem solving, struggling, and fighting. Yes, that leads to a more “peaceful” life – but does it really?

What if the lighthouse kept moving every time you reached it? What if it continued to stay in the distance? That would keep us hungry and not satisfied – because there is still work to be done. And ultimately, the journey would hopefully lead us to being others centered instead of seeking non-stop self fulfillment, comfort, and pleasure.

An interesting mindshift twist that we can apply to any area of our lives. Here are some examples of keeping the lighthouse in the distance:

  1. Finances – Pretending that we don’t have any money in the bank, checking, or savings.
  2. Marriage – Seeing the relationship as we are just starting to date and I’m trying to win her over.
  3. Health – You’ve just been given a dreadful diagnosis by your doctor – and the remedy is to clean up your eating and start exercising consistently.
  4. Work – Imagine you’re on a one year contract, and the bosses have to decide whether to keep you or not.
  5. Faith – You’ve just discovered God for the first time – what would reading the Bible, serving, and worship look like?
  6. School – If you don’t get high grades and put in the effort – your alternative choice will be working 14 hour days in a coal mine.

The secret is: How can we become a better version of ourselves in EVERY area of our lives? How can we serve people at the highest level to impact the world? Even though we will never arrive at the final goal – we will continue to grow and not get stuck at complacency, mediocrity, and according to Dean’s theory – ongoing unhappiness.

Give it a try for a few days. Move those lighthouses out into the distant horizon. And if you make it to one – move it again!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)


Dave 🙂


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Fear Factors . . .

I originally published this about two years ago. However, the theme of fear keeps rearing its ugly head. I hope this can be an encouragement to where you are in your journey of personal and spiritual growth.

Fear, anxiety, and stress can be an unholy trinity. One or more of the three are probably present somewhere in our lives right now. Watching the news or browsing the internet usually adds fuel to the fire – rarely do we walk away feeling better, encouraged, or inspired. Out of the three – Fear is the king. When we’re afraid – that smoothly leads down the path to anxiety and stress.

Fear of the future. Fears from the past. Fears about running out of money. Fear of not being able to pay off an insurmountable pile of debt. Fear of losing our jobs. Fear of a health diagnosis. Fear of terrorists. Fear of war. Fear of death. Fear of letting our kids go outside alone. Fear if our kids are going to turn out okay. Fear that someone is upset with us. Fear that a relationship is not going to work out. Fear of public speaking.

The word “fear” is really an acronym. Two of the acronyms are negative, one is positive. It all depends on our perspective we choose to take. I’ve heard these acronyms in speeches, sermons, and they are all over the internet – so I have no idea who to give credit to for creating them.

  1. FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. The stories we tell ourselves. A thought enters our minds and a downward spiral begins. I’ve read studies showing that 85% to as high as 95% of what we fear is going to happen never does. Or, our image of what could happen compared to what really happens is drastically different.
  2. FEAR = Forget Everything And Run. Of course, there are those obvious things to run from – a snake in your path (actually, slowly walk backward with snakes), a natural disaster coming your way, or a bad decision that you need to walk away from, or someone trying to take advantage of you. I’m talking more about: The uncomfortable conversation we need to have and avoid – or better yet, go gripe to someone else about it. The position we want to try out for – but are afraid we won’t get it and talk ourselves out of even attempting it. Frustration with our finances – but unwilling to do anything to change our lifestyles. Feelings of hopelessness when you consider pursuing a dream. If any of these resonate with you – I’m right there too.

However, there is another way to confront our fears:

3. FEAR = Face Everything And Rise. Reflect on the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Really think deeply about that statement. Author John Eldredge puts it this way, “Walk right into those situations you normally run from. Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over . . . this is where you will discover your strength, in the daily details of your life. Begin to taste your true strength and you’ll want more.” (Wild at Heart) Sara Bareilles sings, ” . . . I want to see you be brave!!!”

Don’t get me wrong. If our children end up in the hospital – the common, normal response is fear. It’s how we are wired and is our first reaction. However, after that – we can choose to control our second reaction. Possibly filling our minds with positive thoughts, pray, talk to somebody, read Scripture,  and keep clinging to hope.

Bonus acronym from the internet!

Face It
Explore It
Accept It
Rise Above

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.  (1 John 4:18 NLT)


Dave 🙂


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May We Please Go Back To Normal???

About six months ago I was optimistically hoping COVID-19 would be under control. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that it is still dominating the news, social media, and personal conversations. I try to seek out positive, encouraging messages or thought leaders to fill my almost depleted emotional and mental tanks. I wanted to share a few items I’ve come across that maybe can bring you hope.

“If you’re experiencing increased sadness or anxiety along with an urge to dramatically change something about your life – some of the markers of Pandemic Flux Syndrome (I didn’t know it had a name) – be assured you’re not alone. Although human beings are more resilient than we generally appreciate, it will take time for many of us to stably recover, to reflect and calibrate.”  Dr. Amy Cuddy

“We are still in recovery mode from trauma. Our reserves are at minimum if not depleted. The summer was a rush for many of us to make up for lost time. The common theme in talking with those having 1 week, 3 weeks, or even several months off – is that summer wasn’t enough. We could all use another round to recover. In fact, the little time off seemed to be somewhat of a disappointment.” Dan Allender

And in most cases – it was not the type of summer we are use to. Hotel rooms were not cleaned every day, very few rental cars were available, restaurant service seemed lower quality due to the national labor shortage, and then there was the challenge of no parking or tickets in national parks. A true sign the end is near:  Disney parks started charging for the once free Fast Passes!

Dan Allender goes on to talk about 3 effects that can result from experiencing trauma (which is what the last 18 months can be described as):

  1. Fragmentation – This explains the brain fog, forgetfulness, completely drained from work or routine tasks like grocery shopping, confusion, “Why did I walk into this room?”, “Why can’t I remember basic objects, names, or places in conversations?” – I think we’re all experiencing this one. How do we fight this? Being kind to ourselves (our inner souls) and others and realize the majority of people are going through this right now. Use lists, sticky notes, or the note app to immediately capture a thought before moving on to something else. Pull back from multi-tasking. Don’t expect a big event to solve it (Disneyland, a Caribbean cruise, or any other trip, buying a luxury car or RV, a huge gathering, a new house or apartment – those things may help – but don’t set yourself up for disappointment. “Live in day-tight compartments” (Sir William Osler) instead of becoming overwhelmed at what lies ahead. 
  2. Numbing – The list of losses continues to pile up for everyone it seems. Sometimes the immediate or the accumulation of pain has become too much. We (fingers pointing at me also) seek life, escape, and fulfillment to make up for the hurt and losses by: eating too much, drinking too much, laying in bed not asleep, too many movies or tv, watching sports for hours, wasting hours on social media, loading up my Amazon cart, procrastination of basic chores – I think we can all relate. How do we fight this? Make small changes from overindulgence to rediscovering moderation. A great resource to read is The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins. Slowly replace bad habits with good ones. Find creative ways to trade healthier food instead of sugar and salty, trade walking, exercise, or gardening for binge tv, and trade social media time for reading books. The trade can be as small as 5 minutes or a handful of food – but it is all about starting something new that ultimately makes us feel better. And also, allow we need to allow ourselves to feel grief over the losses and not just emotionally bury them. Pray about them, write them out on paper, vent with a trusted friend. 
  3. Isolation – After our lives feel disconnected mentally and physically. After we seek happiness any way we can find it – the natural progression is the desire to be alone. Why leave the safety and comfort of my home when there are so many annoying people out there? Why drive my car when so many are aggressive, on my tail, and might cause me to cuss? Why try to follow God intimately when things just seem to be getting worse and He feels distant? Many people that once followed Jesus closely are abandoning their walk with him. Nothing drastic – just focusing time, energy, and money into finding life somewhere else. How do we fight this? As pastor Craig Groeschel states, “Begin by lowering your expectations of others. We’re not perfect, so why put perfectionist expectations on others?” Attempt slow re-entry into social situations. Meet people at a neutral location to take the pressure off of you for cooking and cleaning. Try visiting church in person instead of online. Read a verse or two in the Bible instead of a chapter or reading plan. Maybe text someone different every week to check in on them. With the holidays coming up – allow yourself the freedom to feel completely exhausted after gathering with family – and allow yourself time to rest and recover. Accept at this point you probably can’t volunteer, give, have company, or “pour yourself out” like you used to. And that is perfectly all right. 

Conclusion – Mr. Allender also stated bouncing back from this isn’t a quick fix. The social, economic, spiritual, and educational “hits” that we have taken could take years to recover from. Hopefully, some of the “fighting techniques” listed can give you a starting place for your recovery process. Possibly just naming some of the struggles can offer relief that you are not the only one experiencing these symptoms – especially brain fog for me (this would be a horrible time for me to be a Jeopardy contestant). 

Remember, it is okay to slow down. We need to rediscover rest. People struggled with this concept even several thousands of years ago. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah penned this observation regarding the people of his time:

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have nothing of it.” (Isaiah 30:15)



Dave 🙂



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Can You Relate to The Cowardly Lion?

The Wizard of Oz is one of those movies that comes on randomly while flipping the channels – and I can sit and watch it like it’s the first time. The flying monkeys creep me out. The Wicked Witch of the West’s green face appearing in the giant crystal ball still gives me nightmares. And the sheer anticipation and hope of what is coming next when Scarecrow grabs the bucket of water to kill the witch.

What a great story. I feel like we see ourselves in each of the main characters – trying to find our way back home (whatever home is). Wanting to feel smarter, greater emotion towards others, and greater courage within ourselves.

All the main characters are great, but let’s focus on the Cowardly Lion. He’s supposed to be ruling the forest and living up to his title “King of the Beasts.” Instead, he puts on a front that he’s tough, lives his life in fear (even his own tail scares him), and runs away from a challenge. Sound familiar?

It feels like we’re living in one of the most fearful and uncertain times in history. We also feel out of control like there’s nothing we can do to help solve so many big problems. The global pandemic, the continual uptick in violence, natural disasters, terrorist threats, and economies that have the foundation of trillions of dollars of debt. Like the Cowardly Lion, most of us want to run and hide and be left alone. But where do we go??? And wait – if the Lion doesn’t rule as king of the forest – who will fill that gap???

A story of comparison can be found in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapters 9 and 10. A quick summary reveals that God was ruler over the nation of Israel – but the people compared themselves to other nations and instead wanted a person to rule over them as king. God gives them over to their desires – and that predictiably leads them to disaster. Sound familiar?

I wanted zero in on the man that was chosen to be king – Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. He started out great with limitless potential:

  1. He looked the part“Saul was the most handsome man in Israel – head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land” (1 Samuel 9: 2).
  2. God allowed it to happen, giving Saul the potential to be successful “Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. ‘Do everything they say to you,’ the Lord replied, ‘for they are rejecting me, not you” (1 Samuel 8: 6,7).
  3. He was blessed by Israel’s spiritual leader Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession” (1 Samuel 10: 1).
  4. Saul was initially given spontaneous supernatural power“At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them (a group of prophets). You will be changed into a different person” (1 Samuel 10: 6).

So now is the big moment. The people’s spiritual leader, Samuel, is ready to turn over the rule of Israel to a physical leader, Saul. All the people are gathered in public for the highly anticipated reveal and ceremony. All hail the new king! And here’s what happened:

And finally, Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”

And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else (1 Samuel 10: 21-23).

His big moment – and he hides in the baggage??? His chance to be “King of the Forest” – and instead he chooses to be a scaredy cat??? It’s kind of like us being invited to receive an award – but we decide to hide in a bathroom stall all evening. Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you – but I can see myself in what Saul did. Empowered by God, blessed and encouraged by others, given gifts to use for his purpose – and I let fear take over.

“I probably should speak up – but my idea might sound silly.”

“I should pray right now for that person’s need – but what if someone walks by, what might they think?”

“Maybe I’ll have that difficult conversation at work or at home – but what if they get mad?”

“I should stand up for what I believe in. But what if I offend them?”

Do you see yourself in any of these statements? They probably sounds familiar.

Conclusion – So what do we do? First, realize that fear and hiding have been around since the beginning of history: After disobeying God, Adam’s reply was, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid . . . ” (Genesis 3: 10). Second, stop looking at ourselves and our limited resources – and look to God and his unending abundance and power: “With God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). And finally, put into action this advice to sabotage fear from author John Eldridge: “Step into that which you normally avoid.”

Stumble through that difficult conversation.

Speak up for what you believe in is truth even if you are outnumbered.

Send back to the kitchen that cold steak you received at the restaurant.

Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved today. Stop waiting for “someday.”

Go back to school and get that degree or certification.

By choosing to step into our fears, we are slowly building up our minds (brains), our hearts, and of course . . . our courage. We’re entering the journey of finding our way home of becoming who God designed us to be.


Dave 🙂


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Having a Hannah Heart

Hannah has always been one of my favorite names. Yes, it is my daughter’s name. And yes, we were inspired by Hannah in the Bible when choosing that name. Please read the entire story in 1st Samuel Chapter One to get the full picture. I’m just going to hit a few highlights of this amazing, admirable woman’s life.

Hannah shared a husband named Elkanah with a woman named Peninnah (interesting names, huh?). Hannah physically could not have children (which was severely looked down upon in that culture). Peninnah was able to have children – and would “taunt Hannah and make fun of her” (v.6) because she couldn’t. Elkanah wasn’t much help either. After finding Hannah crying and not eating because of her barrenness – he makes this clueless statement:

Why are you crying, Hannah? Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me – isn’t that better than having ten sons??? (1 Samuel 1:8) He might as well have said, “I’m Vinnie Barbarino!!!” (Welcome Back Kotter 70’s), “I’m Keith Hernandez” (Seinfeld 90’s) or “I’m Sheldon Cooper!!! (Big Bang Theory 2000’s).

Anyway, here are some key attributes we can learn from the life of Hannah.

  1. She pleaded intensely and honestly to God. Her praying was described as having “great anguish and sorrow” (v.16) and “I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord” (v.15). She even made this vow to God, ” . . . if you give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours his entire lifetime (v. 11). What a model for our prayer life. Do we lay our concerns, disappointments, and pain in front of God with upfront, raw, vulnerable truth and emotion? Or have we grown comfortable with cliched phrases, recited prayers, thee’s and thou’s, and bringing him our wish lists? As my friend says, “God is a big boy – he can take whatever you’ve got.” Plus, are we at that point where we can give up whatever he asks of us?

2) She made peace with God after getting it all out. Verse 18 says, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.” Just like a superstar athlete “leaves everything on the field” – she left everything with God. She got her appetite back and the sadness left her. That can only happen when we have a clear conscience and internal peace beyond our circumstances. She left that place still barren physically – but she also left trusting God and realizing only he could give her supernaturally what she was requesting. She chose to go on living her life and not let it be dictated by feelings.

3) She lived her life in the present moment. Micracuoulsy, God gave her a son (v.19,20) The tricky part was that she promised to “give him back to God” if he answered her prayer. Verses 24-27 show that she did that very thing. Here’s the deal – she learned to live every moment to the fullest with the baby before the time came to fulfill her promise. She enjoyed what she had instead of dreading what was coming in the future. There is no evidence of her having sorrow and anguish because she was going to have to eventually give him up. There are no examples of her backing out of her promise to God. She didn’t bargain with God or say, “Just kidding – do I really have to give him back to you???” She didn’t try to run and escape when the time came to deliver on her vow.

Hannah’s response is incomprehensible as she delivers the baby to the priest Eli for a lifelong commitment of service in the temple. “Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life. “And they worshipped the Lord there.

Worship, seriously? Not a trace of crying, regret, or sadness? Not a plot to go back and snag the baby? No, here is her response instead, “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. . . ” (1 Samuel 2:1).

Conclusion – If you have a chance, also read 1st Samuel Chapter 2 verses 1-11 to see Hannah’s character on display in her prayer to God.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Bible talks about how God is able to do “exceedingly more than we ask or think . . .” (Ephesians 3:20). And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters! (1 Samuel 2:21) Wow! She went from barren to having The Brady Bunch!

Where in our lives to we need to turn something completely over to God? When do we need to start worshiping him instead of being made neutralized because of our circumstances? And where can we look back and see that God came through beyond our limited expectations? It starts with having a heart like Hannah.


Dave 🙂


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