david herndon


a life lived for others
September 28, 2011, 9:49 am
Filed under: God, leadership, life, marriage, parenting, people, relationships

Recently under the influence of one of my students, I’ve been hooked on an iPhone app called “Eden.”  Its basically a building-block game in which you can create your own world, from mountains to canyons to seas and even trampolines, water slides, and houses!  For the creative types like myself it can be  pretty exciting and highly addictive… especially in the beginning.  There is such a thrill in creating.  Or maybe the rush is in having full control of my own little world.

One day, I did not feel the thrill or the excitement.  That’s pretty normal when you play iPhone games.  The usual entertainment factor wears off after a few days.  Remember when everyone used to play Words with Friends?  This was different though.  There I was – creating, building, doing what ever I wanted to in my own little world – and a strange though popped into my head:

“I wish I could create people.  I wish I had someone to share this with.”

This world is so cool and fun, yet I have no one to share it with.  I had created a whole world that no one could really live in or enjoy or benefit from in anyway.  While it may seem a little ridiculous considering I’m talking about a video game, another thought popped into my head.  This one is much deeper and much more challenging:

“Life is not meant to be alone.”

I can’t help but think of Genesis 1 when I play this little game, and I think I am beginning to understand a little more of God’s logic in creation.  The existence of the world, in all of its wonder and intricacies, is more than enough to glorify God’s greatness.  Yet, He still chose to create human beings because life is not truly lived until it is lived in relationship with others.  God is not satisfied and He does not rest until He was someone to enjoy His creation, to benefit from His grace, and to share in His love.

We all spend a great deal of time in “our own little world.”  We may not be playing video games or organizing the cosmos, but we do create for ourselves – for our benefit, for our enjoyment, for our pleasure.  We look for how others can benefit us.  We look for how we can use circumstances to better our situation.  We look for how we can make more money, make more time, and get more things for ourselves.  Everything and everyone around us becomes nothing more than building blocks we use to construct what WE want out of life with no concern to others.  But there will always come a point when we discover we are so unsatisfied and so restless.  Could it be that we are living our lives the wrong way because we are living and striving and creating for no one but ourselves?

God is not satisfied and He does not rest until He has someone to enjoy His creation, to benefit from His grace, and to share in His love.  We are created in His image, so why should we expect our lives to be any different?

A life is not truly lived until it is lived for others.  The question for today is not “what do I need?”  The question is “what do they need?”  Be God’s provision for someone else today.  Create a world that benefits others!



house on the rock

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say?   – Luke 6:46

A while back I was talking with one of my students about life in general.  Somehow we started talking about driving and speeding as I explained to him that I did not speed anymore.  Back in college I sped a little too much, got a few too many tickets, and almost lost my license.  All of those little tickets added up to create a big problem down the road.  I knew I had a couple of tickets, but I always paid them off and for a few weeks obeyed the law to a T.  I didn’t realize the points were adding up on my record.  It was a great lesson, not only on obeying the law, but about how little things can add up to big problems if we are not vigilant in our pursuit of holiness.

Last week I was taking my oldest son to school.  It was one of those mornings.  We were running late.  This was not a good day to run late.  This was not a good day to see police lights in my rear view mirror either.  I felt so stupid because I wasn’t even paying attention.  Or maybe subconsciously I knew I was speeding but I was too focused on getting what I wanted (to school on time) that I ignored the consequences.  Either way, I was very surprised when the county’s finest pulled out behind me.  I owned up to my mistake, apologized to the officer, and fortunately he gave me a warning.  I could get on with my day.

At noon I got the text message: “Did I see you getting a ticket this morning?  I thought you didn’t speed.”  Of course it was from my student.  I quickly replied, “No – you saw me getting a warning.”  Like that made it any better? We had a good laugh about it, but the damage had been done.

Of course later in person I explained to him the whole story, my lack of attention, etc.  I owned up to my mistake and told him my plan to use cruise control on that road from now on so I wouldn’t have any more slip ups.  The whole thing is pretty embarrassing – here I am “proclaiming the truth” with my mouth and living out something completely different for the world to see.  I either need to keep my mouth shut until my body can comply, or I need to start living differently in a few areas of my life.

I think that’s why Jesus is so passionate about truthful living, as he asks this question.  Why would you call me your “Lord,” if you intend to disobey me anyway?  Either live out what I am teaching you or don’t call me Lord.  I know when I examine my life, my desire is always for Jesus to be my Lord.  And while I’m not robbing banks or murdering anyone, I am getting pulled over by local police among other “little” sins.  The little sins add up, and not just for me – for everyone in my sphere of influence.  My family.  My students.  My friends.

Jesus goes on to teach one of his most famous parables about the two builders.  One builds on the rock and one on the sand.  The storm comes.  The house on the rock stands firm, but the house on the sand is washed away.  The idea is that when we base our behaviors and actions on the beliefs Jesus teaches, we will stand firm.  I’ve always understood that if I don’t base my actions on Jesus teachings that I will be “washed away.”  But the older I get the more I understand that Jesus is saying in this passage that if I don’t live my life based on His teachings, then everything I have built – everything I have worked for, everything I have labored for – is in danger of being knocked down.  And what an effect that could have on the people closest to me.

In an age when former governors and movie stars are confessing illegitimate children from 10 year old affairs, French presidential candidates are being arrested for rape, and even churches are finding themselves in moral ambiguity,  it is more important than ever that we who call ourselves Christians make sure that our mouths are writing checks that our lives can afford.  As leaders, as parents, as spouses, as teachers, as members of community – we need to be building our house on the rock. This is not just for our personal sake, but for those around us.  They need us to live authentic lives of faith.

Jesus is not teaching us to stop calling Him Lord, but rather He is challenging us to live in full faith and full belief and full commitment to His way.  The beauty of this passage is that when we DO live according to Jesus’ teachings, when our lives and our actions reflect our calling of Jesus as Lord, we build something strong for ourselves and for those around us.  As the world inevitably crumbles around us, God’s word will stand true and firm and our lives will be a refuge that others can cling to (Psalm 1).

May we find encouragement today.  May we who call ourselves Christians, who call to Jesus “Lord, Lord;” may we do what He says.  Such lives could truly change the world.  Lord, give us strength.



it must have been something i ate
February 18, 2009, 2:28 am
Filed under: marriage

Dreams are an interesting subject.  There are countless theories on where dreams come from, what they mean, etc.  Dreams could be a way God speaks to us or they could come from that pint of Ben & Jerry’s we ate before we went to bed (I prefer “Chubby Hubby).  But no matter what your preference for dream theories is, I truly believe dreams mean something and we should learn from them.

I’ve recently had a heavy heart concerning our culture’s view on manhood and marriage and sexiness and all the things that go along with those issues.  I’ve been spending a lot more time out of my Christian bubble and in the secular world, and I’m daily becoming more aware of how the institutes of marriage and love and purity are quickly decaying in our society, especially in the hearts and minds of men.  This may explain some of the dreams I’ve been having.  I believe God is speaking, but it could have just been something I ate.  Either way, I’ll share with you.

Dream #1: I dreamed that my wife came up to me one day and told me that she was going to marry another man.  The way she calmly announced this to me was strange, but even stranger was that I accepted it.  So the course of the dream was the countdown to this new marriage, and consequently the end of mine.  Such a strange dream.  My wife was not angry with me.  Our marriage was not troubled.  Everything was in fact, just fine and dandy.  Yet, she was going to marry someone else, and even stranger, I was okay with it.  It was days before the said event was to occur and all of a sudden I was filled with heartache and anger and passion.  The dream ended with me begging and pleading with my wife not to leave me.  I professed my undying love for her and said I would do anything to change her mind.I told her that I didn’t know how to live a life without her as my wife.  I was overwhelmed with the desire to win my wife back.  And then I woke up – heart racing, sweating, out of breath.  The dream felt so real, and it literally took me all day to shake the feeling off.  Of course in reality my wife was not planning on leaving me, and I had nothing to fear.  But I have never hugged her more than I did that morning, and I have not let a day go by since that she has not known how greatly and how deeply I love her.

Dream #2:  The next night I dreamed I was walking out of my house to get into my car.  I looked down the street and saw a prostitute going door to door.  She was dressed in complete 70’s attire – big fro, platform shoes, lepoard print tights, and a fake fur jacket.  This is not a normal occurrence in my neighborhood, and for some reason I became deathly afraid of the prostitute.  I ran to my car, fumbled with my keys, and looked over my shoulder.  She had spotted me and was moving very quickly in my direction.  By the time I closed the door, she was in front of my neighbor’s house.  By the time I was backing up, she was right next to my door and banging on the window.  I literally burned rubber trying to get away and drove as fast as I could down the street.  I watched in my rearview as she ran down the street after me.  I was gaining ground when all of a sudden she turned into a giant T-Rex.  Think about that scene in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex is chasing the Jeep – it was exactly like that.  Then, right before the T-Rex prostitute devoured my car, I woke up.  Again – heart racing, sweating, out of breath.

So what do these dreams mean?  I believe God was just giving me some hardcore imagery of what it takes to preserve love and marriage and purity.  You have to fight for it!  You must fight for your marriage and love and purity everyday. 

Dream #1: While my wife has no intention of running off with another man and while our marriage is pretty healthy and normal, I still have to daily fight for my marriage.  Too often we (men especially) think that just because we put a ring on her finger means that we don’t have to continue to woo our wives.  Nothing is further from the truth.  You don’t just throw some seeds in the ground and expect to have a “yard of the month” garden.  You have to tend it.  You have to water it.  You have to weed it.  It requires work and maintenance.  And so it is with marriage.  We must fight and labor for the health of our marriages.

Dream #2: Jesus teaches in the Bible to flee from immorality.  He says the devil is a prowling lion, waiting for an opportunity to devour us.  Apparently he is a T-Rex in my dreams (I’ve always had a strong interest in dinosaurs).  And while there are no prostitutes walking up and down my street, the opportunity for immorality is easily available through multiple mediums on a daily basis.  Again, men are especially susceptible to these temptations, and we must diligently flee from immorality. 

All in all, the general consensus of men is that “things will work out.”  It is a passive strategy, one that “hopes” nothing bad will happen.  But we have to wake up and realize that passive will not cut it in this culture.  The thing about temptation is that it is so tempting.  A little doesn’t seem so bad, and then a little more, and a little more, and before you know it you have been devoured.   We must fight! 

Even though she probably already knows it, tell your wife that you love her.  Even though that scene is only about 30 seconds long, turn the channel.  Even though all the other guys are telling those jokes, walk away from the conversation.  Even though you don’t think  you have time, stop and pray for your family.  Now more than ever our society needs men who will fight for love and marriage and purity.  If Jeff Goldblum can beat a T-Rex, so can we.

It could have just been something you ate, or it could be something that is going to eat you.

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strikes, gas, and spouses
November 14, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: life, marriage | Tags: , , ,

I’m a big fan of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” but lately have been saddened as they are showing nothing but re-runs.  The obvious reason for the re-runs is the Writer’s Strike.  All of the TV writers are upset with the TV execs. because the execs refuse to share the profits from online shows and sales with the writers, so the writers are doing a strike.  Personally, I think it would be more fitting to call it a Writers’ Block than a Writers’ Strike.

This little feud is foolish to me.  If I’m a big, primetime producer with a hit TV show like “Lost” or “24,” in which the writing is everything, and my writing team comes in and says they’re going on strike unless I give them whatever they want, I think I would give them whatever they want.  Without them, there is no show.  The TV Executives’ motive is obviously more money.  If they share the online profits with the writers, they want make as much.  But the writers quit because the Execs won’t share, so now there is no show at all.  “24” even cancelled season 7.  Doesn’t that mean no more money for anyone?  No one is winning this fight, including me. 

It reminds me of the little gas station across the street from the big chain gas station.  The little guy’s price is ten cents higher than the big boys’.  And for what reason?  The little guy is hoping to make more money by charging higher prices.  But no one is buying gas there.  Wouldn’t you make more money if you were even a penny cheaper than the guy across the street?  The gas station desperately needs drivers, but their high price is pushing people away.

And that reminds me of marriate.  So often marriage becomes a competition of who is more important – who sacrifices more, who works more, who makes more, who washes the dishes more, who took out the trast last time.  We get selfish and we get self-righteous and we start a competition that no one wins.  You can’t just go on strike.  You can’t refuse to share.  You can’t raise the price.  You’ll only hurt yourself.  Marriage is not meant to be a competition, its not even meant to be two people.  Marriage is ONE, ONE entity, ONE life.  If you cut the other person out, you’re not just wounded… you’re dead. 

The show stops.  The gas runs dry.  All your efforts to hold out and wait for the other person to cave only leaves you alone.  How many shows could have been written during this strike?  How many more sales could have been made at the little gas station?  How many marriages could be saved if we spent half the time and energy giving as we do taking?

So sometimes you have to share the online money and sometimes you have to lower the gas price a little, but in the end you will profit so much more.



2 questions
November 15, 2006, 11:29 am
Filed under: life, marriage

My wife often picks on me with the phrase, “You’re not 16 anymore!”  I do hang out with a lot of 16 year olds, and I guess it does rub off on me occasionally.  But more than that she’s making fun of my obsessive nature.  When I get interested in something, I generally want to go all the way with it.  For example, I once skimboarded with some guys last year.  I really enjoyed it.  I wasn’t half bad at it.  So in a few weeks time I bought a skimboard, boardshorts, a dry-shirt, and I was getting up at 5:30 am 3 times a week to go ride the surf.  A couple of weeks back I was with some kids who were skateboarding, and I used to skate back in the day, so I tried my old moves and I have to say I didn’t do that bad.  So you know what my wife said when I told her I think I might be interested in buying a skateboard. 

I’m not seriously interested in that, but it led to a good conversation.  She asked me, “What is that makes you want to go all out when you get just a little interested in something?”  I thought about it for a minute and then I asked her, “What is that makes you want to buy every piece of clothing there is when we walk into Gap?”  We both had our answers, but the bottom line is this: it makes us feel good.

I once heard someone say that men and women each have a question we need answered.  It starts when we are children and stays with us our whole lives.  Men want to know “Can I do it?”  And women want to know, “Am I worth it?”  Another way to put it would be that my obsessive nature has more to do with me being a man than a teenager at heart.  As a man I will value myself by what I can accomplish or conquer.  Can I do it.  My wife’s obsessive nature (i.e. shopping) has more to do with being a woman than being trendy.  She’s not just trying to look good.  She’s trying to look good for me.  She will value herself by I perceive and respond to her?  Am I worthy?  If you want to destroy my self-esteem, tell me I can’t do it.  Of if I do something but it doesn’t turn out well, then I won’t feel good about myself.  If you want to destroy a woman’s self-esteem, tell her she’s worthless.

What’s the moral of this story?  Well, I think at first we want to disagree with this little theory.  We want to say that we’re deeper than these things and that our self-esteem is stronger than that.  But let’s be honest men: We desperately want to feel good about our ability.  And when the answer to this question is in doubt, it leads us do foolish things.  We will search for an answer.  Some men pick up a new hobby.  Some men buy a motorcycle.  Some men have affairs. 

The truth is, the sheer fact that my wife believes I can do anything and she tells me she believes this, makes me truly able to do anything.  If I have her support, I never doubt my ability.  So how did I get such support?  Well, mostly I’m just lucky.  But I also strive to let my wife know how important she is to me, how much I value her relationship, and how much her faith in me makes me able.  Basically, I don’t need my question answered anymore because my wife answers it everyday.  And this happens because I answer her question.  Let the women in your lives know they are worth everything to you.



2 questions
November 15, 2006, 11:23 am
Filed under: life, marriage

My wife often picks on me with the phrase, “You’re not 16 anymore!”  I do hang out with a lot of 16 year olds, and I guess it does rub off on me occasionally.  But more than that she’s making fun of my obsessive nature.  When I get interested in something, I generally want to go all the way with it.  For example, I once skimboarded with some guys last year.  I really enjoyed it.  I wasn’t half bad at it.  So in a few weeks time I bought a skimboard, boardshorts, a dry-shirt, and I was getting up at 5:30 am 3 times a week to go ride the surf.  A couple of weeks back I was with some kids who were skateboarding, and I used to skate back in the day, so I tried my old moves and I have to say I didn’t do that bad.  So you know what my wife said when I told her I think I might be interested in buying a skateboard. 

I’m not seriously interested in that, but it led to a good conversation.  She asked me, “What is that makes you want to go all out when you get just a little interested in something?”  I thought about it for a minute and then I asked her, “What is that makes you want to buy every piece of clothing there is when we walk into Gap?”  We both had our answers, but the bottom line is this: it makes us feel good.

I once heard someone say that men and women each have a question they need answered.  It starts when they are children and stays with them their whole lives.  Men want to know “Can I do it?”  And women want to know, “Am I worth it?”  Another way to put it would be that my obsessive nature has more to do with me being a man than a teenager at heart.  As a man I will value myself by what I can accomplish or conquer.  Can I do it.  My wife’s obsessive nature (i.e. shopping) has more to do with being a woman than being trendy.  She will value herself by how she appears or looks.  How do you perceive me?  Am I worthy?

If you want to destroy my self-esteem, tell me I can’t do it.  Of if I do something but it doesn’t turn out well, then I won’t feel good about myself. 

What’s the moral of this story?  Well, I think at first we want to disagree with this little theory.  We want to say that we’re deeper than these things and that our self-esteem is stronger than that.  But let’s be honest men: We desperately want to feel good about our ability.  And when the answer to this question is in doubt, it leads us do foolish things.  We will search for an answer.  Some men pick up a new hobby.  Some men buy a motorcycle.  Some men have affairs. 

Truth is, the sheer fact that my wife believes I can do anything and she tells me she believes this, makes me truly able to do anything.  If I have her support, I never doubt my ability.  So how did I get such support?  Well, mostly I’m just lucky.  But I also strive to let my wife know how important she is to me, how much I value her relationship, and how much her faith in men makes me able.  Basically, I don’t need my question answered anymore because my wife answers it everyday.  And this happens because I answer her question.  Let the women in your lives know they are worth everything to you.

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welcome home, family
July 31, 2006, 12:11 am
Filed under: life, marriage

Tonight I was talking with Mike Browning, the lead guitarist in our band at The Gathering Place.  He’s 19.  I’m 27.  But it feels like we’re the same age, at least for me.  Earlier we had heard the song “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” on the radio and it kind of sticks in your head, so Mike and I kept singing it, kind of under our breath like you do when a song gets stuck in your head.  Then Mike says, “Who sang that song?  Hootie and the Blowfish?”  And was like, “No, man, Creedence Clearwater Revival sang that, probably before I was born.  Its classic rock.  Hootie is from the 90’s and that is definitely NOT classic rock.  Hootie came out when I was in high school.”  Then it dawned on me that high school was only a year ago for Mike, but 10 years ago for me, and Hootie and the Blowfish were very close to being “classic” rock.  That hurt a little bit.

A few weeks ago I was speaking at a Youth Summer-Mission Camp for a few days, and one of the kids came up to me and said, “Its really easy to listen to you speak because you talk just like a teenager would.”  First of all, I wasn’t sure this was a compliment (I decided to take it as one though).  She could have been insulting my maturity, but I think she meant it to be nice.  But still, what hit my heart most was that I “talked like” a teenager, not that I am a teenager.  I guess a lot of times I feel like I am a teenager.  But I am not.  I’m 27.  I’ve been married for almost 4 years.  I am a father to a toddler.  Definitely nothing teen about those facts.

This weekend my wife and son were out of town and I was home by myself.  I was a little miserable, and would have been a lot more miserable.  Luckily my friend Patrick was willing to hang out with me.  We went to the movies.  We went skim-boarding.  We did a half-day of kayaking.  It was great – very much like being single.  It was fun.  But at night I would come home and it would not take long before the emptiness and the stillness of the house surrounded me.  It was strange walking by my son’s room and it being so dark and empty and quiet.  It was difficult to try to go to sleep without my wife next to me.  I couldn’t even sleep in my bed because it was so weird.  I had to sleep on the couch.  And the words God spoke in Genesis echoed in my head: “It is not good for man to be alone.”

My wife and son returned tonight, and I’ve never been so happy.  The teen years are gone.  My music is now “classic.”  I am not a single bachelor.  I cannot simply go out and see a movie or kayak for half a day when the urge hits.  I cannot eath pizza every night and fall asleep in the wee hours in the glare of TV.  Those things were fun in their season.  But that season has passed.  And I would not trade my life now for a million years as a teenager or as a bachelor.

Thank God for age.  It may be painful sometimes, but there is so much joy in a life shared and a life given for others.  So all of you teens and bachelors and bachelorettes out there – enjoy it now, but know that something far greater awaits you!




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