Monday Evening Musings …

Yesterday morning went very well. This morning however, did not go as planned, that is why these are Monday evening musings…

 

-Our Worship service was very good yesterday. The music went well, and the congregation seemed to be engaged and participating well. We honored a young lady in our church who just graduated from college. It was encouraging to see how she is maturing and growing in her faith and life. She graduated from high school just a few months after I came here to pastor. We had a great time of prayer. Even the offering seemed to be a moment of worship.

-The message was on repairing relationships as part of a series of messages entitled “The Hope of Relationships”. I received word from 2 people yesterday afternoon how God spoke to them and how they needed that message.

-Attendance was reasonable and has been up slightly for the past 3 months.

-We had 9 youth in our worship service yesterday!

-There is a growing sense of God’s moving in our fellowship, and in our community. Doors are opening for relationships and opportunities. A few more people seem to be burdened to pray intensely. There is obvious spiritual growth in some people. There is a renewed excitement. Some of the excitement stems from seeing children and youth growing in their walk with Christ.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery. On Wednesday it will be 6 weeks since her surgery.

-My oldest grandson is having to come back to the states for a few weeks to clear up some of his student visa issues. While I am excited to see him and spend some time with him. I hurt for him as he is losing his summer with his parents and siblings and they are losing that precious time with him. Just another example of sacrifices that missionaries and their families make.

-I feel the need to set aside some time to make sure that I am doing what God desires of me right now. Recently, I have had a lot of opportunities come toward me. All these opportunities are intriguing and interesting. All of them are good things. I just want to be sure that I am spending my time on the best things that are available. That may mean saying no to some good things. I want to make sure that I am not chasing after so many things that I am fail at doing my best. I am not good at stepping aside for this type of evaluation. I love to evaluate, but I love to evaluate after I am doing. I need to get better at some evaluation before I even begin. Now to make the time to do this evaluation.

-My message this coming Sunday is on restoring relationships. It is one thing to repair broken parts of a relationship, but it is another thing to restore a relationship that appears to be dead. Prayer are appreciated as I try to get this important message across to the people of my church.

-I did some Facebook live with our service yesterday. I would like to do this every week. But I need to figure out some better logistics for the recording.

Here’s hoping you are seeing reason to hope in your relationships.

 

Dennis

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Monday Morning Musings …

Posted on Monday May 21, 2018

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was an awesome day of ministry. God moved in many ways. As for my musings …

-Due to some unforeseen circumstances I will have to finish this post later in the day.

Thanks for checking in.

 

Dennis

 

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a very good Mother’s Day for many, a difficult day for some and just another day for a few. As for my musings …

-We began a new sermon series yesterday. The series will run from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and is entitled “The Hope of Relationships”. We will be looking at celebrating, renewing, repairing, multiplying, recognizing and restoring our relationships. We were created to be in relationships. Our relationships matter, and they have a major impact on all areas of our lives.

-We had a couple of areas set up for people to have a picture taken with Mom yesterday. This is the second year we have done this, and it has been well received both years.

-Our attendance was okay, but we did not get a bump because of it being Mother’s Day.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery from double knee replacement and has begun a more rigorous level of therapy.

-We were able to introduce a new baby to the congregation yesterday. He was 5 days old on Sunday and Mom, Dad and his 2 siblings were beaming as they walked into worship.

-I believe this Mother’s Day was the 30th since my Mom’s passing.

-I had several people in my congregation were going through their first Mother’s Day without their Mom. That can be a very difficult day.

-I believe that even tougher than Mother’s Day without your Mom is Mother’s Day without your child. No matter why you are without a child (death, conflict or have not been able to have a child) it is a very difficult day.

-The planning, and work, for our Vacation Bible School is about to ramp up. Our VBS is at the end of July, but we do VBS big, so the work is already underway.

-Our venture into doing a mid-week ministry for children and youth has gone very well. We are taking a break for a couple of months. We originally were going to do just do it for 6 or 8 weeks last fall and then consider doing another few weeks in the spring. The beginning went so well that the children’s workers just kept going. The first week there was 1 teen who attended. Last week there were 10!!! Our children have gone for about dozen to a stretch where they averaged 20+. The bigger praise is that we are seeing some significant spiritual growth in our children and some of the teens have begun attending on Sundays as well.

-I am getting ready for a church board meeting tonight. I love my church board. They are always seeking to try things that could make a difference in our community. They are not stuck on any specific method of ministry. They are generous toward anything that could help reach more people for Christ.

-We start a new round of teaching a Fatherhood class at the prison this week. I am anxious to meet this group and build relationships.

-I have been praying fervently for some musicians to begin attending our church, or for some people who have musical abilities in our congregation but have been hiding it to step up and minister. Maybe we will grow them up among our growing children and youth ministries.

-I need to get going and finish some reports for the board meeting.

Here’s hoping you will take time to celebrate some of your relationships this week.

 

Dennis

Yesterday was a very good Mother’s Day for many, a difficult day for some and just another day for a few. As for my musings …

-We began a new sermon series yesterday. The series will run from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day and is entitled “The Hope of Relationships”. We will be looking at celebrating, renewing, repairing, multiplying, recognizing and restoring our relationships. We were created to be in relationships. Our relationships matter, and they have a major impact on all areas of our lives.

-We had a couple of areas set up for people to have a picture taken with Mom yesterday. This is the second year we have done this, and it has been well received both years.

-Our attendance was okay, but we did not get a bump because of it being Mother’s Day.

-My wife continues to do well in her recovery from double knee replacement and has begun a more rigorous level of therapy.

-We were able to introduce a new baby to the congregation yesterday. He was 5 days old on Sunday and Mom, Dad and his 2 siblings were beaming as they walked into worship.

-I believe this Mother’s Day was the 30th since my Mom’s passing.

-I had several people in my congregation were going through their first Mother’s Day without their Mom. That can be a very difficult day.

-I believe that even tougher than Mother’s Day without your Mom is Mother’s Day without your child. No matter why you are without a child (death, conflict or have not been able to have a child) it is a very difficult day.

-The planning, and work, for our Vacation Bible School is about to ramp up. Our VBS is at the end of July, but we do VBS big, so the work is already underway.

-Our venture into doing a mid-week ministry for children and youth has gone very well. We are taking a break for a couple of months. We originally were going to do just do it for 6 or 8 weeks last fall and then consider doing another few weeks in the spring. The beginning went so well that the children’s workers just kept going. The first week there was 1 teen who attended. Last week there were 10!!! Our children have gone for about dozen to a stretch where they averaged 20+. The bigger praise is that we are seeing some significant spiritual growth in our children and some of the teens have begun attending on Sundays as well.

-I am getting ready for a church board meeting tonight. I love my church board. They are always seeking to try things that could make a difference in our community. They are not stuck on any specific method of ministry. They are generous toward anything that could help reach more people for Christ.

-We start a new round of teaching a Fatherhood class at the prison this week. I am anxious to meet this group and build relationships.

-I have been praying fervently for some musicians to begin attending our church, or for some people who have musical abilities in our congregation but have been hiding it to step up and minister. Maybe we will grow them up among our growing children and youth ministries.

-I need to get going and finish some reports for the board meeting.

Here’s hoping you will take time to celebrate some of your relationships this week.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

She’s back! That was a major celebration in our time or worship yesterday. There were other great things that took place as well. As for my musings …

-Yesterday my wife led our worship team, as they led our congregation in the music portion of our worship service. This was just 3 ½ weeks after having double knee replacement! What a blessing to see her back doing something she loves. On Saturday we participated in a Walk for Life to raise support for a local pregnancy center. She walked a ½ mile at that event. To say that she is doing well would be an understatement.

-We had a couple of newer families return for their 3rd or 4th week in a row. That is very encouraging. They both made their way to our church from very different directions, which is also encouraging.

-We have had several weeks in a row of outstanding worship services. With that in mind, yesterday seemed a little flat. The service went well, people seemed to be engaged, it was just that the overall atmosphere fell a little flat compared to the last 5 or 6 weeks. That is to be expected I guess.

-Our attendance was good. That is 3 good weeks of attendance in a row.

-This coming Sunday, Mother’s Day, we will begin a new series of messages on relationships. This series will go from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. We will look at celebrating, repairing, multiplying, renewing, recognizing and restoring our relationships in this series.

-My grandson who is attending college here in the States made it safely back to his parents and siblings in Africa. Thankful for safe travel. I know they are celebrating, or they will be after he gets some sleep.

-There are a lot of people around us who are struggling with family relationships. This deserves much prayer, listening ears and compassionate hearts.

-I think I may need to back off from something in my life. I am involved in many great things and have a couple of new opportunities that have become available. Wisdom says that I probably shouldn’t add anything without subtracting something. I am praying and processing all of this to determine what is the most productive things for me to be doing for my mission with Christ and where I can impact, and multiply, the most people.

-I am hoping to get some time to relax with a fishing pole in my hands in the next couple of weeks.

-I have been spending significant time recently seeking better avenues in which to make an impact in my community and beyond. In some things it is to continue to do what God has already led me into and to not close my mind to new things God is revealing to me.

-I have been reminded often this past week of the wonderful legacy I have enjoyed through those who have gone before me. In my family and in my church.

-Yesterday was one of those times in preaching where I could not get a good read on whether people were following the message I was preaching or not. It is difficult to preach when you have trouble reading the faces, and body language, of those to who you are speaking.

Here’s hoping that you are able to give someone a helping hand this week.

 

Dennis

Sometimes I’m Listening …

For some time, my wife has been after me to have my hearing evaluated. She is convinced that my hearing has suffered, and I may need something to help me hear better. We don’t agree on this issue. Therefore, I have been reluctant, some might call it stubborn, to go down this path of having my hearing evaluated. I have two major reasons for not wanting to get evaluated.

One reason is that I fear she is correct and I don’t want to admit to this phenomenon.

The other reason is that I fear she is wrong and my hearing is just fine. Then how do I explain what I didn’t hear?

Does that sound confusing? Let me attempt to explain. I have a friend who was having a similar dispute with his wife. (Do all married couples have this discussion after a certain age?) He finally gave in and went to have his hearing evaluated. He went through the testing and waited for the results and evaluation. He was sure that his hearing was fine. He was correct!

The audiologist told him that according to all the testing that there was nothing wrong with his hearing. At this point my friend gave his wife one of those “I told you so” looks. (I don’t advise using this look very often, but he went for it anyway.) Then the expert said, “There is nothing wrong with your hearing, however you do need to work on your listening.” At that point this conversation took place in my friend’s head; “What? Ouch! Can I take that look back? Is there anyway that my wife didn’t hear that?”

Do you understand my reasons better now?

If my wife is correct I will have to not only admit I was wrong, but I will have to make some major changes. If, however, my hearing is okay then I will likely be confronted with the truth that I am just not listening very well. I am struggling to know which scenario is worse.

As I was wrestling with this today I had a growing sense that God was attempting to have the same conversation with me about my spiritual hearing.

My fears in this regard are a bit different than my fears with my wife and my declining hearing ability.

Experience has taught me that the wrong party in this is not likely to be the Lord. My struggle about my spiritual hearing is that I have been hearing a lot of things from the Lord much clearer recently. That is a good thing. Those things are rocking my world as I begin to formulate what they mean for my life. If what I am hearing, with some definite hearing issues, is rocking my world this much then what will happen if I really adjust and listen more closely to the Lord? Can anyone out there relate to this?

I want to hear, and listen, better. I want to know what the Lord wants from me and for me. I want to hear every syllable he sends my way. With a trembling voice in my spirit I am saying. Could you speak a little slower Lord? I don’t want to miss any of what you are saying and how you are directing me. I am seeking to listen better.

How about you? What are you hearing? Are you listening?

In the meantime, I better go I think my wife was asking me something.

 

Dennis

I’ve Had the Wrong Motivation …

My focus has been fine, but my motivation has been off. I was burdened for a good thing, but the reason for my burden was blurred. I think I have had the wrong motivation.

In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus said “…The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I have focused on “the workers are few”. So, I have prayed as Jesus instructed “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers”. That is the appropriate prayer and I am going to keep on praying it. But, I now believe that my motivation for this prayer has been wrong. My motivation has been that we don’t have enough people working (serving). We don’t have enough people, but I have been stuck on that fact. I have been praying about that fact and my motivation has been to get more people to work/serve. That is a good thing to get more to serve/work. So what is wrong with my motivation?

Look at Jesus’ words from Matthew 9:37 again. “…The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” What jumped out to you?

For me, the thing that jumped out was that “the workers are few”. That is true. But I was skipping over why we need more workers and it is not just because we don’t have enough workers. The reason we don’t have enough workers is because “the harvest is plentiful”!!!

We need more workers because there so many people who need to be reached and so many people who will respond to Christ if only someone would show them and share with them.

I need to keep praying for more workers, but I need to pray because I am brokenhearted over how many are lost. My prayer needs to be more passionate, praying for more workers because of the people who are in need. My motivation can’t just be to drag more workers out and about. My motivation needs to be for the souls who are, as Jesus said in Matthew 9:36, “…harassed and helpless”. I need to have compassion for them as Jesus did and plead for more people to serve/work on their behalf. Not because I want to be able to report that I have more people working/serving. But because I care so much for the harvest and the people who are in need and will likely respond to the good news if someone who cares will simply come alongside them and love them into the kingdom.

I want to keep praying and pleading for more servers/workers. But I want to always do it with the motivation of the harvest, not to fill spots on an organizational chart.

Are you praying for more servers/workers? What is your motivation?

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

We enjoyed another powerful, and meaningful, time of worship yesterday. The weather was nice and seeing the sun shining was a wonderful sight. As for my musings …

-The stirring continues. Yesterday we experienced another outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout our entire time of worship. God is up to something in our church and community. I want to be part of this move of God. I am praying for a breakthrough that ushers in a community changing move of God. Part of that change is for those of us who claim to follow Christ to be shoulder-to-shoulder with people in our community loving them with the love Christ.

-The youth worship team who was with us last week led our time of music again yesterday. Their spirit is outstanding. Our congregation responded to them in a wonderful way. Praying that our growing youth group will follow their example.

-Our attendance was good and some who had recently visited came back and they appear to be connecting with our people.

-My wife is continuing to improve in her recovery from double knee replacement. She is planning to lead worship this coming Sunday.

-We are rejoicing this morning after receiving word that our son, who is serving in Africa, made it back to his family and current assignment safely. He was part of a team that took relief supplies back to the area from which he and his family had to be emergency evacuated a year ago. There was no communication while they were in that area. We have tears of joy after receiving word that they made it back and that the ministry they were able to do went well.

-Missing my Dad today, I have some stuff I would love to talk with him about. But, I am glad that he is pain free and enjoying his eternal reward.

-Very burdened today for a few of my people who are having major physical procedures done this week.

-I am smiling as I reflect on the messages I have received in the past couple of weeks from people in our congregation who have been moved by the current sermon series. They have told me how the mantra/theme is exactly what they have needed and how they have shared it with others. Here it is “Yes, you can! No matter what you are facing, you can make it through it. No matter how you got here, you can make it. You can make it because God will be with you, God will give you the strength and God will guide you. It may not be easy, and it certainly won’t be painless, but you can make it. Yes, you can, because God will.

-Last week we concluded the latest Fatherhood class that I help teach at the prison. It was great to hear how they have made changes and how the group, and the teaching, has impacted them. I will miss those guys and will continue to pray for them. We will start another group very soon.

-This past week I was part of a powerful time of prayer with some other ministers in our town. There is a group of us who meet every other week to share and pray. I love that group and I love this community.

-I am still wrestling with what the next series of messages will be.

-The weather is warming up and we have been enjoying some sunshine in recent days. I am ready to do some fishing.

-I need to get back to some regular physical activity. My belt and the buttons on some of my shirts are screaming at me to get up and move.

Here’s hoping that you will find some time this week to enjoy God’s creation and enjoy His presence.

 

Dennis

Monday Afternoon Musings …

Yesterday was a day full of highlights. Some as a church. Some because of God taking over worship. Some of a personal nature. As for my musings …

-I got caught up in several things this morning and this afternoon and nearly forget to put my musings out there today.

-Yesterday a youth worship team from another church in our denomination came and led worship for us. They were helping us out while my wife is recovering. This group of high school students were outstanding. They were very good musically. But what was outstanding was their spirit. They worshiped, and they led us in worship. Our congregation responded in a great way. They were a great blessing to us.

-There was a great spirit of anticipation as the service began. Then the atmosphere shifted into a time of intimate and impactful worship. Then it moved into a time of listening to the spirit. Finally, it moved to a spirit of response to God’s leading. Wow, God did great things in this place yesterday.

-A dozen or more people stood as a statement of commitment to take the next right step in their difficult circumstances. They made that commitment with the understanding that they were saying yes to God’s direction even if it doesn’t go the way they hope.

-My wife came to worship today, 11 days after double knee replacement surgery! She ditched her walker a couple of days ago, walking with either a cane or nothing. She is doing incredible.

-Our attendance was better, but of course the visiting worship team helped that number.

-We had snow on Wednesday and the grass was mowed on Saturday. That is crazy. The last 3 days have been great weather.

-I have been communicating with several people this week who going through some very, very difficult circumstances. My prayers have been full of pleading for these friends. I count it a privilege to pray for them and try to encourage them. At the same time, it is agonizing lifting up people you know who are going through such tough stuff.

-I have learned a lot while helping to care for my wife over the past 12 days. She is tough. We have an incredible support system with our church and family. Prayer really matters. Nurses are superheroes. It can be frustrating not being able to do more for someone who is recovering. I am not as good when my wife is out of commission.

-I think I have gained several pounds since my wife came home from the hospital. The people of our church planned to bring in some meals for us. The meals that came were more than one meal. People who were on the list to bring us food still brought us food. Our daughter made a few meals for us and froze them while she was here last weekend. We still have leftovers from a couple of meals. We have at least 3 more days of food in the freezer. Plus, some of them brought pies, candy and other sweets. Everything has been very good, and I have done my best to finish it all.

-We had a couple of new people in attendance yesterday.

-There is a stirring in our congregation. There has been visual evidence with people coming forward or standing in response to the messages. There have been some great conversations as people are sharing what they sense God is leading them toward. There has been a tangible feeling of the power, and presence, of the Holy Spirit in our services for the past month. I don’t know what is coming, but I am excited to be a part of God’s move.

Here’s hoping that you are sensing God’s presence and power in your life.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a wonderful, and exhausting, day. God showed up and worked where I failed, and many people helped by filling in for those who were not able to be in attendance. As for my musings …

-I am sitting at my kitchen table this morning as I type this post. I am my wife’s caretaker for a few days. She had double knee replacement surgery last Wednesday. She came home on Saturday and is doing fantastic. She is getting up and down from her recliner by herself (I am standing by her, just in case.) She walks around the house with her walker and I am just her back-up. I am keeping track of the medicine she is taking and getting food to her when she feels like eating. The pain medicine is messing with her stomach a little. I am in awe of how well she is doing. She is a rock star!

-Yesterday one of my sons in law came and led worship for us. My wife normally leads and given her current situation (see above paragraph), she is unable to do that for a little while. He came last minute because the person I thought was coming to help let me know on Friday afternoon that they would not be able to help. So, he, my daughter and 3 of our grandkids, rearranged their schedules and made the 3 ½ hour trip from Iowa to help. It was a special blessing to have all of them here. Plus, my son in law is really good at leading worship.

-Our daughter from Michigan made the over 4-hour trip on Saturday to be here when we got home from the hospital. She stayed beside my wife on Saturday night so that I could get some sleep before Sunday morning. She stayed with her while I was at church. She prepared a few meals for us to heat up before she left Sunday afternoon.

-I am blessed with a great family. With the help of technology, I was able to keep our son, and his family (they are serving in Africa), informed of my wife’s progress all week. They couldn’t come to help, but they have been praying and sending support.

-We had a few other people who had unexpected circumstances yesterday and were unable to attend and serve in their normal places. Our people adjusted, and others stepped in and did well. I love our congregation and our community.

-I did a terrible job of presenting the message yesterday. The Holy Spirit did a fantastic job of speaking to people’s minds and hearts. We had several people respond at the end of the service. God is good.

-My wife and I are so blessed to have such a caring and generous congregation. They have filled in for us this past week. They have lifted us in prayer. They have provided food, care and compassion.

-I had a funeral on Friday last week. That makes either 9 or 10 funerals I have participated in since January 1. Just like the snow that came overnight, I am ready for that to change.

-We are waiting for the home health care to come and set up my wife’s home therapy schedule.

-Burdened this morning for a couple of ministry friends who are in difficult situations. Praying that they will be assured of God’s presence and guidance. Praying that they have people come alongside them to encourage them. Praying that they will know God’s will. Praying that I can be the friend and support that they need.

-I am really being challenged by a book my District Superintendent gave to all the pastors on our District. The book is “Hero Maker”, by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird. I began reading it while my wife was in surgery. I am about half way through the book and have marked it up and written notes in the margins. I will write more about what the book is stirring in me when I finish the book.

Here’s hoping you find someone to encourage today and that you will be encouraged by something today.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a powerful day and there were some unexpected moments. Also, we got snow again, fortunately it came later in the day. As for my musings …

-There was a wonderful, and powerful, sense of God’s presence all through our worship service yesterday. From our music, to our prayer time, to an impromptu testimony, to the fellowship among the people following the service everything was impactful.

-What is up with snow the first 2 Sundays in April? Last Sunday we got about 3 inches and yesterday we got about 2 inches. The good news is that both weeks it didn’t start snowing until we were out of church.

-The brief getaway that my wife and I planned was good, but not what we expected. We rented a cabin by a lake and hoped to do some walking and fishing. With snow on the ground the first 2 days and rain the last day, there was no walking and I attempted to fish for a few minutes. But being all bundled up and wearing winter gloves took a lot of the enjoyment away. Even with all of that we still rested, read and were somewhat refreshed.

-On Friday night and most of the day Saturday, I was blessed to be a part of our annual District Assembly. It was an encouraging and motivating time of celebration. 8 new churches were begun this past church year and there are 13 more scheduled to begin in the coming church year! 5 people were ordained, and 9 people received there first District minister’s license.

-Our District Superintendent rocks! His report on Friday night was awesome. He shared good news, did not hide from difficult news and challenged us to keep trying new things and promised to keep being the support and cheerleader that we need. Love that man and his leadership.

-On Friday afternoon I got the word that a lady in our church had passed away. She fought hard for 5 years after a difficult surgery for cancer. She was a sweet lady who did not allow her physical problems to keep her from serving. She was a regular greeter and helped with Bible School every year. She will be missed, but she is now enjoying her heavenly reward, and she is pain free. Her funeral service, which will be a celebration, will be this Friday. That will be the 9th funeral I will be involved in this calendar year. I am ready for the funerals to stop for a while.

-I started a new group last Wednesday evening and another one on Sunday morning. Both groups had a great beginning with wonderful discussion and sharing. I love this congregation.

-On Wednesday this week my wife is scheduled to undergo a double knee replacement. Prayers for her and the surgeon are appreciated. Last Wednesday night 17 of the children in our church, 4 years old through 4th grade, gathered around her and prayed for her and the surgery. How awesome is that? Our children are being taught well and they are beginning to lead us in faith and following the Lord.

-Yesterday I began a new sermon series entitled “Yes, You Can … Because God Will”. We will be studying the life of Daniel and some of his buddies as they faced difficult circumstances and how they made it through those circumstances. They did not always have great things happen to them, but they made it through it. Our theme is summed up in this statement: “Yes, you can! No matter what you are facing, you can make it through it. No matter how you got here, you can make it. You can make it because God will be with you, God will give you the strength and God will guide you. It may not be easy, and it certainly won’t be painless, but you can make it. Yes, you can, because God will.” The sermon was well received, and I have been praying for this series for a few weeks. Praying that people would be encouraged and become courageous in facing difficult times.

-Yesterday I heard from 2 different people, who are relatively new to our church, that the ministries, and people of our church, are making a difference in their lives. I love hearing those kind of reports.

-I am currently reading a couple of very challenging books. I love to read, I love being challenged and I love when my reading makes a difference in my personal life and the life of my church.

Here’s hoping you find some encouraging words this week.

 

Dennis