Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How could a loving god...

I'm a Steelers fan. That's no surprise to those who know me. I live in Pittsburgh. Why people are shocked is beyond me. So, I watched the game with anticipation this past Sunday afternoon as the Buffalo Bills about took it to us; as a perfectly thrown ball fell through the hands of talented Buffalo player Stevie Johnson, wide open into the end zone during Overtime that should have ended the game and sent us home despondent had he caught it. I leapt for joy, and did the Steelers dance with my boys (we won't go into that). But then the humanity began to settle in as I watched Stevie sit on the sidelines dejected and defeated. We all have the ability to let our comrades down, don't we? It's a sick feeling.

Stevie has a twitter account and was very honest about his feelings after the game:

I think it's safe to assume he's not talking to his Receivers Coach...
Stevie has simply posted, for the world to see, a thought that is often too common in the human psyche: "If I speak highly of God often enough, He has the responsibility to make my life run smoothly." Or maybe, "If I honor God, He must honor me" I'm not saying these are the thoughts in Stevie's mind, just that it is an easy emotion to possess: entitlement.

I was reminded last Sunday in church that we read in Isaiah 53:10, "The Lord was pleased to crush" His son, and we think of the suffering Jesus endured. God, having the foresight to know what freedom and glory and victory would come from His Son being crushed, was pleased to do it!!! Now I don't believe this means the Father sat down with popcorn and watched as you and I are pleased with a good movie. But in times of great sadness, one can shed tears with a smile because of the HOPE that we have! God knew the outcome of this apparent tragedy. I've heard it said that "God allows what he hates to accomplish what He loves." (If I could remember who said that, I'd give a reference. When I can't recall, I just say it was John Piper.)

When you feel like crying out to God in frustration, remember two things:
1.) God can handle your anger.
2.) Jesus' suffering that God willed. Then compare that to a dropped football.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh Yeah, I'm still on Tour

I began in August with intention to blog about every stop on this 48 day tour called the Hope Restored Tour with Big Daddy Weave and Andy Kirk. I got a little sidetracked when my son couldn't keep food down for almost 2 weeks straight. I imagine you understand my attention being shifted.

Through the peace (that passes understanding) that God has given both Sarah and I about the situation with Nicky, and our belief that while we are his caretakers, he belongs to God, I have stayed out on the road, sharing the Good News and encouraging others to take action in sharing that Good News through the ministry of OneVerse. Sarah has been more than capable of caring for Nicky at the hospital 24-7 when he was there and our many dear friends at Crestmont Alliance Church have cared for Daniel and fed our whole family too well! The family of God is precious. Though I heard my share of criticism about my not going home to be with my family, the decision we came to (my staying on the road) is not one we have any regrets about. I have the privilege each evening of sharing about the tour's goal of completing a translation of God's Word into the Ndamba, a language spoken by 96,000 people in East Africa who have NEVER HEARD THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL!
We have seven more shows in this tour (3 in MO, 2 in GA, 2 in FL) and if we can average 22 partners each, the translation will be complete!!! You have made such an impact on the Kingdom and are changing lives and cultures for the better!

So far the tour has taken us from all over the Midwest, up and dow the West Coast, Idaho (below), Utah and Colorado, back through Nebraska, NY, NJ, PA, the Carolinas and quite a few places in between. The beginning of the tour feels like a couple tours ago. And yet it's seem to have flown by!
I've been working like crazy on the new album and hope to be in the studio right after Thanksgiving! Writing songs for the church to use that fall under the catagory of "THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE!" I'm excited: stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I believe in Miracles

What an intense month...and a half this has been, since I last blogged. I will try to be brief yet thorough. Nicky, who has been eating through a tube (nose to intestine) since Sept 17th, coughed it up last Saturday after 6 weeks and Sarah rushed him to the hospital for what was the start of 10 days of continuing to try to fix him. I won't go into great detail, as I know it, because I'm sure I'll say something not medically accurate and don't want to debate those details, so here are the basic essentials.

People, yourselves included, have been praying for Nicky's complete healing from EE and EG (refer to earlier posts and tweets for more details) and his other issues which include Silent Aspiration (breathing food, drink, even vomit into the lungs without a physical response like chocking or gagging), Delayed/Empty Gut Syndrome (a very slow digestive process where new food was being mixed with old food that hadn't left the stomach yet) and severe allergies to Soy, Wheat, Barley, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts and something else major I can't remember right now.

The first couple days there, Nicky was biopsied again in his throat and stomach. His EO count before was +100 per biopsy sample (+25 is considered extreme). One thing I know about EOs is that once the body creates them, they don't go away. They are painful and damaging and steroids help stifle the pain. It's considered an incurable disease. He EO count as of now is ZERO! "You give and take away" has an entirely new meaning to me now. Thank You, Author of Life, for healing my son of EE and EG! One doctor said, "I guess...you can say...Nicky no longer has EE." and then just walked out. :)

Next, the doctors said he either had a perforation between his esophagus and airway that was shielded by some sort of skin flap (a cleft that kept them from seeing it the other 3 times they scoped him) OR if not, then he must have a mass at the base of the brain called Arnold Chiari Malformation that affects his swallowing. This would have to be removed surgically and it's not an easy operation. Needless to say, we were praying for a perforation. Who prays for a hole in their kid's esophagus!? us.

So they put him under Friday (5 days ago) to scope him to find a perforation, if not, they'd do an MRI while he was out to check for Arnold Chiari. They found a perforation!!! And the doctor performing the procedure had recently engineered a medical gel to temporarily seal it. He applied it immediately. No MRI needed.

Yesterday was the Swallowing Test to see if the gel worked. He passed! Swallowed everything, aspirated nothing! Not only that, he didn't even Silently Aspirate, which evidently was not something the gel could have fixed, that was a neurologically issue (the brain telling the throat how to swallow) Sarah said, "It is so much fun watching these brilliant doctors scratch their heads!" God finished what that amazing gel couldn't. Sarah's witness to the hospital staff is one of grace, trust, wisdom, faith and peace. And otherworldly stamina. Your prayers and God's strong arm and loving kindness have sustained her! Thank you!

Once Nicky gets over the cold I gave him, he'll get stitched up permanently. The delayed gut syndrome is something the doctors believe he could grow out of. We have another allergy panel test scheduled for the 19th of November I think, and I would not be surprised if God restores his ability to eat whatever he wants! That's what we pray for. Then he needs to learn, with the help of a therapist, how to eat again. Starting over with a bottle. He's on a GJ tube in the meanwhile.


Yesterday at noon, Nicky came home. :)