Sunday, April 29, 2007

Excellent Article on the Importance of Doctrine

I just read this article by my former pastor Jim Elliff. It is so absolutely important. I encourage each and everyone who has been reading my blog to check it out at

In this article he is talking about one of the greatest downfalls of modern day Christians--an Intentional Doctrinal Imprecision. We live in a day where most people, Yea, most Christians, celebrate uncertainty. Most Christians pride themselves on not busying themselves with doctrine. They pride themselves on being "practical" Christians as opposed to doctrinal. This is a false dichotomy. This neglect of doctrine, according to Jim, is not an option. Doctrinal precision is mandated by God in His Word.


This was Baby James a week and half ago!

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After-This was Today

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You Makin Fun of my Mamma?!

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He's a Mamma's Boy

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He's gettin' Chunky!

The doctors now say that he has exceeded his birth weight!

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A Hymn from the Lord

Not much is new since I last posted. The Baby is still working on his sucking, gagging, and swallowing. The nurses say that he still has a long way to go. But he is still progressing everyday. I will list some things that Kristal and I would like ya'll to pray about: 1. Pray that the Lord would grant James the complete ability to eat orally on his own so that they don't have to place the g-tube in his belly. 2. Pray that James gets good nurses and doctors. 3. Pray that we would be able to take him home soon. 4. Pray that Kristal and I would get enough sleep--this is difficult because Kristal has to pump throughout the night and so our sleep gets interrupted quite often. Also, I have never had problems sleeping, but for some reason the past two nights I have had the hardest time falling asleep. 5. Pray that we would get good naps during the day. 6. Pray that Baby James would not have any more seizures. They took him off the seizure medicine and so there is that possibility. 7. Pray that Kristal and I would not worry ourselves sick watching every little movement of Baby James thinking that it is a seizure. This really is an issue because babies do not have seizures in the same way as adults. Baby seizures are less pronounced--mostly they look just like tense baby movement--which all babies have. This is a big concern. 8. Pray that the Lord would continue to grow Kristal and I during this time. 9. Pray for the salvation of our doctors, nurses, and those we are in contact with. I have a funny story about one of the nurses we had the other day. I was reading the Bible to James. We read the book of Ephesians and the first two chapters of Acts. When I was about half way done the nurse came over and said, "Do you really think he is enjoying that serious stuff." I answered, "Of course, it is the Bible." She said, "Why don't you read him Dumbo or something?" I said, "I think this will do, thanks though." She then was trying to convince me to stop reading the Bible. She gave up because she saw that I was not giving in. Well, a few hours later I was reading John 9 where Jesus heals the man born blind to Kristal and the Baby. If you haven't read that story lately you should go read it. It is absolutely amazing. It is also funny because the man who was healed has some sarcastic remarks. Well, we were laughing about it. The same nurse came over and said, "Are you making fun of the Bible?" Then we got the opportunity to share the story of the man born blind with her. After we shared a bit of it to her she got all frustrated and said, "Why don't you just read Dumbo?" Right after she said that I just kept on reading. I guess that wasn't funny. Ok, I am bad at telling stories. O well. As my mother always says, "get over it." I got the opportunity to talk to another nurse last night. He husband is part of the ecumenical interfaith counsel. This is a big clue that she has a skewed view of things. It was a short conversation, but she is going to be our nurse again today so please be praying.

I woke up this morning with a hymn on my mind. It is from Fernando Ortega's cd "This Bright Hour." The Hymn is entitled "O Thou In Whose Presence." Really meditate on the words of this hymn--it is excellent.

O Though, In whose presence my soul takes delight
On Whom in affliction I call
My Comfort by day, and my song in the night
My hope, my salvation, my all

Where dost though dear Shepherd resort with Thy sheep
To feed them in pastures of love?
Say, Why in the valley of death should I weep
Or alone in this wilderness rove?

Oh why should I wonder an alien from Thee
Or cry in the desert for bread?
Thy foes will rejoice when my sorrows they see
And smile at the tears I have shed

He looks and ten thousand of angels rejoice
And myriads wait for His Word
He speaks and eternity filled with His voice
Re-echos the praise of the Lord

Dear Shepherd I hear and will follow thy call.
I know the sweet sound of Thy voice
Restore and defend me, for Thou art my all
And in Thee I will ever rejoice

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey

We feel bad for the other parents in the NICU--their children just aren't as cute as ours.

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Hospitals Make me Crazy!!

I know. I know. I know--You want to see pictures of the baby. But honestly, do you think I could resist putting this fine specimen of photography on a page viewed by so many?There was no avoiding it. Sorry!

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Lookin Mighty Fine!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

God is the Mover and Shaker!

Kristal and I have recieved quite a lot of new news today regarding Baby James. First of all, he is still progressing. The lactation consultant dropped by to see how well James is progressing with his sucking, swallowing, and gagging. The consensus is that his ability to swallow is getting better but definitely not where they want it; he is sucking a little bit, but has a long way to go, and they did get him to gag, but once again he has a long way to go. The Neurologist reviewed his last EEG test and said that his brain activity is getting more and more normal as time goes on. Therefore, Dr. Morris decided that it would be best to take him off the seizure medicine, which is a good thing because the seizure medicine has a sedative in it which of course makes him sleepy. Taking him off the seizure medicine may allow him to wake up a bit more so that he might be more able to work on his sucking, gagging, and swallowing. Like I have said before sucking, gagging, and swallowing are all of the things that make eating through the mouth a possibility. Right now the only thing keeping James in the Intensive Care Unit is his inability to eat orally. Please be praying that now that James is off the seizure medicine that he will be awake enough to relearn the natural instincts of sucking, gagging, and swallowing. Also please pray that he will have no seizures while off the medicine. They are confident that he will not have any, but it is still a possibility, and they want to test it now while he is still in the intensive care unit. The team of doctors that we have been working with since we have been here are at a point where they are discussing a plan for releasing James from the hospital. He is no longer in critical condition. This is a huge answer to prayer. We are really excited about the confidence that the doctors are showing in James' ability to survive without a nurse looking after him 24/7. However, there is a healthy dose of nerves for Kristal and I. There is a fear of bringing him home especially considering the fact that it was only a week ago when he could not breath on his own. Please pray that the doctors would make a wise decision about when James is able to come home. We of course want him home as soon as possible, but we would rather stay here longer if it means the health of our boy. We do believe that Baby James is getting more and more ready for coming home. Right now they are discussing plans for our bringing him home. Of course right now James cannot eat orally and so they are making plans for how we are going to be able to get around that. Right now the plan is to place a g-tube in his belly. A g-tube is a small tube that they poke through the inside of his belly. It is in a sense like a the hole through which you gas your car. The tube does not stick out of his belly--it does not stick out further than his skin, and the hole is covered by a little button. Whenever it is time to feed him you merely take the cap (or button) off and hook a little hose to it and feed him that way. The doctors say it is extremely easy to work and painless for the baby. It sounds much more scary than what it is. Kristal and I got to give James a bath last night which was really cool. He was pretty squirmy but handled it quite well.

As I said before, I am reading to James. I just finished the book of John with him. One of the nurses told me after I finished reading to him that in all of the years she has worked there, she has never heard anyone read the Bible. I said, "Well, it's a good book, of course I'm going to read it." To that she just sort of humored me and said, "Yes it is." I know that many people are hearing the word of God as I read it to James. There are a lot of nurses and a lot of parents who are in hearing distance from me when I read to him. And trust me, I am not trying to keep it down while reading to him. I am sure that there are some of you who have been reading my blogs and are thinking that I am on crack. It may appear to many of you that I have a wrong view of things. After all, Kristal and I are going through a crisis and it seems that I have said very little about the power of prayer. I have commented very little on those verses which speak about a believer's confidence in prayer. Well, even though it seems that I have not spoken directly about prayer, I actually have. The power of prayer is found in God. Every post so far has focused on the character of God because it is in the character of God that we find our confidence in our praying. We do not pray because we believe that prayer in and of itself changes things. We pray because God changes things. So many Christians today have an abstract confidence in prayer divorced from a Biblical view of the character of God. What is prayer without God? Prayer is only as good as the one to whom you are praying. Isn't this true? Aren't you dependent upon the one to whom you are praying to ANSWER your prayer. What if the one to whom you are praying is not able answer your prayer? Will that not make your prayers less effective. I believe this is the very point of the Psalmist in Psalm 115 when he says, "Why should the nations say, 'Where, now, is their God?' But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. The idols of the nations are silver and Gold, the work of man's hands. They have mouths, but they cannot see. They have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell, they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk. They cannot make a sound with thier throat. Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them. O ISRAEL, TRUST IN THE LORD; HE IS THEIR HELP AND THEIR SHIELD."

What a powerful set of verses from Psalm 115! The whole point of the Psalmist is really to say, "Trusting is not enough. Who cares if you have faith. The only kind of faith that will endure is a faith placed specifically and only in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." I don't care if you pray. Prayer in and of itself is useless and weak. What I care about is if you are praying to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Praying to saints is profitless because saints can't do anything for you or me. Why? Because they have the character of mere mortals. What good it is to pray to a God who is not in control of all things? If God is not in control of all things then His ability to answer prayer is limited. I focus on the character of God because the character of God is that which convinces me that his promises are true. The Israelites, in Psalm 115 were trusting in and praying to Idols which could not speak or feel. The Psalmist was telling them that these prayers were worthless. He exhorted them to "Trust the Lord." The question we need to ask is this, "Why trust the Lord?" Because the character of the Lord is much greater and more powerful than the character of Idols. This surely is a time to exhort people to prayer. However, we must remember who God is so that we might be able to believe Him when He makse such wonderful promises in His word. Our God is a God who cannot be defeated. Our God is the God is who merely SPOKE light into existence. Our God is the God who provided the Israelites manna in the desert to eat. Our God is the God who took away Job's family. Our God is the God who blessed Job with a bigger family in the end. Our God is the God who has rose from the grave. Our God is the God who "Does whatever he pleases." Our God is the God who exhorted us to "cast all our cares upon Him who cares for us." Our God is the God who is never taken by surprise. Our God is the God who has never lost one single battle "to the prince of the power of the air." Our God is the God who promised us that He "will work all things together for the good." Our God is the God who is "for us." Our God is the God who offers living water. Our God is the God is ABLE to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. I focus on the character of God so that when I visit those verses about prayer, I might be able to know who said it. Don't find your hope in prayer itself. Don't find your hope in the amount of praying that you do. Don't find your hope in your great faith. Find your hope in God. For He is the mover and shaker of prayer. Focus on Him--And then go and visit those passages about the power of prayer. (which I will be doing shortly).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Enjoying our Baby

Today has been another excellent day. Although there is no new good news today from the doctors, it is becoming very apparent to Kristal and I that he is continuing to progress. First of all, his skin tone is getting much better. He was sort of swollen and red when he first got to the hospital. His skin has been getting better everyday, but it was noticably better today. He is also making many more baby sounds. Another thing that is really exciting is that he will follow your face when you talk to him. He is getting much better at focusing. Everything little thing is a blessing from the Lord. I wish yall could see the immense difference between Baby James today as opposed to Baby James on the day of his birth. The nurse told us that she only needed to suction his throat one time today. This is great news because just two days ago he was in need of suction at least twice an hour. Of course, this means that he is getting much much better at swallowing. He is still not gagging like they want him to and he is not sucking like they want him to. These two things are really the most important things that you can be praying about right now. His lack of ability to gag and suck is what is keeping him from being able to eat through his mouth, therefore he is still on a feeding tube. Please do not stop praying for our little guy with a fervent spirit. Surely our baby seems to be out of the woods in regard to whether he is going to live or not (and we thank God for this), but imagine never being able to eat through your mouth. If he cannot learn to gag or suck and swallow (better) then he will have to have a g tube placed in his belly. Pretty much a g-tube is a tube they surgically place in his belly and we feed him through the tube rather than him eating his food. Not life or death, but miserable vs unmiserable for the rest of his life. So please please do not stop praying for him with extreme passion. Our God is a great God and he loves to show Himself mighty to answer prayer. Please pray that his brain injury would continue to heal and that God would supernaturally grant Baby James the ability to gag, suck and swallow. We truly do covet your prayer. And we truly do thank you for your prayers. Thank you so much for being faithful. One more thing, the doctors are going to be doing some more tests on him to see if his problems have to do body chemestry. They are going to be doing another MRI test, some blood tests, and some other tests to look for extremely rare desieses and metabolic problems. Please be praying that these tests bring us encouraging and positive news. Thanks. Also be praying that Kristal would continue to heal. She is very uncomfortable and sore.

Because of Baby James' tramatic birth, Ihave not had opportunity to celebrate my new status as a father. Usually when a baby is born the dad jumps up and down and cannot control his excitment. He goes over to his baby with shakey hands to cut the umbilical cord. However, When Baby James was born I stood up to cut his umbilical cord but was too slow, because he came out not breathing and they had to rush him to the surgery table and therefore clipped it for me. Rather than being excited and pumped up I was worried and nervous. We, along with the doctor's and nurses, thought we were going to lose our baby. Well, the Lord today sort of made up for it. I am not sure if you know what Kangarooing is. But I kangarooed him today. Kangarooing is where you take your shirt off and they put the baby on your chest. He was sleeping when the put him on my chest. When they put him on my chest I got out my Bible and read to him. I read John Chapters 1-7. Whenever I would stop reading to turn the page he would get all squirmmy and would get irratated. But once I started reading again he would go back to sleep. This time with him was so stinking cool. I want to share with you one of the wonderful things I read to him while he was on my chest. I could and probably will put some more of the verses that stuck out to me as I read to him, but for now I will only put one. I do feel bad because I read to him out of the ESV rather than the NASB--I hope it doesn't cause him troubles later in life--just kidding--sort of.

One verse that really stuck out was John 3:16. We all know it. But think with me for a moment. Many people have a hard time accepting the fact that God is in control at times like this. They love the verse in Job where he confessess that "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord," but they do not realize why Job said this. Job said this because God took away his entire family and property. Literally his whole family (except his wife) died. What was Jobs response in Chapter 2? "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." You see, God is the giver and taker of life. After Job said this, God pretty much said that Job was right in saying this when he said, "In all of this Job did not sin with his lips." Many people have a hard time with this because they wonder how a God who is infinitely loving could not just allow, but cause something like this to happen. How could a loving God not just allow the death of a man's whole family, but actually cause it? Well, I am not going to solve that mystery for you and no one probably ever will. However, one of the things that has helped me deal with this mystery is in knowing that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." You see, God does not take human life for kicks and giggles. God gave the His own Son over to death for the sake of our souls. Whatever circumstances you have been through you can be assured of one thing--God put CHrist through much much worse circumstances. Job's crisis, as bad as it was, does not even compare to the horror and pain of the cross. How can a loving God send people to hell for an eternity? Well, He does not send people to hell for an eternity without taking it Himself on the cross. Do not be afraid of losing the doctrine of the love of God by embracing the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God over ALL things. For those things that He puts us through He put himself through.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sleepy Sleepy

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Baby James and Mommy

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Baby James and Daddy

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He's Awake

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Isn't He Studly

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The Lord is Flexing His Muscles

The Lord has been very gracious to us today. Baby James seems to be moving along. Since he cannot swallow the nurse has to suction his throat a couple times an hour. The nurses have been concerned because he does not gag when they put the tub down his throat. Well, this afternoon when the nurse put the tube down his throat he began to gag. So far he has gagged numerous times today. This news although sounding sort of strange, is excellent. Gagging is the body's natural way of protecting the air way. Without a gag reflex food and fluid can flow into the lungs. Gagging in a sense stops too much stuff from going down our throats at one time. The nurse told us that he is swallowing, but still needs to be able to swallow more. Please be praying that James' gag reflex continues to get better and better. Also be praying that he would be more consistent with his swallowing. A physical therapist came by and had James do some exercises to see how well he used his muscles. At first he had a hard time tracking with his eyes, and he also had a hard time grasping anything with his hands. She worked with him for about an hour and by the end of her time with him he was grasping onto our fingers and looking at us when we talked to him. Everything seems to at this point be progressing quite well. Kristal and I are super excited. Right now the main thing that is keeping him here is his inability to swallow and gag, but he is progressing. Thank you so much for your prayers. It is very encouraging to Kristal and I when you leave comments on the blog. Continue to pray for baby James. The Lord is so mighty. He is so kind to us. Words cannot express how wonderful it is to hold little James in my arms. He is a super cool and studly object of God's glory. One of the ways the Lord likes to flex his muscles the most is by showing off his ability to create and sustain life. It is really exciting to see Baby James start having normal baby movements. He is also now starting to make normal baby sounds.

Please also be praying for Kristal and I that we would get opportunities to share our faith with the doctors.Please be praying that the Lord would grant us boldness of speech. The Lord has put us in the company of many doctors and nurses. The Lord works all things according to the counsel of his will. We really believe that one of the reasons we are in the position we are is so that we might be in a position to share the message of Christ with those who are taking care of our child. Those who are taking care of our sick child are most likely in a far worse condition than he is. Jesus once said that only the sick need a doctor. When he said this he was in no way saying that there are healthy people and there are sick people. Rather he was saying that everyone is sick and only those who know they are sick will seek a doctor. Jesus said this to the pharisees--those who felt that they were good enough to maketheir way to heaven on their own. They felt that they did not need a savior. They felt that they were healthy. They didn't know they were sick. You may be in that same boat today. Well, "At least I don't do drugs and at least I am not like those dirty porn stars. Surely I lie sometimes and surely I make myself look better than the next man, but atleast I am not a murderer or a rapist." I am sure that there are many who are reading this blog right now who have not fully thrown themselves upon Christ as their ONLY hope of salvation. In your mind you think that Jesus is great and all if you want to be religious, but you think that you really don't need him. The only reason you don't think that you need him is because you do not realize how sick you are. You are what could be called sin sick. If you do not see your sickness, if you do not see how sinful and defiled you are before a holy God you will see no need for a savior. I emplore you this evening to throw yourself on Christ as your only hope. Your good works, as good as they may be, do nothing for you. You need someone to literally give you new life. If you are not trusting upon Christ as your only hope of salvation then you are in a worse predicament than my sick child. You are far sicker and far more in need of a doctor. Seek for Him while he may be found. If you say to yourself, "Wow Jimmy, I am not that bad. Surely I mess up sometimes, but I am not that bad." If you are saying this to yourself now them be assured that you are about as sick as you possibly can be. You are so sick that you cannot even detect your own sickness. You are like a man with boils all over his body who cannot even detect that he has a skin irritation. Apart from Christ you may find hope, but it is a false hope. Christ is the your only hope of being saved from the wrath of our Infinitely good, loving, and just Father in Heaven. Please o Please seek the only doctor there is for your sin sickness--Jesus Christ. Cry out to him that he may save your soul and heal you. Cry out to him that he may give you new life. Cry out to him that he may forgive your sin sickness. Cry out to the great physican, for He is the only physican.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Clarification to last nights comments

Just to clarify last nights comments: I am in no way saying that God does not take our requests seriously. What I am saying is that our hope should not be found in the brilliance and confidence of what we think is best, our hope should be found in the character of God. When you pray for anything you should realize that prayer is real communication. You are talking to God as a child talks to his parent. You are asking God for something in the same way as a child asks his father for something. Your Father will often deny you something that you really think you need not because your desire is bad, but becuase your Father has something much much better in store. Cry out to God. Tell Him your desires and wants--He takes your desires and wants very seriously. But at the end of the day, because He has your best interests in mind (and knows what your best interests are better than you do, and because he knows how to achieve your best interests better than you do) He may deny you your desire because He has something much greater in store. Something that is far more wonderful than you could ever imagine to ask for. This news is wonderful because the Character of God is infinitely Good and without flaw. If this news makes you a bit uncomfortable then I suggest meditating on the Character of God and especially as it has been revealed must fully in the cross of Christ.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A much needed break

The Lord has given Kristal and I yet another wonderful day. Although there was no new good news, there was also no new bad news. Right now where we stand, no news is not better than good news, but it is still pleasant. We have been through so much since Sunday that a day of no new news provides us a needed break. Kristal and I got to spend quite a lot of time today with Baby James. He is a bit more alert today than he has been. He is still super sleepy because of the seizure medicine, but he is starting to open his eyes quite a lot more. The nurse says that he really wakes up right before feeding time. It is the most wonderful thing to hold him and look at him. He sleeps with his hands above his head. He sleeps in a sprawled out position and looks like he is just hanging out. Please continue to pray for Baby James. Although there has been no new bad news, the Doctors are still quite concerned for him. Please do not stop praying fervently for the Lord to strengthen and heal our little boy. Also, pray for Kristal and I that we might get some more sleep. We have been running silly since we have been here. Kristal especially has not had much opportunity for sleep. Thank you all so much for your continued prayers.

For the sake of reminding you all and for the sake of reminding myself I will say this. God is in control. Robin Mark has a wonderful song and the only words in the song are "Jesus, all for Jesus, all I am, have, and ever hope to be. For It's only in your will that I am free." Short, simple, but extremely biblical. My prayer is obviously that Baby James would be healed and that he be 100% normal in absolutely every aspect of his being. However, I know that God knows much more than I. I know that my perspective is small and distorted by sin. I know that God sees the big picture. I know that God knows how to get what is best for His own name and for His own people better than I do. I pray fervently for the healing and well being of my little boy, but I most fervently pray that the Lord do whatever He deems as best. I can pray most fervently for this because I can, through God's word, be assured that he truly is good. My friends, our God is so good. God's plans are so high above us. He works in such mysterious ways. Only when we get to heaven will we realize how ill informed our praying was. Only when we get to heaven will we see how much more wonderful it is when we ask God to do what he deems best, rather than demanding God to do what we deem as best. Trust Him, Lean on Him, embrace your weakness and ignorance and look to Him for all things. I am in no way saying that we should not make our requests known to God. I am saying that we should understand that our requests flow from the heart, mind, and mouth of a limited perspective. Make your requests known to God but find your greatest comfort at the end of your prayers when you say, "may your will be done." When you say "may your will be done," you are in essence saying, "I so desire so and so, but I understand that my desires (although good) may not be as good as what you have in store."

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Praise the Lord for a Good Day

Today has truly been a blessing from the Lord. We were woke up this morning by a phone call from our nurse saying that Baby James' breathing tube was taken out around 7:45 am. He has been off his breathing tube all day long without forgetting to breath. For those who don't know, the breathing tube was taken out a few days ago, but they had to continually keep an eye on him because he would forget to breath. They ended putting it back in because he was having such a hard time. So it is refreshing to see him back off the breathing tube and doing fine without it. The doctors see his independent breathing as an obvious big step for Baby James. We had a talk with Dr. Edwards tonight and he told us that James is doing extremely well considering his tramatic circumstances and considering the fact that he is only five days old. There are a few things that do concern Dr. Edwards, but he says that we just need to give James the time to heal. Please pray that Baby James would be better at swallowing, gagging (seriously--it is a necessity), regulating his body temperature, waking up for longer periods of time, and crying. These are all things that all full term babies are supposed to be able to do. Because of his injury he is slowly learning how to do all of these things. The doctors right now are still doing tests but are mainly directing their decisions based off of how Baby James is progressing.

Both Kristal and I were fortunate to hold James quite a lot today. Even though he is not all that active, he seemed to be quite content today. He is a cute little guy. Hopefully tomorrow Kristal will be able to start breast feeding him.

We do thank the Lord for all of you and for all of your prayers. The Lord has especially provided for Kristal and I through our parents. They have been so faithful to encourage us, spend time with us, get us whatever we need, and be an emotional support since the get go. Please pray that the Lord would doubly bless our parents (John, Kelly, Jim, and Lynn) for their goodness to us. Also, please pray for Kristal, she is quite sore and is having to get up throughout the night to pump and take medicine. She went through a lot during the delivery and is recovering quickly, but is still experiencing much discomfort.

One of the things that the Lord has taught Kristal and I through this trying time is how important it is for us to have our eyes on heaven. The Lord has been teaching me quite a lot about the doctrine of heaven throughout the past few months. I have been studying the book of 1 Peter and the book of Hebrews quite a lot, and the doctrine of heaven truly is the most prominent doctrine in both of those books. Surely the doctrine of CHrist and His work do recieve quite the attention, but the doctrine of Christ and His work is generally discussed to show exactly how assured we can be that our salvation is sure and unalterable. Some condemn certain Christians of being so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. This may be true depending on what you mean by "heavenly minded." But, I would suggest, that most Christians are on the opposite extreme--they are so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. The doctrine of heaven is that which gives us the strength to praise God in the midst of terrifying circumstances. The doctrine of heaven is that which gives us confidence that no matter how bad things get here, we are looking forward to a place where there are no dissapointments. In the book of Hebrews and 1 Peter the doctrine of heaven is taht which specifically emboldens Christians undergoing persecution to continue in their profession of faith and bold proclamation. The doctrine of heaven seems to be deemphasized in most doctrinally driven churches because it has been distorted by our warped culture. Shows like Touched by an Angel seem to cause us to not want to emphasize it all that much in fear that people will see us as overly sentamental and fluffy. But God has given us much about the doctrine of heaven because it is a great help to us. It keeps a smile on our face and contentment in our hearts when nothing goes our way. Please read and reread and reread Hebrews and 1 Peter a few times in the next few days and feast on the wonderful truth of paradise. The doctrine of heaven to me is like a big fat juicy steak, it is filling and satisfying. It reminds me that discomfort and trouble are to be expected in this life, but that there is coming a day for those who know the Lord--a day of peace and rest. A day where we no longer fear anything. Feast on the wonderful REALITY of your eternal dwelling. Remember that you are just aliens and sojourners here on this earth, and live like it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

An update and some thoughts

As all of you know Kristal (my wife) gave birth to James Ryan Snowden II on Sunday morning (4/15) at 7:27 am. There were many complications with the delivery. Baby James came out without a heart beat and without ability to use his lungs. They quickly resuscitated him, but soon after he started having seizures. They immediately sent him up to Darthmouth Hitchcock Intensive Care Unit about an hour north of Concord, NH. Yesterday they put him back on the oxygen ventilator. His lungs are doing fine, but he is for some reason not taking the initiative to breath on his own. Right now they are running tests on him to see what caused the seizures. They got back an MRI which showed a mild to moderate brain injury to the center of the brain. The DR said that this is a common injury to full term babies. The DR said that, considering the size of this brain injury, the baby should not be doing as poorly as he is. Therefore they are going to do some more testing, because he believes that there is something else causing James II to be super sleepy and in need of help breathing. The DR also said that although James II has not had any seizures since the day of his birth, the EEG testing reveals that it is most likely only because of the seizure medicine (Phenabarbatol--sorry about the spelling) that they gave him. In regard to the brain injury, the DR said that there is no telling how it will recover. Everything is up in the air right now in terms of what caused the seizures. I will keep ya'll posted.

The Lord has been especially good to Kristal and I. He has given us grace to trust His sovereign hand. It is times like this that make people want to reject the sovereignty of God over all things. It has been difficult at times for me to want to fully embrace this aspect of God's revelation about Himself, but it is precisley this doctrine which has given Kristal and I the greatest hope, because this all sovereign God is also an all good God. He does not use his sovereignty like Hitler used his. He uses it as an infinitely good, loving, merciful, and kind King would. In fact, God desires our good more than we desire our good. God is both willing (good) and able (sovereign) to do abundantly more than any of us could ever ask or imagine. We know that whatever happens, it will be for our good. God has given us His Word to help us read meaning into our experiences. Without the word someone may look at our circumstances and come away thinking that God is either not good or not ultimately sovereign and that Satan has the upper hand. But the one who is leaning upon God's Word to shape the way they interpret their experiences will know that Satan has been defeated, and that God does all things for His Glory and for the good of his people.

God has taught both Kristal and I the fleeting nature of this earth. Please O please do not store up treasures here on this earth. The things of this world, over the past few days, have become so meaningless. Do not live for this world. Store up your treasures in heaven. For if we gain the whole world, and if all of our children are healthy, wealthy, and wise, and if all of our children live to be 100 years old but we lose our souls we are of most to be pitied. One thing is for sure, everyone will die. Another thing is for sure, only those who endure to the end will be saved. Keep your eyes on Christ. He is all you have. Find your joy in Him. Find your confidence in Him. Find your everything in Him. For he is the only thing that is everlasting and ultimately satisifying. If you lose Him you lose everything. But if you gain Him you no longer have needs.

Thank you all for your prayers. God is mighty to save. God is always quick to show Himself as the one who answers prayer. Keep praying for He is both willing (good) and able (sovereign).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Excellent Essay on the Emerging Church

I just read an excellent essay on the Emerging Church by my former Theology Professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I havn't read too much on the Emerging Church, but I have read a fair share. I believe this to be the best treatment of the Emerging Church I have read yet. It is only 24 pages long so go check it out. You can get to it by going to
The article is entitled Fast Friends or Future Foes: The Emerging Church and Southern Baptists
I trust that you will enjoy his balanced critique and forward glance of the Emerging Church.