Friday, June 27, 2008

James Update 6/27

I know that many of you are probably waiting for an update regarding Jamesy Poopy Pants. Sorry for not updating sooner (things have a been a bit hectic). To make things simple I will number each item.

1. James' vomiting has gotten much better. The docs put him on a certain type of medicine which dries up his saliva. They are thinking that his vomiting is, at least in part, due to his inability to handle his saliva (and he has a lot of it). Ever since they put him on this medicine things have gotten much better. It is not as if James is not throwing up at all now. He is still throwing up, spitting up, and gagging much more than normal. However, it has gotten much better.

2. They wanted to see if he could handle a full feeding at normal pace a few hours ago. Kristal and I were both skeptical about it. Anyway, he ended up throwing it up in the first few minutes of the feed. It was pretty extreme. They now have him on a continuous feed (10 ml's an hour--that's not that much). He is breathing much heavier after having thrown up--pray that he didn't get anything in his lungs.

3. Tomorrow they are going to replace his g-tube (feeding tube) with a jg-tube. A jg-tube is like the g-tube in that it feeds him through his belly. However, the jg-tube's tube goes into the belly and dumps his food into his intestinal tract. They want him to get the jg-tube so that if he needs to throw up he will dry heave. This is important because he cannot protect his air way. The jg-tube also helps with reflux and thus will prevent esophagitus. Since his food will be directed to his intestinal tract it won't sit in his stomach. Thus, there will be no food to reflux.

4. Pray that the Lord would grant healing to James' little body. Pray that the placement of the jg-tube goes well tomorrow. He has to be sedated for it. Also be praying that the Lord protect him from all of the radiation he is exposed to from all of the x-rays and everything else.

5. Continue to pray for rest for Kristal and I. Last night we both got good sleep (well... good as far as hospital sleeping goes). However, we are both still very tired.

6. I am really having a hard time keeping up with my schooling. Not only am I tired, but I have found very little time for studying in the midst of all the errand running, puke cleaning, and doctor visiting. It is not that I have fallen way behind, however I am taking accelarated (8 week, as opposed to 16 week, courses). Getting behind is not an option. On another note, I have been learning a lot. I am sure you will, as usual, get some posts regarding some of the things I have been learning.

7. The Lord has provided many opportunities for us to share the goodness of Christ with the doctors and nurses. Pray for boldness. Pray for evangelistic opporunities.

8. Lastly, and most importantly, pray that the Lord would grant both us and the doctors discernment regarding James. There are just no clear diagnosis. Nothing seems to add up. We still have come to no clear reason as to why James' vomiting has been this drastic. Pray for wisdom. The sooner we know what is causing it, the sooner we can know how to treat it. Pray also for his heavy breathing. It has been getting worse and worse since I started this post.

9. Praise the Lord for his grace. He is a good God. He is such a good Father. If you don't know my God, I want you to know that you are missing out. If you have rejected my God and his love, you are a fool. I hate to be blunt, but how can anyone but a fool reject infinite love? I encourage all of you (and not just those who do not know my Jesus) to run to him and be embraced by him. He will not do everything you think he should, but he will do everything that he knows is best for you. And he knows what is best for you much more than you do. Lean on Him, he will not disappoint you. Let his ideas (they can be found in the Bible) shape everything you do, say, and hope for. He is such a good God. He is such a good Father.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James Update 6/25

Well, the Docs decided to admit James into the hospital. We are not sure how long we will be here. James' vomiting has gotten much worse even since this morning. He is now throwing up around 5-10 times an hour. The Docs are pretty convinced that his issue involves more than just reflux. They will be doing trial and error stuff with him to figure out why he is reacting so drastically. For now they are putting him on medicine to help with nausea. There just seems to be no good external reason for why James is reacting the way he is.

Continue to pray for healing for James, sleep for Kristal, and help for me and my studies.

I will update again once we know what is going on.

Romans 5:3-5: "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

I used to wrestle when I was in highschool (I hated it by the way). I always knew when my dad came to watch because whenever I was in a position to score against my opponent I could hear him yelling to me from the edge of the wrestling mat , "USE IT JIM!! USE IT!" I can hear the Lord in the midst of this trial yelling, "USE IT JIMMY!! USE IT!" Pray for Kristal and I as we actively seek to let the Lord do his work on us. Pray that this trial not go to waste. Pray that we proactively "use it" for the good. Pray that the Lord use it to conform us into the image of his Son.

Urgent Prayer Request 6/25

As many of you know, James (our 1 year old) has been struggling with reflux for quite some time now. Well, a few weeks ago we had to change his formula in order to meet his one year old nutritional needs. We have him on a double dose of two different acid reflux medicines and yet the reflux continues. James has been violently vomiting anywhere from 5 to 10 times a day for the past 7 days. For every one vomiting episode, he chokes and gags and spits up 10-20 times or so (literally--no exaggeration). He will often times turn all sorts of shades of red and blue while throwing up. It takes him quite a while to catch his breath. He has been gagging and choking in his sleep throughout the night as well.

Yesterday we went to the Doc to make sure his throw up was not getting in his lungs (he has never been able to protect his airway well and so has chronic aspiration). Miraculously, nothing got into his lungs! Well, this morning everything has gotten much worse. He hasn't eaten since yesterday in the early evening, and yet is throwing up (nothing) about once every 6 or 7 minutes. The weird thing is that he is not sick, and his vomiting in no way correlates with his eating schedule. We called the Doc this morning and are preparing for whatever they might tell us. Our greatest concern right now is James getting fluid in his lungs. We are also concerned about him getting dehydrated. Lastly, the Doc expressed concerns about esophagitis (where the esophagus gets damaged from reflux stomach acid).

We will probably be talking to the Doc today about the possibility of getting a nissen. In essence, a nissen is where they wrap the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus to keep fluid from going up.

Pray for the James: Pray for complete healing and comfort. He is overly tired and way uncomfortable.

Pray for the Docs: That the Lord would grant them good decision making abilities.

Pray for Kristal: We haven't been getting much sleep lately. This morning we got up at 4 am.

Pray for me: I have to stay up with my studies in the midst of all of this.

Thank you for your urgent prayers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who's the Pharisee? Part II

Luke 18:9:

"And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:"
The New Religious Pharisaism: "Oh Gosh Lord, I just thank you that I am not like those who heap up rules. I thank you that I do not walk around like I have a corn cob stuck in my buttocks. Frankly, I am just thankful that I am not like those who live with conflicted consciences. Oh Lord, grant me opportunities to show them the silliness of their actions. Grant me opportunities to expose their self righteousness. I thank you that my worship is driven by my heart. I thank you that my worship is not tainted by evil desires to be seen as righteous."
"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'

"I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:13-14).

Who is it that the Lord esteems? Those who keep all the rules? Those who heap up the rules? Those who don't heap up the rules? Those who wouldn't touch a Pharisee with a 20 foot poll? Those who can detect self-righteousness like a new GPS unit? None of the above.
"But to this one I will look: To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2b).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Who's the Pharisee?

Many theologians have suggested that there is no new sin under the sun. Rather there are merely the same old sins that men have always struggled with, expressing themselves in new ways. The more I study church history and the more I see the cultural changes around me, the more I realize the truth of such thinking. Generally, when we think of religious pride our thoughts generate to those who think they are more righteous than the next because of all of the extra rules they keep--we associate pride with self-righteousness and legalism. However, without surprise, our anti-legalism, anti-rules, freedom-craving culture has found a way to evidence the same pride evidenced by the legalists of yesterday.

I cannot even begin to count how many modern day Christians I have met who think themselves superior because of their ability to not be bound by rules. For many it is almost a game--"How uncomfortable can I make legalists feel while I am around them?" That's right, people today get cocky (self-righteous) in their own ability to not fall prey to a self-righteous disposition. Let me fill you in on something: you are probably less novel and more annoying than you think if you surmise that your lawless actions are that which is going to "fix" Christianity.

Don't get me wrong, legalism is wrong. Heaping up rules for the sake of... heaping up rules is wrong. Heaping up rules for the sake of appearing more righteous than you actually are is wrong. But so is fleeing from rules for the sake of... fleeing from rules. So is fleeing from rules for the sake of appearing more righteous than you actually are. So is fleeing from rules for the sake of teaching your legalistic brethren a lesson on "true" righteousness.

Jesus did not go about fixing the legalistic Pharisees by getting a big head about how much beer he could drink without it effecting his conscience, how many dirty movies he could watch without it making him feel less spiritual, or how many dirty words he could spew out of his mouth without it effecting his righteousness. Rather, he sought to show up the Pharisees by not allowing the lesser laws dealing with externals to get in the way of the more important laws of love, mercy, and justice. Do you want to teach the legalists a lesson (and they probably need one)? Obeying less rules is not going to do the trick, but love, a love which cannot be bound by rules involving externals, will.

I do not in any way want to communicate that extreme legalism should not be countered. It should! However, we must be careful about how we counter it. We must be afraid of going to the same place of self-righteousness that they are at. In the same way that we should counter those who add laws to the Scriptures, we ought to be concerned to not extract principles laid down in the Scriptures. I hate to say it, but really... it all boils down to love. Loving others to the point of self-forgetfulness. So, who's the Pharisee? Well, if you think your life, as opposed to your love, is what people need--if you do what you do for the sake of making a point rather than doing what you do out of love--you're the Pharisee.

"For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love." (Gal 5:13).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rafael Nadal Makes History

As a good, biblically-minded Protestant I do not believe in any form of salvation by works. However, if I did, I would have an unhindered, straight-shot right to heaven. Do I have your ear? Well, yesterday I sacrificed the French Open final on the alter of going to church. There was a slight temptation to fake a cough. But then I realized that I had agreed to preach the Sunday morning message. Was I to do the unthinkable and miss watching one of the most historically significant matches in the history of the game of tennis, or do I fulfill the calling of the Lord? Talk about persecution; talk about suffering.

As expected, #2 in the world, Rafael Nadal, squared off against #1 in the world, Roger Federer. Nadal has won the French Open the past three years in a row, but Federer has always given him a run for his money. This year things were a bit different. Nadal smoked Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. If you don't know what 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 means, just understand that it is a "good, ol' fashion whoppin." Nadal is now the second man to ever win four consecutive French Open titles (the only other is Bjorn Borg).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Moose A. Moose

This is James' favorite song. It sung by "Moose A. Moose," the host of "The NOGGIN Channel." Make sure to watch the video. Every time Moose A. Moose comes on the TV James smiles real big, kicks his legs, and flails his arms. Enjoy!

"Everywhere I Go" (lyrics)

Days are the sunniest
Jokes are the funniest
Rabbits are the bunny-est
Hives are the honey-est
Elephants the ton-iest
Troubles - they're the none-iest

Everywhere I go!

Straws are the bend-iest
Time is the spend-iest
Cards are the send-iest
Books are the lend-iest
Fun's the pretend-iest
Friends are the friend-iest

Everywhere I go!

Berries are the fruit-iest
Shoes are the boot-iest
Puppies are the cute-iest
Treasure is the loot-iest
Teams are the root-iest
Horns are the toot-iest

Everywhere I go!

Birds are the tweet-iest
Candy is the sweet-iest
Socks are the feet-iest
Tricks are the treat-iest
Drums are the beat-iest
Lunch is the eat-iest

Everywhere I go!

Flowers are the smelliest
Jams are jelly-est
Rain's the umbrell-iest
Tales are the tell-iest
Wishing is the well-iest
Buttons are the belly-est

Everywhere I go!

Skies are the blue-iest
Cows are the moo-iest
Gum is the chewiest
Ghosts are the boo-iest
Goo is the gooey-est
You can be your you-iest

Everywhere I go!