Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I just put up a post on the topic of 'New Year's Resolutions' on my ministry website. Click here to read it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Discipline of Listening

Just put up a new post, The Discipline of Listening, on my ministry website ( Click here to read it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Obssessed with Angels

I want to draw your attention to a sermon I preached last week on the topic of angels. You can find it at my ministry web site ( Click here if you want to watch it, read it, or just listen to it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Thanksgiving Challenge

Since Thanksgiving is two short days away, I want to draw your attention to the last two sermons that I preached on the topic of Thanksgiving. Two weeks ago I preached a sermon, Give Thanks In Everything... Literally, from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, and this past Sunday I preached a sermon, Paul's Big Fat Sigh, from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:10. I trust that the Spirit of God will use these messages to both challenge and encourage you this Thanksgiving season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want to access these sermons, click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A James Update

Well, I thought it was time for an update on James. All in all, everything seems to be going pretty well for James at the moment. Since I last updated...

1. The docs put James on a few more seizure medications to try to get his brain out of what they call a "spiking" pattern. Next Wednesday they will be hooking James up to an EEG (which records brain activity) to see if the medication has been successful to get his brain out of the spiking pattern. I will fill you in after we get back the results.

2. James just got off his c-diff medication yesterday. For those of you who haven't stayed tuned, James has been struggling with c-diff now for over 9 months, and we cannot seem to get rid of it. They say that c-diff can take well over a year to get rid of because it builds immunity to medication. Since taking him off the c-diff medications we have been holding our breath waiting to see if it comes back. So far so good. I will keep you posted if it should come back.

3. As you know, James took a spill a few weeks ago and had to go to the ER. The Lord healed him really quickly! We thought for sure (as did his dentist) that he was going to need one of his teeth pulled, but the Lord was good to us and the tooth that seemed to just be hanging there formed back into his gums and has healed completely. He still has quite the red mark under his chin, but he really has healed quite well.

4. James got his Rifton Pacer, a piece of medical equipment that will help him walk. I will definitely be posting some photos of him in it soon. His eyes light up when he is mobile--it is quite the sight!

By the way, the photos are from James' first trip to the fair this past Monday.

Well, that is all for now. However, I must ask prayer for my brother and sister-in-law, Luke and Amy. They are adopting a baby girl. Her name is Sophie and she was born just yesterday afternoon! That is all I know for now. I am excited for them, but I am praying that the adoption process goes smoothly and quickly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth"

I would like to direct your attention to a post that I put up on my ministry web site ( In this post I review a book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, that I consider to be one of the top 10 most important books for all Christians to read (apart from the Bible itself, that is). You can access it by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jamesy Update

Well, it is time for another update regarding James. This time around we have four new important items up for business.

1. James is continuing to progress in regard to both his abilities to communicate and especially in his ability to use his legs. In fact, we have ordered him a gate-trainer that will help him to learn how to walk by holding up his upper body allowing him to use his legs without having to support his upper half. This is quite exciting!

2. James has been struggling with C-diff now for over six months. It doesn't seem to be going away. He has a pretty nasty and painful diaper rash, and there is no way of taking the edge off. He literally has no skin on his little butt, which makes changing diapers quite the event.

3. We had a meeting with James' neurologist this past Tuesday and he gave us some more information regarding James' previous EEG test (if you have not already, you can read about this test by clicking here). He said that James has ESES (electrical status epilepticus) syndrome. He said that James' brain is spiking (where all of the neurons in his brain fire off at once) over 75% of the night time. Most kids with ESES do not acquire language skills, because the brain is not able to store the information learned throughout the day (which is one of the purposes of sleep--to retain and store knowledge). He said that some of James' developmental delays are definitely linked to his eses. They are putting James on two other seizure medications to try to stop the brain from forming a permanent pattern of spiking. This is not good news, but with the help of meds it is possible that James' brain would stop this pattern. Apparently, eses has a wide range of effects in kids, some being severe while others are not so severe. Either way, the neurologist was quite alarmed and suggested that we take immediate action (by upping to the meds that he is already taking and adding a few to the list, and by scheduling another EEG in a few weeks). They will not know much about James' specific condition until or unless they can find out what is causing it. The good news here is that the negative EEG reading does give the doctors information to work with--this may help them get to the bottom of many of his developmental issues. One thing to pray about is kidney stones. Many of these seizure medicines have the tendency to create kidney stone problems. James' nutritionist put him on high calorie formula so that we are able get more water into him to help flush the medicines a bit better.

4. Lastly, James took a nasty spill yesterday. He had to go to the hospital. He fell out of his jimmy-rigged adaptive stroller while going up some nasty stone stairs. His tumble form, which he sits in, fell out of his stroller with him strapped in, hit the stairs, and then his face hit the stone steps pretty hard. He had a nasty cut on his chin (they used skin glue to fix it up), the inside of his bottom lip has the equivalent to road rash (which they cannot do anything about), and his two front teeth are about as loose as they can be without falling out. His gums are a nasty dark purple. They took him to the emergency room to get a cat scan just to make sure that he had no head trauma or anything, and the catscan came back perfectly. Praise the Lord! Today we go to the dentist to decide if he needs his front two teeth pulled or not. My guess is that they will keep them in. He will be sore for quite a few days, and he will need constant 24 hour speedy hands to keep him from rubbing and grabbing his face. It was quite the event--he was bleeding profusely from the mouth right after he hit. Our greatest concern was that he would either choke on his blood (because he takes neither water nor food by mouth), or that he would get some sort of head trauma (with everything else that is going on in his brain). His little mouth and chin are quite the site, but he should recover fine. Also, be praying that James does not bite his lip--it is swollen and thus keeping him from biting it is quite a chore.

Anyway, be praying for James' healing in regard to his c-diff, eses syndrome, and his nasty face injuries. He is quite the trooper. He still smiles and has a good time despite the storm raging around him. Also, be praying for Kristal as well. She is such a good mom, and was already overwhelmed about James' neurology visit before he took his spill down the steps. She is quite fried and worn out as you can imagine.

Thanks for your constant prayers. The Lord is in control and has things better than we can imagine in store, Kristal and I are both confident of this fact. You never go wrong when your hope is in the character and word of God.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update and Prayer Request for Jamesy

Well, it is time for an update regarding James. There is quite a lot of new news. First of all, Kristal and I must thank you all for your continued prayer on James' behalf. God has been gracious to us.

1. James has progressed in many ways. His ability to use his hands with accuracy has improved immensely. He is ultra-impressive with his ability to give high-fives, and he has also learned how to wave hello and good bye! His ability to hold up his head is still improving as well. He is also learning to communicate with us much better. He is in the beginning process of forming a few words (like mama, dada, grama, gampa, more, etc.). His words are not well formed, but the intentionality of what he is trying to say is clear. Furthermore, one of the things we have noticed is that he is starting to like new cartoons, but for a very good reason. The reason he is preferring different cartoons is because he is getting to the point where he can follow a story line. There is much more that could be said in regard to James' progress. We attribute these blessings to the God who heals both according to the natural processes that he infused into his creation and according to his supernatural intervention.

2. We do have new information regarding James' brain activity. James hasn't been sleeping through the night now for about a month and a half. It appeared to Kristal and I that when he woke up in the middle of the night that he was wanting to fall back asleep but couldn't because his body simply wouldn't let him. His body was jerking and he was altogether spastic. Well, James' neurologist decided that he wanted to get an overnight EEG (a study that tests his brain activity). We came up to the hospital yesterday, they put the EEG leads on his head and we stayed the night in the hospital with a camera on James all night. This morning the neurologist read the EEG report and had quite a few things to say.

I will be brief: James has had three EEG's prior to this one and the results were much different this time around. The neurologist has been concerned with James' brain activity in the past, but has never had any significant evidence for that concern from the previous EEG tests. This test, however, provided evidence that validated his concerns. This is both good news and bad news. It is bad news because it confirms that there are underlying problems that yield high potential for excessive seizure activity at all times of the day and night, and it is good news because it gives the neurologist specified data that will help him narrow his search for possible causes and other underlying problems. Basically, the neurologist said that James' brain is "spiking" at all times of the day and night. He said that these "spikes" are indications that James' body is wanting to have a seizure. He suggested that the spikes occur when all the neurons in his brain fire together at the same time, which is highly abnormal. He said that the EEG revealed that his brain was spiking almost every second of the night (literally). In other words, James is always on the verge of seizure activity, throughout the greater part of the day and almost every second of the night.

Praise the Lord that he hasn't had any full blown seizures (except for one time--last August when he was coming out of anesthesia after surgery; and he does have continual epilepsy throughout the day evidenced through staring spells and spastic, uncontrollable movements when he is overwhelmed). However, this is alarming news for us--as well as for the neurologist (who was quite puzzled and concerned). It is a confirmation of what we have seen, but it is not necessarily the best news in the world. The abnormal activity is much more frequent and much more drastic than we were expecting. The one thing that concerns the neurologist is that James' brain activity is alarmingly worse. Because of this, he believes that the next step is to continue testing for metabolic disorders. He is also put him on a new seizure medicine.

We praise God that this EEG test caught the underlying problems in James' brain. It is difficult when you know something is wrong and have no data to help you find the root of the problem to deal with it (you also begin to feel something like a paranoid hypochondriac because you are confident that there is something wrong with no technical data to confirm your concerns). Please pray for two things: 1. that the Lord grant the doc wisdom as he does further metabolic testing and 2. that James' brain "spikes" would not turn into actual seizures.

Thank you for your continued prayer and concern.

We are confident that God knows what he is doing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Washer on the Immutability of God

We have been taking the youth group at our church through Paul Washer's One True God workbook. This workbook is a systematic study on the character of God. We have found it to be incredibly helpful, interactive, and insightful.

I especially appreciated Washer's note regarding the immutability of God. The immutability of God refers to his unchangeable nature. To say that God is immuatable is to say that God does not change. Washer helpfully clarifies the fact that God's immutability does not mean that God is immobile. Take a look at what he has to say:

"In 1 Samuel 15:29, the Scriptures declare that God 'is not a man that He should change his mind.' From this passage and others, it is clear that God's immutability extends even to His counsel and will. He is perfect in wisdom and therefore does not err in what He decrees; He is all-powerful and therefore is able to do all He has decided. But how do we reconcile this teaching with other Scriptures that seem to teach the contrary? In Genesis 6:6, God 'was sorry that He had made man.' In Exodus 32:9-14, the Lord 'changed his mind' about destroying the disobedient nation of Israel. Finally, in Jonah 3:10; God 'relented' concerning the calamity which he had declared He would bring upon the city of Ninevah. Do the Scriptures contradict themselves? Does God indeed change His mind? The answer is not as complex or mysterious as one might think. The Scriptures clearly teach that God's perfections, purposes, and promises are always the same. But this does not mean that his relationship and disposition toward His 'always changing' creation cannot vary. Genesis 6:6 simply refers to God's holy response to man's sin and His determination to blot out man from the face of the earth--v. 7 (the same in 1 Samuel 5:11, 26). In Exodus 32:9-14, God 'changed his mind' with regard to Israel's destruction as a gracious answer to Moses' prayer (a prayer that God led and empowered Moses to pray). In Jonah 3:4-10, God simply 'relented' from destroying Ninevah when Ninevah 'relented' from its sin. These passages are reminders to us that the immutability of God does not mean immobility. He does not change, but He is not static, apathetic, and uninvolved with His creation. He is dynamic and interacts with His creation. He is always the same, but His relationship and dealings with mutable men will vary according to how they respond to Him (Jeremiah 18:7-10; Ezekiel 18:21-24). This is not a contradiction to immutability, but proof of it. He will always respond to men's actions in a manner consistent with His unchanging attributes." (pg 31-32)

I appreciate Washer's balanced (and Scriptural) approach to this subject. God is not changing, but he does respond to our prayers, sins, and obedience. Although Washer suggests that it is not as mysterious as one would at first think, I would credit a large element of mystery to the the immutable God's dealings with mutable men. After all, God is much higher than us--his ways and character transcend all finite human categories. His answer certainly clarifies the issue, but it certainly does not wipe out the depth of God's mysterious dealings with mutable men.

Washer has provided an online version of his One True God workbook for free online. You can access it by clicking here. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reading the Bible Literally

I want to direct your attention to a recent post put up on James Emery White's website. He interacts and critiques a liberal (or may I suggest, an "unchristian") article written by Miguel De La Tore put up on the Associate Baptist Press' website titled, "A Pop Quiz for Biblical Literalists." White's critique of this article is consice, and yet it gets at the very heart of the issue. Take a look at a paragraph from De La Tore's article;
Only God should be worshiped, not the book that reveals God. In spite of some minor contradictions and several immoral regulations or commands that appear in the Bible (as the pop quiz demonstrated for those who have eyes to see), it still remains the testimony of those who saw God move in their lives and in history. And, like all testimonies, it is subjective. As important as the Bible is in my life, to worship it and give it equal standing with the Creator would be blasphemous on my part.
Without a doubt, Dr. De La Tore raises issues which has confronted Christians since the formation of the canon. However, I do believe that White sufficiently defeats De La Tore's skewed reasoning. Surely, White does not thrash De La Tore's thinking on every front, but his dealing with the article is helpful. To access Dr. White's article click here.
Here is a little smidgeon from White's article:
I do not mind a learned discussion about biblical truth and authority. What I do mind is continually associating a ridiculously wooden interpretation of the Bible that violates the most fundamental rules of textual interpretation with “taking the Bible literally.” This is such a tired caricature. Suffice it to say, such “quizzes” as offered above reveal both a hermeneutical and a theological ignorance.