Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Have a Decision to Make That Will Change Your Life

Matt.9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

I was thinking this morning about Andrew Mark and the decision he and Grace have to make. Most people never have to make a life and death decision, or a decision of this magnitude, or do they?

In the early church the decision to follow Christ was life altering, life threatening and certainly life changing. An early church believer would risk losing "everything" to gain "nothing". They would almost certainly receive some form of threat to their life or livelihood. Today, a decision to follow Christ in America can seemingly have no impact on your life at all. How sad is that? Often, people don't want to tell others of their decision to follow Christ until someone else sees the change.

What if there were a cure for Andrew's physical situation and one of the doctors figured the Andrew might think he was "crazy" if he suggested it? What if he then never told Andrew of the possible cure? This would be the most unloving, uncaring, unspoken word I could imagine. Yet, there is a spiritual cure, a much more weighty decision, for every person in the world to make and often we walk right past them and don't lovingly, graciously, tell them of the "cure" we are all in such desperate need of.

One of my friends (A) just came and updated me on his father-in-law's situation. The FIL is not a believer and has blood clots in both legs and is not doing very well. A's wife has talked to her dad about the Lord and he won't have anything to hear of it. She told him last time they talked that she would like him to live so he could be with the grand kids. He is still not ready to listen. Our hearts ache for those we love who reject Christ, because we know what they are missing. The FIL must think that he has too much to lose by giving his life to Christ. God is gracious to save even one of us, we need to continue to love and speak the truth to those who are still holding on to what they "have", which is garbage. Pray that God would break his heart.

Grant is doing well. He golfed in a match yesterday, this is the last match before districts next week. The coach from the visiting team said that Grant had told him he was supposed to take it easy. He said he wished he could swing that hard "taking it easy". He looks great. It's nice to have him in our family.

I got an email from one of the doctors the other day concerning Grant's on going testing. They still really have no idea what is going on, but he wanted us to watch out for some signs like, shortness of breath, increased fatigue, difficulty swallowing... Teresa read the email and it was really hard on her. I guess we just think in the back of our minds, and the front of our hearts, that he will be ok from here on out. But there is no guarantee of this. He may live a long and healthy life, and he may have some severe difficulties right around the corner. Only God knows and we want to rest in His care for our entire family. Easier to write than to do. It seems as if there are many of those things in our lives.

Pray for the Marks,
  • For strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

  • For the wisdom to make decisions that no one wants to make.

  • That God would continue to glorify Himself through every detail.

Pray for the Halls,
  • That Ryan would continue to heal.

  • That he would get his DE homework done:)

  • That he would not try to push too hard.

  • That Jolie would get to enjoy this time with her sweet husband, and he is very sweet.

Pray for Teresa,
  • She is speaking in 128 tonight to the young ladies.

  • That she would trust that God can work out all the details.


Click here to read the next part, "Where Do YOU Live?"

Monday, April 28, 2008


Our youth pastor Sean often talks about ETPing, which in long form is Enjoying The Process.

I was just thinking this morning how good it is to trust that God has everything in control and that He even takes what others intend for our harm to bring Himself glory. I guess it just clicked in my thick head that when we trust that He does have everything in control, then we can enjoy the process, because it doesn't really matter what comes up, we can just rest in His care. It somehow is freeing to know that even when people are deliberately trying to hurt us, either by slanderous words, or by just being verbally evil, or by physically trying to harm us, God can take those things and use them for His glory.

Gen.50:15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph certainly understood God's sovereignty and he could ETP because he knew that God could, and would, work out all the details.


Click here to read the next part, "You Have a Decision to Make That Will Change Your Life"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Long Distance Surprise

At church today there was a little surprise for me.

Sean was filling in for JZ in big church and he asked if there were any visitors who had never been to GBC before. I saw a guy sitting behind us raise his hand, but didn't think too much about it. After the service Mike McA. came up to introduce the new guy to me. I thought they were together. Wrong.

Quite some time ago I posted about a guy, named Tom, who's wife and my youngest sister Joy meet together in a home school moms setting. My sister lives on the East coast. Tom heard of our story from Joy and was really touched by the blog and so he wrote me a "paper letter". I don't get written letters very often, especially when I don't know the writer.

Tom told me how excited he was about Grant and that he was praying for Grant. He also asked if we would pray for his dad, who lives in our area, who is not a believer.
Well, the new visitor was Tom. His dad has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is in the hospital in Seattle. He is here to visit his dad and wanted to worship with other believers. What a treat to meet Tom, and please pray for his dad and that Tom would also rest in God's care.

There is a bond that ties believers together, across a continent, or even across the planet.

Thanks Tom for making the effort to come and visit.

Pray for Ryan and Jolie. Ryan's heart rate is still up and they have just given him some medication to reduce it. Pray that Jolie would rest in God's timing and care and that Ryan would rest in God's provision for the family.

God is Good.

Click here to read the next part, "ETPing"

Trust and Obey

I have had many opportunities in the last few weeks, and recently in the past couple of days, to try to figure things out on my own or to try to work my own plan. Grant's event has really helped me to understand that I am not in control, and neither is anyone else, and that we need to follow the principles we learn from God's Word and then just trust that He will work it out for our good and His glory. I do understand that this is much easier to write down on the test than it is to put into practice, but God grows our faith so when we come to a situation that requires more faith than we think we have, we can then rest in His previously shown faithfulness. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word" comes to mind.

As I was walking this morning and thinking about the conversations I have had this week. People have let me in on the hurt and uncertainty they have in their lives and I don't have answers, but I can look back and see that God is good and He gives us what we need, even though I don't have any idea why things go the way that they do, still I know that I can trust Him.

Matt. 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Oh, how much easier our lives would be if we would just give Him our burdens and let Him carry them, and if we would just trust His Word and rest in His promises. Then we could truly rest. How sweet would that rest be? Much better than a Sunday afternoon nap:)

This old song is so true and simple and the words are right on.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

We can look forward to that day with great anticipation, and we can also have that sweetness today if we trust and obey.

Click here to read the next part, "Long Distance Surprise"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Forgiveness and Healing

Ps. 103:3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

This is not a question in David's mind, rather a statement of benefits.

If I asked you to list the things you are most thankful for, what would be on the top of the list? Generally we would write what comes to our mind first, and this would also mean this would be the most important. David lists God's benefits the same way.

Spurgeon says, ”Till iniquity is forgiven, healing, redemption, and satisfaction are unknown blessings. Forgiveness is first in the order of our spiritual experience, and in some respects first in value.” God forgives our sins, past present and future and He removes them forever, never to be brought back up again.

Think about our forgiveness of others and the partial way that we forgive. We often remember the things that irritate us and sometimes we carry those issues against a person long past the time we can even remember why we were even upset in the first place. God forgives us completely even when He knows we will commit the same sin over and over again.

Both of these songs in the post are Phillip, Craig and Dean.

My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me

Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay You
Only to offer You my praise

It’s deeper, it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
It’s deeper it’s wider
It’s stronger, it’s higher
than anything my eyes can see.

And when sin is no longer present, then the effects of sin are no longer present. He forgives as Judge, and heals as The Physician.

This part is particularly poignant to me right now after our event with Grant. God is the Healer.

Because I was young once, I am aware that many young people don’t think THEY can get sick or think that going to the doctor is a necessary evil. But I am especially thankful to God for the work of medicine. God allows people to figure out what makes the body work and what chemicals to put together so that the body can accept the treatment and start the healing process. God gives doctors and pharmacists the wisdom and knowledge to work toward a cure. If Grant would have had his event even 10years ago there could have been a much different outcome. God gives healing to us.

Teresa and I had our follow up with the cardiologist to review the findings of the Eco-cardiogram and the blood work. Well, all of our tests came back absolutely normal. That is good on one side, because we have no issues, but it doesn't help he doctors get any closer to what it is the kids have. It's a good thing God knows exactly what's going on with us.

Grant played in his first golf match yesterday. He didn't play as well as he would have liked, but it was good to see him out there swinging like nothing has ever happened. It's pretty amazing really when you think that 4 weeks ago we didn't know if he would have full brain functions.

Kimmy and Garrett are being fitted with different monitors. The cardiologist want to make sure everything is ok, before she gives them the "OK" stamp. She said if Grant would not have had his event she would probably just let them slide, but this obviously requires more serious research now.

I was listening to this song this morning and was reminded of God's greatness in everything, even the things we don't know anything about.

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a god
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a god
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that’s just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
Your are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You’re the only God
Whose power none can contend
You’re the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God
Who’s worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that’s just the way it is

That’s what You are

Thankful for all the benefits,

Click here to read the next part, "Trust and Obey"

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Other Woman in My Life

Yesterday I was on the way from church to the home show and I was listening to my ipod. I have a wide variety of artists on there and I chose Larnell Harris.

When Kimmy was born it was one of the most exciting times in my life.

I think everyone should get to have a little girl, but I'm not the "chooser".

She could light up a room just from her great smile and she was always so happy. She was, and is,truly a joy to have.

When Jonathan and Sonja showed me the ultrasound pictures of their first girl, I told Jonathan that there should have been a caption on the bottom, "You can't afford me".:)

Watching Kimmy today makes me so proud and thankful at the woman she has become, and is becoming. I love her servant's heart toward so many in our church and her love for the things of the Lord.

I just wanted you all to know how much I love this "little girl".

Time goes by much too fast
But the memories I have will always last
Like the risk of that first step
And the first word I heard her say
I knew she'd be the only other woman
That I could ever love this way

She's become the other woman in my life
She's the evidence of love
Between me and my wife
When she was a baby, I held her
And as a young girl I watched her
Become the other woman in my life

And all too soon she'll be on her own
Making choices she must live with all alone
But I pray she won't forget
What's been the truth right from the start
She'll always be that special little lady
That heaven placed in to my heart


Watching her grow was like
Seeing a flower begins to bloom
As if follows the morning sun
Knowing that God's not done
And knowing He's just begun

(Larnell Harris)

Remembering the past, and basking in the the present,

Click here to read the next part, "Forgiveness and Healing"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How Lucky Can a Star Really Be?

We had a home show today in Everett. I like to be at the show because I get to see so many people I know. Some who have been PG clients in the past, some we are currently working with and some who may be future clients. Because I like what I do it makes it fun to tell the PG story.

This show was a little different than the ones in the past. I really have a story now and it's not about rocks.

Some of the people came by the booth specifically to ask how Grant is doing. They were surprised when they heard it from someone that this had happened. The blog is a nice place to send people to in order for them to catch up.

Grant's cardiologist was by today and asked how he was doing. She's is very nice and of course excited he is doing so well.

Honestly, he looks just like he did before the event. He acts the same, smiles the same, maybe a little more, jokes the same and he seems to be doing his school work the same as well, which is pretty good. There doesn't seem to be any ill effects from the long time w/o his own pulse.

One of the people today kept saying that Grant was "Lucky" or that he should thank his "lucky stars". How tragic to think that this could have been just chance. I am so thankful that I can have hope in the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, rather than just hoping for the stars to line up just right for me next time. People need the Lord.

God is good even in the way He helps us to remember that He is in control.

Click here to read the next part, "The Other Woman in My Life"

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Well, today has been 1 month since Grant's event. It seems like just yesterday and also like a long time ago.

Yesterday we were at Children's Hospital for another appointment for Grant. We met with the geneticist to talk about his case and the event. We were also trying to figure out if there is something we are missing in all the tests. So far all the things he thinks it could be are negative, so he would like to start testing on things that "it can't be" since everything "it might be" it doesn't seem to be. In everything it is sweet to know that God knows exactly what Grant has, and He will let us figure it out when, and if, He wants.

While we were waiting for Grant in the lab there were parents with kids coming and going. We have the biggest and strongest kids there, and it makes me smile to see my little buddy so big and strong. It makes me so thankful for the abundance of health we actually have and it makes me hurt for the parents who have water to go through so much deeper than we do. I am also thankful that I don't have to be the one who decides if their child makes it or not. I couldn't do that.

We had the home show today and there was a lady there with a "Children's" vest on, so of course I had to talk to her. She is a Microsoft employee and her daughter has been under their care previously and so she volunteers there. They do impact a lot of families. I'm thankful for the people who spend all the time to learn about their specialties and are reading and studying when all their friends are out goofing off.

We can have a great impact on people if we laugh and cry with them. Sometimes people just need someone to hurt with them and pray for them.

I also talked to someone today whose friend was in the hospital on Easter Sunday, in the CCU when we were there, and their outcome wasn't as easy to understand as ours. A 26 years old husband, and father of 2, was diagnosed with Leukemia and only made it 3 weeks after get the diagnosis. It is so hard for us to understand the frailty of life and the nearness of death. God has a plan even for this family and He will get the Glory from this situation.

We need to enjoy the process that God gives us; to love Him and and the family and friends we have with us, and to tell others the Good News. The Good News of His Mercy and Grace towards us needs to be shared.

“All the world tastes of his sparing mercy, those who hear the gospel partake of his inviting mercy; the saints live by his saving mercy, are preserved by his upholding mercy, are cheered by his consoling mercy, and will enter heaven through his infinite and everlasting mercy. Let grace abounding be our hourly song in the house of our pilgrimage. Let those who feel that they live upon it glorify the plenteous fountain from which it so spontaneously flows.” Spurgeon.

Thanks for your love and prayer for our family the past month,

Click here to read the next part, "How Lucky Can a Star Really Be?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Red Bricks

Ps. 103: 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Imagine your own personal sins; each being an individual red brick, like they build those colonial style houses with. Each one of those weighs maybe 2lbs and has a certain amount of space they take up. Now think about what your daily sins would look like in a pile, or it's fine for you to neatly stack them up. Now think about your pile, or stack, for this week, and then 52 weeks in a year. Now multiply that by your age and then by how long you think you're going to live. I have to imagine a very big stack, I want mine to be in a neat stack.

Spurgeon conveys the idea of our sins being a mountain, I get that, and how good it is that God's mercy is enough to flood over the mountains of our sins to completely cover them. If He were not God there would not be enough mercy to cover them. I like it that my stack is under the water of His mercy and I can't see how big it is. God has erased my stack.

Romans 2:4 It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance. How sweet this is.

Come thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy Grace,
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.

I want to live right in the Fountain, but often I choose to try to drink from dry cisterns,

Click here to read the next part, "One AMAZING Month"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who Can Understand the Work of God?

Eccl. 11: 5 As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.

We went and met with the neurologist on Wed. and some of the test results are back. It appears that Grant does NOT have Myotonic Dystrophy as was their previous thought. This is good, as it seems Myotonic is a pretty nasty form of this disease.

There apparently are numerous types of MD and within those types there are quite a few sub sets. This makes diagnosis more difficult. It also could be that Grant has a particular form of MD with his own strain not yet related to any of the currently recognized forms.

We meet with the geneticist on Friday to talk further over his thoughts of the best way to proceed. We understand that even when his case is pin pointed to a specific strain, there is probably still nothing they can do for him. They will possibly know more what to expect for his future, and maybe be able to give him some meds that potentially can slow down the process, but right now it seems that it is, what it is. Grant is really being a trooper in all this, as some of the tests are not very fun, but he knows some of this may help him and all of the info they glean from him now could also assist with other patients down the road.

They will probably start the test for the next MD strain on Friday while we are there. I posted about the DNA previously and it really is amazing that God lines all this up in every single human, and animal, to be exactly how He wants it to be.

I am certainly not a geneticist, but think about a single DNA strand and all the complex information on that one strand, that is a direct match to only one person alive. The MD links itself with a certain, very small, part of each strand and that is how they are able to tell if this strain is one MD or another. Amazing.

Taking that a little further. God knew for sure, no questions asked, that Grant would have this. He also had to line up Teresa's DNA and my DNA, put them together to make our kids' DNA. Well He started this process generations ago. Not a month ago, not when I was a little boy, causing my parents grief, not when we got married, but all the way back into the history of both of our families is what makes our kids' DNA what they are today. God has a pretty good idea what is going on:) That's crazy to me.

Just thought I would give you an update and tell you how "UN-Smart" I am.

Click here to read the next part, "Red Bricks"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Say Something

Teresa told me that yesterday a guy asked her, "How is your son doing?". She told me that she hasn't really ever talked to him one on one before and also that she was so encouraged by his asking about Grant's condition. She thought this was interesting because some of the people that she knows pretty well have not asked how Grant is doing or how she is doing. Please continue to read.

I post this because I am much like the second group, the "non askers". Often I don't know the exact right thing to say, so I don't say anything. After this event, I think it is better to say that you don't know what to say, than to not say anything at all.
Just a little encouragement. We need to get out of our comfort zones and get dirty. Dealing with people is a dirty business, but it is real life. We all have much work to do in our own lives and we need help doing it.

People need the Lord and He has put us here to be His mouth pieces, not show pieces.

Thinking on the computer,

Click here to read, "Who Can Understand the Work of God"

How's Your Connectivity?

I was thinking this morning about our youth ministry staff meeting last night. What a sweet time of fellowship and encouragement.

This was the first one since Grant's event. It's hard to believe, in one respect, that it's been 3 weeks already. Teresa and I gave an update to those who haven't been keeping up on the blog and basically an overview of how we are doing personally. We also got an update on Jonathan and Sonja's apparent mis-carry over the last couple of days.

God's timing is perfect and as I have said before it is not for us to understand but just to trust. Though we want to feel sorry for people that are hurting, God is in complete control and He has us exactly where He wants us for our good and His glory. J and S are doing well in this time and are resting in His care, but please pray that they would continue to completely trust Him. Kimmy is going to their house for the month and so this should be a great help to Sonja and a sweet time of learning for Kimmy.

2 thoughts connected to these things.

#1. If you are not part of a small group somewhere, you are missing out on so much. Our 128 staff is our family. Teresa and I both have "real" families, but these people are the people that we go to battle for souls with, every week. These are the people that are in the middle of our kids lives with us. If you think that your kids don't need someone else's input into their lives, you, and they, are seriously missing out and you are sheltering them from what could be one of the best things in their lives.

#2. Titus 2. Kimmy has been living with different families in our church over the past 6 months. The idea is that she learns how to be a better wife and a mom, though at this moment she is neither. Titus 2 talks about the older women teaching the younger women. What a blessing this has been for her and I hope that it has been a blessing for the families as well. Every wife has a unique way of helping her husband and every mom has a different way of training her children. There is no "right" way, because every child is different and has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Every husband needs a wife to be a helper in a different way. Kimmy is able to watch all these play out in front of her and she is also able to take what worked in one home, for one child, and say to the next mom, "I saw ____ use this on her child and it really worked well". We are so excited about the opportunity that this creates for Kimmy and the young moms in the church. Please pray that Kimmy would have strength to help others and that she would not fear women and be able to tell them what she sees in a way that is both an encouragement and a help to them.

Kimmy, I love you and am very proud of you.

We have an appointment today with another Dr. so if we find out anything new I'll post it.

Find someone to pour into and encourage. Find someone to pour into you.

Thanks for your encouragement on the blog. Just so you know, I am not the only one that is encouraged by your responses to it, but it is easier for others to be encouraged if you post a comment.:) Your comments are sweet, keep them coming, for the sake of those reading it.

Click here to read the next part, "Say Something"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

From the Father of Light, the Giver of Life

We often are not thankful for ALL the things, and situations that God has given to us.

David starts Ps 103 by saying,

Ps. 103:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Many commentators feel that David wrote this Psalm later in his life. The reason for this thought process is because the older we get the more it seems we appreciate what we have. He is exhorting his very soul to praise the Lord because as Spurgeon says, “Soul music is the very soul of music”. In all praise there is an element of joy. David doesn’t want to forget to be thankful to God for all he has been given. “Half-hearted, ill-conceived, unintelligent praises are not such as we should render to our loving Lord” Says Spurgeon. We must praise the Lord with all of our souls and minds.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

It’s interesting that David writes 2 times “Praise the Lord, O my souls”. Since the Bible tells us not to be repetitive David is not just saying this to repeat it w/o meaning, but to remind him doubly to Praise the Lord.

Then he says “Forget not all His benefits”. Thinking about all of God’s benefits to us is daunting task. Spurgeon said “Memory is very treacherous, or unfaithful, about the best things; by a strange perversity, engendered by the fall, it treasures up the refuse, or garbage, of the past and permits priceless treasures to lie neglected, it is tenacious of grievances and holds benefits all too loosely. It needs spurring to its duty, though that duty ought to be its delight”. 
How true this is. We forget the very best moments of our lives right after they happen and then when someone mistreats us we remember that for days. It should be our delight, our ultimate joy, to recount the benefits of God, but instead it is work because of the fall. We must do this great work and this will take exercise. We need to write down the goodness of God and then go back and reread it later that day. This is what the OT was to the Jews, a reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God; they had markers. 
Do you have markers? Do you look at them? There is almost no more shameful name that someone can call you than “ingrate”. Are you and ingrate? Or are you thankful, truly thankful?

Let us all be joyful in whatever circumstance we are in.

Everything, by Chris Tomlin

With rain, with sun
With much, with less
With joy, with pain
With life, with death
The only things that satisfy come from You
They come from You
Everything that's beautiful
Everything that's wonderful
Every perfect gift comes from You
Your grace, Your heart
Your voice, Your touch
Your word, Your peace
Your hope, Your love
A thousand words could not explain
A thousand worlds could not contain
Every perfect gift comes from You
It comes from the Father of Lights
It comes from the Giver of Life
It comes from the Heavens above
It's coming straight from Your heart
To the people You love

Click here to read the next part, "How's Your Connectivity?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

There is a Savior, What joys expressed,
His eyes of mercy, His word is rest,
For each tomorrow for yesterday,
There is a Savior who lights our way.

This is a song that I used to sing to myself a long time ago and it just popped into my head this morning.

Yesterday in church pastor John talked through Matt.14:22-33. This is the story of 2 Jesus, and Peter, walking on water. I think that most people, whether Christian or not, have heard this story some time in their life. What a great reminder of God's power over everything, even the storm, and then a great reminder of God's timing in this event. Jesus could have calmed the storm from where He had been praying, but then the disciples would have thought that it was just a quick storm going through and would not have known that Jesus was truly God. Also in the story is the account of Peter walking out of the boat going to Jesus. When JZ was talking about the reasons given by some commentators I wrote Teresa a note and said, "It's because he wanted to be right next to Jesus, because he loved Jesus so much". Peter was certainly type A, but Peter also was tender to his Lord. What a great reminder that Jesus holds us up in the storm, He wants us to be close to Him, and He gives the faith and strength to carry on. For Peter, the rest of his life he could look back at that night as a marker of God's care and love for him, and this would give him boldness and faith. WOW, what a sweet story.

Matt.14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29 "Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Our computer savvy youth pastor, Sean, has given me a link so you can all listen to my first Sunday morning back in our youth ministry. I shared my heart a little and this will give part of the story in audio form. I hope you are encouraged by this.

Click here to listen to the audio of "How Good is God?"

Please pray for a young man named Andrew. He fell out of a tree about a week ago and he broke both arms and part of his spine. He appears to be doing better, as he can move his big toes now and both arms, but this is a probably a marathon recovery. Pray that they would know what to do when and that the parents would have peace in this time.

Also, a 7th grade Grace Academy girl who is in our youth ministry named Bekah was playing a game of capture the flag on Friday night and ran into another participant. She is pretty slight and he is a pretty big guy. The collision resulted in her falling backwards and hitting her head and cracking her skull. We saw her yesterday at home and she is doing well, but is going back to school pretty soon with her neck brace on. Pray that she would do what the doctor tell her to do, she has a lot of energy, and that God would be glorified in both of these situations.

What a sweet God we serve,

Click here to read the next part, "From the Father of Light, the Giver of Life"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Too Much 'Good,' Not Enough Heaven

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The sunshine this morning is amazing. I started walking at 7 and the birds are singing and the smell of fresh cut grass permeates the spring morning. "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day", from "Oklahoma" comes to my mind. I must be getting old.

I was thinking about my post from yesterday and Grant's comment about if he weren't here he would be in Heaven, and it makes me think that I think about the "pleasures" here to much and it distracts me from thinking about how good Heaven will really be. Often I think, w/o saying it, that "it doesn't get any better than this", but that is such a small view of what Heaven will be like. Even if I was awakened to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach in Hawaii and walked out onto the sand, the water temperature is "perfect" the breeze is just perfect, there is better, much better, coming. It is hard for me to imagine that this is so much less than Heaven will be, but there will be no sin in Heaven, so that makes it infinitely better all by it self. And then you add to that the fact that the Perfect Son will be the light of Heaven, and the most amazing praise, like the Shepherd's conference on steroids.:) Oh what a day that will!

Try to imagine how good Heaven will be,

Click here to read the next part, "Wonderful, Merciful Savior"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Day Sunshine

Ps. 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Grant's test was today and so far the doctor does not think he has what they originally thought he had, which was Myotonic Dystrophy. The neurologist is still pretty sure that he does have some kind of Dystrophy, which he also thinks the other 2 kids have in some form or another, but not this particular strain. Which is both good and "bad". It rules this one out, but it means we still don't know what's going on for sure.

The test was much longer than I had thought it would be, about 2 1/2 hours, but Grant did great. He was laughing through part of it, as the doctor was sending electricity into his muscles and he would jerk every time it would happen. But there was a point that it looked at least uncomfortable. Grant is a real trooper. Poking a needle into your muscles can't feel too good, no matter how easy going you are.

On the way home we did get a small glimpse into Grant's heart. Teresa asked him how he felt and he said that he never feels very good. Then he said, "Well, if I would have died, at least I would be in Heaven, instead of here". Wow, that's a grown up answer for a 17 year old. Selfishly we want to keep him, but he is really correct about that.

It was nice to spend most of the day with Grant and Teresa. The sun was so bright. It's also nice when that first really nice day comes around.

Teresa and I were talking about someone leaving their snowman up in their house, maybe too long. She said she likes to change out the decorations so it seems the seasons are changing as well. She really likes all 4 seasons. I said that it makes those decorations more special when you bring them out the next time, after they have been put away for a while.

When we have our kids, or friends, with us all the time I think it's easy to take them for granted. It makes me think I need to appreciate those that are around me more every day.

Well, you're up to date now.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not ALL His benefits, and they are many,

Click here to read the next part, "Too Much 'Good,' Not Enough Heaven"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't Be Ashamed-Proclaim

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

I have had a few pretty interesting conversation in the last 2 days. Both are concerning Grant and the blog. I also am noticing a change in the way I think about telling others about Christ. This is not from me but God is the One doing this work in me. I am normally afraid and ashamed of the Gospel, even though Romans 1:16 says that is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,... I still am reluctant to speak. Shame on me.

Now I can tell people about the miracle of Grant's life and then that leads naturally into God is in control and are you ready to die?

I am ashamed that in the past I have not shared more than I did, or at all. One friend of mine thanked me for talking to him about Christ and asked "Since I have known you for more than a year, why is it that this is the first time you have said anything?". Ouch.

Col. 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

God planned this event for Grant and our family to give us courage to share because it doesn't matter what people might say. I told my friend today "I might never see you again". Grant doesn't remember ANYTHING from Sat. morning until Tuesday morning. I hugged him goodbye at church on Friday night and that might have been the last time I ever saw him alive. We need to look at people this way.

We are playing for keeps, there are no "do overs", there are potentially no "decisions I can make later". What are we doing with the life that God has given us right now?

Also in the discussion was, "Every person alive knows there is a God, but we just don't want to deal with it right now". You might not get another opportunity to "Deal with it" later.

God is certainly kind to use us to spread the Good News when He could do a much better job Himself. I don't want to be a slacker, and I hope that you are all encouraged not to be slackers as well.

God had given some new life and those He has given it to need to share with those who don't know the Good News yet. We have the life giving truth, we need to share it.

It's a bit of a stressful time at PG but I am confident that God is in complete control and that's the way I want to keep it.

Pray that we would all be bold and that we would take every opportunity to share His love with others.

Rejoicing the opportunity,

Click here to read the next part, "Good Day Sunshine"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Weak and Needy DNA

Ps. 72:12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

Sorry I'm not keeping up. People keep asking me how Grant is doing so I will try to keep you better informed.

I've heard it said that you can't pick your relatives, but never really thought about not picking your genetics. What God gives to each one of us is exactly what we get. Every last strand of DNA is designed and given by God, WOW.

Grant is a very laid back guy. Teresa and I have been trying not to bug him about how he is feeling, but we are parents after all and that's what we do:) If you ask him, he will say something like "I feel great, the same as before". Which I think is mostly true. We pressed enough to find out that his legs are going numb a little faster than before. We went to Seaside for a couple of days last week and when he was out on the beach and he developed some florescent orange spots on his hands. It was very interesting looking with the purple from being cold, but even though he was very cold he didn't complain.

So armed with those 2 new pieces of info Teresa talked to the doctor and she said that she wanted to reduce his Beta Blocker to half the dosage and this should help both of these. The blockers slow down the heart rate slightly, which slows down his metabolism, which makes him colder and less blood goes to his extremities.

Other than that, he went to school on Monday and seems like he is back to normal concerning the heart issues.

When we were at the ICD doctor's office we were talking to the nurse about doing CPR on Grant and whether this would be performed as "Ninja mom" had done it previously. She said, "Well you shouldn't ever need to do CPR on him again and if the 4 of us had heart attacks in the middle of the night Grant would probably be the only one to survive, because he has 'heart insurance'".

I look at him and am still just amazed at how great he looks compared to just over 2 weeks ago. God is Amazing!

So on to the other 2 kids. Our blood is precious to God, really? It's amazing to me that He cares about our blood.

Kimmy's Eco and EKG are absolutely normal, and her CK is not elevated nearly as much as it has been previously. The CK is a blood test that determines the level of a particular heart enzyme. A high number is 200. At the start of all of our testing Kimmy CK was 1600. So there was some concern that but we couldn't really get an answer as to why this was so high. So today at 300 it looks much better. When we tested Grant the first time he was at 9000 and has been as high as 19k. His is exercised induced, so the more he plays soccer and basketball the higher it goes. This number would normally be higher after a heart attack, and Grant's was 3000 when he was in the hospital, so that is much lower than his "personal best", but still high.
Garrett's Eco and EKG look great and his resting heart rate is around 40, he's in really good shape. But we did just get his CK number yesterday and it is 2000. So there certainly seems to be a genetic link between all the kids. 3 of 3 seems a little too "coincidental' and a lot providential.

We have appointments all over the calendar, but this means that we get to spend more time with Grant while driving to them all. He is fun to be around.

Last night we were all standing around in the kitchen talking. Teresa needs a lot of positive reinforcement right now, ok most of the time:), so she said, "You guys don't appreciate me" and with a huge smile on his face Grant immediately said, "We know". We do appreciate Mom, but we probably aren't telling her enough right now.

Teresa had her Eco yesterday as well as a blood draw for CK. They want to find out the connections of all of this for future patients as well as for our extended family. There must be a genetic link so it is important to figure out how far it goes.

My tests are next week.

Yesterday I received a written letter in the mail from Tom on the east coast. I don't know Tom and he doesn't know me except for the blog and my youngest sister Joy and his wife apparently do some home schooling classes together.

First off, most of us don't write enough letters, or in my case, any. We should do this more. No promises, to those I would write to, as this blog is a big start for me.

Secondly, what an encouragement to get a sweet letter telling of his encouragement for the blog and how he connects with our family because he is a father with sons and we share the same Heavenly Father. This event is truly much bigger than Grant and our family and God is using this little blog to accomplish things that I never dreamed possible. His Word does not return void and His ways are much higher than our ways. I don't have the slightest idea what He is doing in all this, but it's nice to know that He already has it totally planned out, mapped out and scheduled. "I love it when a plan comes together".

Pray for those reading and writing this blog that we would be changed by watching God work in such a dramatic way. That we would not just see this a nice thing that happened to a nice young man, but that we would see God's power shown in a personal way. Remember the markers. You now all should have markers to think about as well.

Thanks for your encouragement and prayers. There are still so many people hurting around the world, we need to intercede on their behalf.

Another great song from Scott and Judy Frankfurt's CD. If you don't have it you should get it.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34"For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
35"Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Weak and needy, but God is my Help and Strength,

Click here to read the next part, "Don't Be Ashamed, Proclaim"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

God Is NOT Busy

Matt. 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Think about sparrows for a minute. They hop and jump and take off for 2-3 seconds and then land again to hop around some more. They are fidgety little creatures. They always have to be doing something or going somewhere.

JZ made reference to this passage this morning. He said that the word for "fall to the ground" is actually "hop". How crazy is it that God knows when every single sparrow takes every single hop. I was thinking that often I think that my problem is insignificant to Him, so I shouldn't bother asking. Well if God knows about the hops of sparrows and He knows how much hair every creature has, or doesn't have, then even the smallest of issues I have, He can and does want to know about. AND He can do this w/o being busy. That is too much for us to understand.

I was talking to one of my friends today, Kyle T. and we were visiting about Grant's event. He said that he had been trying to think about how he would have handled this if this were one of his sons and if they didn't come out of it alive. On the way from the airport to the hospital I had time to think about whether Grant would be alive or not when I got there. I had to keep telling myself that God doesn't give us more than we can handle and that I should think about things I know to be true, rather than to imagine how bad it could be. The really great thing is that God hasn't asked me, or Kyle, to go through that right now. God is good and He knows what it takes to brings people to Himself. When I think back on it I couldn't really imagine how GOOD it could be right now from where it was just 2 weeks ago.

One of our other friends was talking about Grant's event being bigger than just a physical death and resurrection. A couple of things come to my mind here. Every life that God changes from hating Him to loving Him is a resurrection into new life spiritually, which is as big a miracle as physical resurrection. The question is, "why would He actually do that?". We have been hoping that this event will change the hearts of all of us to love God more and she said that her daughter has taken this event very seriously since she really considers Grant a friend and she is looking at her life and couldn't say for sure that if she were the one to die that she would be ready spiritually. God uses the events of our lives to change the lives of others. God uses the events of our lives; amazing!

So pray that people would still consider their eternal destiny when they think about Grant's event.

Pray that we all would trust God's care in our lives in the big things and the smallest details. He is a personal God and He wants to take our cares onto Himself so we can just rest in Him.

1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Click here to read the next part, "Weak and Needy DNA"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Laughter Is Good Medicine

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Eccl. 7:13 Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten
what he has made crooked?

14 When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future.

Today was the day we went to the cardiologist to find out everything about Kimmy and Garrett, and for Grant to get his 1 week check up.

What a fun day, no really.

We had to get Garrett there just a little early as they needed just a little bit more info from the Eco cardiogram and they couldn't see it from the first one they took. So Garrett had about a 20 minute eco and we were back out waiting for the Dr. to give us the results.

Dr. C. is such a great doctor. She really is taking the kids case seriously, so serious that she is ordering Eco's on Teresa and myself to make sure that we are okay. She told us that Easter Sunday she went home and told her husband Grant's story. She told us that it has been 2 years since see cried at the hospital, but the speed of Grant's recovery overwhelmed her so much that she cried. What a sweet lady.

Anyway, she is happy with Grant's progress and we talked about his ability to drive in the future.

She then talked about Kimmy's eco and said she is good to go and there are no issues on any of the tests she has looked at concerning her heart.:)She will wear an event monitor for about a month just to make sure they catch any thing unusual.

She started to talk to Garrett and she said that she really liked our family. We had been laughing and cutting up the whole visit. She said something like she felt really close to our family and Garrett pops up and says that he is her brother. She is Asian and Garrett is a VERY white red head. She laughed so hard. She said "We were separated at birth, we're twins". Garrett is close to 6' and she is appr. 5'4". As usual, Garrett is saying something funny. The tests all checked out fine for Garrett, no heart issues for him either. Garrett had an EKG and we were done with Dr. #1.

Dr.#2 is for Grant and the follow up on the ICD. She was very pleased with his progress and then we talked to the nurse about the equipment that is coming to monitor him.

This equipment will sit next to his bed wherever he goes. If he goes to Hawaii then it goes with him. For you techy people this is part of what it will do.

It links wirelessly to the ICD while Grant is sleeping through the phone line. It records every beat of his heart and feeds the info back to the Dr. We saw today that he has had no even 1 single heart beat that has been irregular since the implant. How good is God. When the info goes to the Dr. she can read what is going on in her computer and then send back in for to us so that Grant doesn't have to come in every time. She told us that if the 4 of us had an event in the middle of the night Grant would be the only one that would survive. Teresa will sleep easier I think, knowing he has this going for him. He was given the green light to start to golf for real in 3 more weeks so I think he was pretty excited about that.

We are going to have more tests in the following weeks to see if we can find the exact genetic link to all of this. Time will tell.

I got a comment from Grace Mark today. For those of you who haven't read her blog you can follow the trail to get there from the comment. I think you will be more than encouraged. She can give you the newest prayer requests for Andrew from her blog. They are going through deep water right now. Pray for them.

Pray that we would be lights in the darkness. Pray that we would be bold to always give God the glory. Pray that we all would be thankful for what He has done and is doing in our lives.

Laughing with the family,

Click here to read the next part, "God is Not Busy"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Christ In You

Col.1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I was just reading tonight in Colossians and came to this verse again. I had considered this before but it is such an amazing truth.

So all through the ages the mystery of Christ was hidden from people until the New Testament time and then God chose to reveal Christ and all that He is IN US. We are the ones who are the light to the world now. We are the only Jesus that the world will ever see.

Why would God choose us to show His Son to the world? How am I doing at being what the world views as Jesus? I don't know why God would choose me to represent Himself to the world.

We need to live like we are His light. We are salt and light to the world. Salt heals and light reveals truth. Are we doing both of those things?

Just thinking onto the computer. I hope this is an encouragement to you.

We have Hope because we have Christ in us,

Click here to read the next part, "Laughter is Good Medicine"

Wanna Trade?

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I have been thinking about how I often trade what is best for what is bad.

Teresa just asked me if I would like some cereal for breakfast, but I know there is some blueberry coffee cake in the kitchen. I told her that I can have cereal anytime, but blueberry coffee cake, that's special, I want cake.
So why am I telling you this? I think I/we trade the best of God's plan for us for something that is banal. We trade the feast for garbage. This is a picture of the dinner table we were invited to in Italy.

I think about work, because I like my work, more than I think about God. As men, we are supposed to work and provide for our families, but at what cost?

I went into work this morning before Teresa got up to drop off some papers and sign some docs and it is a little slow right now. Some of the guys are discouraged by not being buried in work. Previous to this event I would be getting anxious, but now I believe and can say to them, "If God can raise Grant from the dead, He can certainly fill up the schedule at PG". God is working on my faith in areas I didn't really want work on, but He knows best. He is changing my heart.

I don't want to trade anything for what is best anymore.

Many have said to me that they are sorry for what we are going through. I appreciate their sincerity but I am not sorry for this time. Most of the time I really didn't know what to say when others were in a situation similar to this, so this is helping me to be more compassionate to others and to really think about what is the right thing to say.

God has our family in this situation and He will get the glory. I am not sure if this is more to work on my spiritual heart or Grant's physical heart. Maybe this is so others will read the blog and look at their own hearts to "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling".

God has a plan for every single detail in our lives and I don't want to be upset when those details are not the ones I would have planned. I generally want to have everything planned out and then don't mess up the schedule. I have a long way to go in this area.

Phil. 2:13It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

When we do what God wants us to do, we look much different than the world does. We just need to continue to ask God to give us the desire to change.

Grant went "golfing" yesterday with the GA golf team. He just putted and chipped his way around the course. It was cold and rainy, normal golf weather here, so he was ready to be done. It is really strange and sweet to see him doing so well.

All the kids go in for an appointment with the cardiologist tomorrow.

Having a good time with the boys,

Click here to read the next part, "Christ in You"