1 comments Monday, September 29, 2008

I have several posts I want to do, I've had to wait for myself to calm down before I could share what was done to one of my Youth.

Right now I'm pretty sure that irony is hell. I preached on Healing last night as part of a series I am doing. Then I got very sick last night. I was up all night vomiting. I'm still running a fever but at least he nausea is subsiding. I'm going to sleep some more.

10 comments Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Originally posted by me on Stuff Christians Like. The following has been expanded and edited slightly from the original comment. I have to be careful because this story from my life is so close to me all these years later that when I write it down I tend to just delete it because I am not happy with how I convey the emotion and power of God in this.
~End Disclaimer~

My testimony is pretty tame. I gave my life to God when I was 5. I went though a small time my junior year in HS when I rebelled against God, but the worst I did was smoke a few cigarettes and drink a couple beers. I'm a hard core rebel like that.

I went to Bible college after HS and married the girl I had been dating since the summer before my Senior year in HS before I graduated college.

Then my real testimony starts. It is about how God sees us where we are and lets us know He has compassion on our brokenness.

We found out my wife was pregnant after we had been married 2 years. We were very excited. Then she had a miscarriage. Later we tried again but she had another miscarriage. She didn’t see the doctor at all during these miscarriages, just a nurse practitioner that was more than a little blunt. When she did see the doctor he did a test and said she was infertile. We felt that this was absurd since she could get pregnant just not stay pregnant. She decided to see another doctor the next time we tried. A few months later she was pregnant again. She went further before she started having complications. I think that was what made it so hard.

It turned out this was a tubal pregnancy. We were left with a decision on how to terminate the pregnancy. I tried called in everyone and felt like we were in some kind of black hole unable to make a choice or talk to anyone to help us make a choice. After literally hours in the doctor's office her tube ruptured and the doctor sent her for emergency surgery. Not long after she went in for surgery people finally got my messages and started coming to sit with me.

I think that was the darkest day of my life. The surgery wasn’t without risk which is one of the reasons we struggled for so many hours to make a decision. They took my wife into pre-op and left me to wait. I was told the surgery should take thirty minutes to two hours depending on if they could do it with the laparoscope or if they would have to make a full incision. The doctor started with the laparoscope since it would be an outpatient procedure. It was another four hours before I would know what was going on. When the doctor came out he look haggard and took me to the counseling room off of the waiting area. At that point I knew the worst had happened at felt like pure ice. Fortunately it wasn’t so bad. The tube had partially ruptured in the office but the remaining portion was intact. When the doctor touched it to hold it steady for the procedure it, in his words, “burst like a balloon.” They had to open her up and clamp off the bleeding before they could finish. This resulted in the surgery taking much longer than anticipated.

She had a long recovery ahead of her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The next several months were beyond torture for us. We felt that we had been abandoned in our darkest crisis, but God had a plan to let us know that He sees us even in that darkness. They say a black hole sucks everything in and nothing can see beyond the event horizon because of the very nature of the phenomena. I can say that God can not only see into those black holes in out life He can take us out of them.

During this time I learned a lot about grief counseling. More than any of my teachers were able to convey. I learned that the “answers” while technically correct are not always right. I had so many friend tell me things to help ease my pain or to help my cope that did nothing but make me angry. I remember once actually raising my hand to hit one of my friends before I realized what I was doing. I can say that my biggest lesson was that I won’t have the answers, but that people don’t always want the answers either.

We also learned a lot about prayer. About what it is like to go through the motions but never really believe, but also how God can take it and is faithful even when we lose our faith. Paul says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Tim 2:3). In early December 2002 the tornado sirens started blaring. If you are unfamiliar with tornados let me say that this is incredibly rare in December. We retreated to the basement of a building of the Bible College I was working at where several married students also took refuge. During the two hours we waited out the storm some women began to pray with my wife. I don’t really know what they prayed, but they prayed and kept on praying. I think that is the real key to prayer.

A couple of weeks later we found out my wife was pregnant again. At this time we weren't trying and it was more like a slap in the face. It was like finding out that your child had a terminal illness. As far as we were concerned she would lose this baby as well. This was the last Saturday of 2002. We went to church the next day because that is what we have always done. We had stopped going to the medium size church we were actively involved in because we were hurting so much. We were attending a mega church where we could hide. We knew a few people that attended but never did more than say hi to them. That morning we showed up and did little more than say hi to most people. We did tell one couple our news so they could pray for us before service.

It was during that service with over 2000 other people on a small planet in a great big universe that an infinite God touched two insignificant people.

We stood up and clapped during songs when we were suppose to and even raised our hands so people around us wouldn't suspect just how broken we were. We shook hands with our required number of people with our nice smile and pleasantries. We put our pittance in the offering bag when it passed and opened our Bibles to the verses the pastor told us to turn to. I think we could have earned an Oscar for hiding that kind of pain, but God saw through the sham.

In the middle of the sermon our pastor stopped. He told over 2000 people God was telling him something. After all my pain my cynicism levels went right off the chart. Then he said what God was telling him,

There is a couple here that is hurting. They have been wanting a baby but have not been able to. They are broken but God want them to know He will give them the desires of their heart and this summer they will have their baby.
These words shook us to the core. For the first time in months I began to hope. After the service our friends hunted us down to say they believed that God was speaking to us in that. We all prayed and rejoiced. I took my wife to go talk to the pastor and we poured our hearts out about what we had been through and he politely listened then prayed for us. He left the church not long after but he kept in contact with us to hear how God worked.

Well we ended up having our first, a little girl, that August. Since then we have had three others for a total of four children. Life was not without difficulty. All of our children have been premature. The earliest was 10 weeks early. We have had to rush to the hospital for health issues from premature birth. God has remained faithful.

We have been through pain since then, but knowing beyond any doubt that God sees us in our pain and has compassion on us even when we are angry with Him for letting us go through the pain has made our hurt so much more bearable.

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17&18 NIV)
That's why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people's sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. (The Message)

1 comments Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What is wrong with accountants? There must be some serious deformity in their brains that makes it possible to look at accounting books and makes sense of it all. Even their “simplified” reports are enough to make my head hurt. I’m not dunce when it comes to numbers. I plan a monthly budget for my finances and I balance my checkbook and track expenses then compare those to my budget. You would think the church finances would look like my own expenses but larger.

For some reason this isn’t true. At some point I think the accountants got together and said, “Hey this is way to easy and anyone could actually do this, but we want to seem more valuable so how do we make it more complex?” This is the only logical explanation for how funds are tracked and why it took my all morning to understand what I should have been able to get in an hour tops.

Of course, I can’t blame accountants alone for making things complex to seem more valuable. Lawyers certainly make things too difficult. Have you ever read a legal brief? Why can’t they just say what they mean without all the extra wherefore blah blah blah garbage? I’m assuming doctors don’t pull the same trick. I’d totally do my own surgeries except they have me terrified that you need extensive training and stuff.

OK, maybe doctors don’t make things intentionally difficult when it comes to stuff like that. I’m betting taking a person apart and putting them back together is significantly harder than tearing down the engine in my car and reassembling it (something I did without specific training).

Preachers can be guilty of this too though. I’ve watched so many preachers throw out these huge words and drop Greek and Hebrew as if they use those words on a daily basis. It makes a person feel like they need some kind of degree to understand the Bible. That is totally bogus. I know this is true because I have been consistently blown away by the ability of some people to digest and understand Bible passages I’ve struggled with after years of training.

Let’s face it. You can write a will without a lawyer, you can take medicine without a Dr., you can do you finances without an accountant, and you can read your Bible without a preacher. I know as a preacher it seems like a hurting myself, but there are reasons for accountants, lawyers, and doctors. There is also a reason for preachers. Some are given a special gift from God to preach the word and build up Christians through this gift.

Anyways, preachers, stop trying to sound like you need special training or a special gift to understand the Bible. Busy yourself with preaching the Word not sounding like you are worthy to preach the Word. Everyone else, take time to read. You’ll be surprised how much you understand.