Thursday, August 28, 2008

God Draws Near

My dear friend and church planting partner is having a tough week. Eric began the week with a hefty study and review schedule planned ahead of his written ordination exams set to be taken early next week.

On Tuesday morning his phone rang. It was his mother telling him that his father was lying on their bedroom floor unresponsive. Eric called the paramedics immediately. It was a massive stroke. Tom, Eric's father, is still in an ICU here in a Las Vegas hospital. Today, three days later, he is sedated and breathing with the aid of a machine.

Yesterday he became alert for a short time. His bride was at his side and able to enjoy the tender movement of her husband's thumb across the palm of her faithful hands.

Eric's ordination exam study is on hold for this week, but his learning hasn't slowed down. In the midst of this sad week he told me that he is living out the Psalmist's words in a new way. "God draws near to the broken-hearted." My dear brother is experiencing a new level of broken-heartedness, and hence a new sense of the nearness of our loving Lord.

We pray. We wait. He is faithful.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today was a special day at City-Wide Redeemer's worship. Glenn walked into the sanctuary. I can't believe I just said, "Glenn walked into the sanctuary." It has been so much fun to witness Jesus' kindness to this man, and to see his grateful response in turn. Glenn was received into membership and baptized as well. What a joy! I've said it more than once, so it won't hurt to say it again: As much as Glenn needs friends at City-Wide Redeemer, we need Glenn.

A video of Glenn's baptism should be up on You Tube in the next couple of days. The title will be "Glenn's Baptism at City-Wide Redeemer" for those who want to look it up with a search.

On a much less important note...our kids are enjoying their new dog. His name is Driscoll. He is a border collie mix. We found him at the pound. I think that he was abused because he is pretty tentative when we approach him with something in our hands, but he is getting along with the kids wonderfully. He is potty trained. He sleeps in his kennel well at night. He doesn't chew on things. He is a manly dog. He doesn't bark at other dogs. He walks well on the leash. What else can you ask for?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glenn's Walking

It was an amazing feeling to walk beside our new friend, Glenn, as he walked out of the Advanced Prosthetics and Orthotics office in North Las Vegas. What a picture of the kingdom. "Let Your kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."

We are just observers of God's grace here.

On Sunday evening Glenn was going to his rented room from the bus. Four men came up to him, flashed a handgun, and promptly took all of his cash and his cell phone. To add further insult they slapped him on the head and called, "Punk!" to him as they walked off with his few possessions. I hope for their repentance. I am also comforted by the reality that if they choose not to turn away from their evil practices they will one day face the judgment of God who sees all things, even those things that happen on not-so-well lit streets in North Las Vegas.

We are still waiting on God for the $3700 that remains to be paid for Glenn's new prosthesis.
Glenn is going to begin looking for work this week. I hope that the process is quick for him.

Glenn will be baptized this Sunday. I'm looking forward to that. He told me today that he intends to start reading God's word more often. "Why?" I asked. I wanted to ensure that he wasn't simply falling onto some spiritual disciplines as a means of pleasing God, or trying to gain God's favor. It was none of that. "Because of what he has done for me...I want to know as much about him as I can." What an answer!

We'll be receiving a few other families into membership this Sunday at City-Wide Redeemer. This week we've been spending some time with these new folks and have been deeply encouraged at their stories of God's grace in their lives. These people really get the gospel!

Our friend, Laura, is in town from St. Louis. She studied at Covenant Theological Seminary for the three years that I was there, and one more after we left. She is trying to determine if God might be calling her to live and work in Las Vegas. If so, she would get work, get settled, and begin to share her gifts with City-Wide Redeemer. She has so very much to offer and we are hopeful that she will make the move here.

Our oldest is going back to public school next week. He'll be in the eighth grade. He's almost as tall as me--only 3 1/2 inches to go before he catches me.

I've been learning to play the piano in an effort to keep some balance in my life. It has been great fun and very relaxing. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kingdom Evidence

Our new friend Glenn, who was living homeless, and in a wheel chair, on the streets of Las Vegas for more than two years is only five days away from receiving his new leg. A doctor in town has agreed to make the prosthesis for only 75% of normal cost and has also been willing to take payments. I can't wait to see Glenn up and around. Lord willing, he will walk to the front of the sanctuary for his baptism 9 days from now. That is going to be a wonderful moment for the people of City-Wide Redeemer to witness.

God also provided a room where Glenn is able to stay. Being homeless without a safe place to sleep or any secure place to store your limited possessions or a place to wash your clothes makes escape from the despair nearly impossible.

We are still waiting to see where the rest of the cash will come from to pay for his leg. That might be the other miracle in this story. I'm looking forward to finding out.

I'll be posting a video of Glenn's baptism if all of the technology stuff works for us.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Upon Further Thought

I think that from time to time I'll share with you some of of the fruit that comes from my musings, as long as you like fruit that is pretty bruised. It's Saturday evening. My normal Saturday evening ritual is to plead with God to do something in worship tomorrow. I am hopeful that he will meet with his people, that he will encourage the downcast, bring life to the spiritually dead, challenge the prideful, etc. This evening, as is often the case, my thoughts in prayer drifted to my desire to be able to preach well--that others might think well of my ministry efforts. This is crazy talk. I don't know why it is that my thoughts can go this directions, except that I have forgotten the focus of preaching.

I'm sure that no doctor walks into the operating room with hopes that his heart surgery patient likes the way he does his job. He simply shows up and does his work, work that he hopes will be used for the good of the patient. His focus is on the one he comes to serve. That is good thinking. I already have many promises from God's word concerning its proclamation. It will never return without accomplishing its intended purpose. It is living, sharper than any two edge sword. It is life-giving, the fuel for faith. It is authoritative because of its Author. It is true. O, Lord, please work through your Word for the blessing and salvation of your people.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cheeseheads and Bananas

Today at lunch I looked at another photo on the front page of ESPN from Green Bay. There are thousands of people outside Packer Stadium walking around with Brett Farve signs. I like Brett Farve, and look forward to seeing what kind of season he can throw together (pun intended), but as I looked at this photo I had to ask myself this question: Do people in Green Bay work? How is it that on a Monday thousands of grown men and women can put on their Packer jerseys and head out to Lambo field for a makeshift rally in support of their returning hero? I'm thinking that employers must offer sick days, vacation days, and emergency rally days. Crazy!

This morning I was contemplating the wonder of the banana. Besides the great taste and wonderful nutritional value, you have to worship the Creator for doing such a great job of packaging bananas. Imagine if the banana peel was like an orange peel. By the time you got the peel off you'd have baby food in the palm of your hand. Instead, the very protective, thick, peel just rips straight off incrementally, allowing you to enjoy the banana in its original shape while still having a progressively repositioned handle that keeps your hands clean. Bananas are pretty cool.

Yesterday's worship was a great encouragement to my heart. With travel last week I missed celebrating the Lord's Supper. That God-ordained meal is such nourishment to my heart. I'm thankful that Jesus gave that to his followers.

We welcomed several guests again for worship too. I met some really neat folks. I'm looking forward to getting to know them over the next month or two.

Our weekly set up and tear down at the new location is finally going very smoothly. John Cherne does a great job spearheading that effort. The guy can cook and set up like no other. He is a great friend to many of us too.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010