Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catching Up

Here are a few quick sound bites from the past two weeks:

  1. I spent June 16-18 in Orlando being part of a national conference of pastors with the PCA. I went there hoping to connect with some new financial supporters for our work of church planting in Las Vegas. God had others plans. I'm not sure if I made any connections that will grow into partnership with our work, but I my soul was deeply nourished through the preaching at the evening services of worship and in a couple of the breakout sessions. I also treasured the opportunity to catch up with some dear friends I've not seen in a year or more.
  2. After the conference I headed down to Ft. Myers with Eric Phillips. We drove through several rain storms. That was nice. While in Ft. Myers we met with an older pastor who told us that he has only a few days remaining before his body concedes to the cancer he's been fighting for a few years. It was a rare opportunity to receive a life's worth of wisdom that's been refined and focused by these few years of suffering. This man is dying well because his faith is strong and his love for family is evident. I was honored to be a guest in his home that day.
  3. Before we flew home Eric drug me out onto a 20' to go shark fishing with some of his buddies from the area. I ended up dragging in a 4' black tip shark. Amazing! I'm still waiting on the picture to be emailed.
  4. Weight loss continues to be a steady fight. I weighed in Monday morning at 208, 14 lbs lighter than I was six weeks ago when this journey began. Angie and I are almost a combined 30 lbs lighter. Most importantly, the lifestyle changes regarding food are becoming second nature and our energy levels are starting to rise. I hope this translates into more stamina for service to our neighbors.
  5. I continue to play basketball on Monday evenings with a group of guys from CWR, some employees from the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and a regular group of men from the surrounding neighborhoods. I'm pretty excited about where some of these relationships are going.
  6. People at CWR are doing an amazing job of loving each other. I could tell stories for hours about the ways that folks simply recognize needs and work together to find solutions, trusting God for the necessary resources instead of being paralyzed by thinking that everything depends on their efforts alone.
  7. Our missions trip to Haiti is only 10 days away. I'm really beginning to feel pumped about this time to serve, learn, and to do it all with my oldest son. Our church family is growing in their vision to be used of Jesus for kingdom expansion and witness. Again, amazing!
  8. We are in the middle of a three-week project to sort through all of our five-year old's Legos. Slow going, but we are getting there.
  9. I'm looking forward to the series on Ruth that begins in two weeks.
  10. We praying for Jesus to send more workers into his fields in Las Vegas. We are especially hoping for some men and women who will more actively pursue the middle and high school kids in our community. They are very hungry for relationship, the gospel, and discipleship. Pray with us about these opportunities.
  11. I'm in the middle of a book called, "Family Driven Faith." So far it gets a "Highly Recommend" rating from me.
  12. We've had two cars break down in as many days. The immediate temptation is to go and buy a new car. I'm fighting through it and hope to have both cars repaired by week's end. I'm still not sure what the $ damage will be for the van.

Life goes on. The mission continues to move forward. We are growing in faith. To God be the glory!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Monday

Ok, first, I have good news to report on the weight loss front. Today's weight was 211, another two pounds less for my knees to endure with every step. God has been so gracious to allow for this to continue going well. Angie hit her first goal weight today, having dropped five percent of her total body weight in just 28 days. Way to go Angie!

The most encouraging thing has been the increased self-control that God has given us with respect to food. We are actually beginning to want what's healthy for our bodies. Don't get me wrong, the Snickers bar on Saturday while I was out with Philip tasted delicious!

I just read in the paper that police have arrested a 30 year-old woman for broadcasting live sexual assault on her children over the Internet. She has four kids, ranging from 18 months to four years, the article said. My heart aches. When will this evil stop? I have hope, though, for both this mother and her children. These are just the kind of souls for whom Jesus came--to seek and save the lost. Thank God for a Savior!

Just read Psalm 29 again. It's wonderful to consider the incredible power that God holds at his disposal. For 10.5 verses we read of His unending strength. Then we read why. It's all for the sake of bringing peace to his people. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another Monday

Today was great! I was humbled to get on the scale this morning and discover a reading of 213.6! That's another 2.2 lbs for the week. I can't believe it.

I had to repent yesterday, though, with respect to my goals for weight loss. Motivation is fine. Goal is great. Level of time committed is also good. Trusting in my own efforts--bad. I don't know why, but when it comes to something like this my first thought isn't Jesus' words when he said to His men, "Apart from me you can do nothing." So I've added a prayerful dependence in my efforts to remain true to the menu plan and exercise schedule. Even something as basic as weight loss reveals the remaining streak of self-dependence my heart lunges for when left unchecked.

I played basketball tonight. Played three games. Won three games. Playing with the four guys on my team a golden retriever could have won three times. They are all very good. Fun to watch.

The gospel continues to run here in Vegas. I have heard from three or four friends who were engaged by others this past week to learn more about this "Jesus stuff." Hopefully they will experience the freedom of the gospel soon.

Angie is thrilled to be finished with her home school year for our oldest. They both did such a great job. He'll be in high school this fall. Angie doesn't know what to do with herself. I'm sure that the camera will get more use now that she's got the time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Desired Effect?

So, as part of my new diet and lifestyle I decided to finally give a colon cleansing routine a try. I'm taking the simple route with some all-natural capsules to be taken once each day until the bottle is gone. The notice on the side of the bottle nearly killed me due to laughter as I read. Here's what it says:
"Take two capsules daily with a large glass of water. If you don't get the
desired effect, add a capsule a day until you achieve the desired effect. Do
not exceed 5 capsules a day."

What exactly is the desired effect? I'm thinking, as a colon cleansing novice, that if I'm not getting the "desired effect" that the last thing I'm going to want to do is add to the number of capsules I'm taking.

Teenage Girls

I spent an hour on Tuesday evening with some of the girls who gather at Laura Stremmel's house for study each week.

One thing to say: What an amazing group! As I was speaking to them about what the Bible teaches us concerning baptism their ability to interact and follow showed a rapidly growing grasp of the gospel on their part. Laura and Kellie Raih are doing an amazing job loving and instructing these girls!

The other thing that really struck me was how many of their friends they regularly pray for, not to mention the number of friends with whom they are sharing their faith and inviting to be part of this study. Their boldness and confidence in the face of relativists, atheist, evolutionists and otherwise apathetic friends shows how beautiful the gospel is for each of these young women. They love Jesus and want others to follow him as well. I'm sure that this group will be used by God to change the lives of many people to come.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekly Weight Numbers (6/1)

Monday's my weigh-in day. The moment I stepped on the scale this morning was filled with much anticipation. I wasn't able to work out of the past few days as much as I had hoped, but things are still moving forward. Here's the update:

5/18: 222.0 lbs
5/25: 219.0 lbs
6/1: 215.8 lbs

I couldn't believe that I've lost 6.2 lbs thus far. That's equivalent to 21,700 calories! I'll check back in a week and let you know if the progress continues. This is not easy. I wish it were!

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010