Wednesday, December 24, 2008
While You Were Sleeping
For my annual Christmas post, I thought I would post the video for a wonderful song by Casting Crowns. "While You Were Sleeping" is the story of Jesus' birth and ultimately what America is missing. The person that put this video together, has clips from both The Nativity Story and Passion of the Christ. Enjoy!

Listen closely to the lyrics concerning America. As we each celebrate Christmas, let us keep in mind what it is all about, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night, in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping?
Will we be sleeping?

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

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  posted at 8:12 AM

Sunday, November 30, 2008
Jesus is the Reason for the Season
I know it has been a long time since I have posted. I have been pretty busy, and usually only have time to post comments on other blogs. Since the last time I posted, "A" has returned to work and finished his chemo and radiation treatments. He continues to be thankful of all the prayers that have been sent his way over the last months. He continues to get stronger every day and I am thankful that he is back at work with all of us.

I figured I would broach the Christmas topic, like many others will be in the coming weeks, for one main reason: the events of the last week.

This week, I have read the following headlines, and absolutely cringed:

Icelanders demand PM resign during violent protests: Thousands of Icelanders took to the street in violent protests in Rekjavik, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Geir Haarde and central bank governor David Oddsson in the wake of the country's complete financial collapse.

Throng Of 2,000 Shoppers Bum-Rush L.I. Wal-Mart: Worker, 34, Trampled, Dies; Nassau Cops: Pregnant Woman, 3 Others Injured By Unruly 'Black Friday' Mob

Witnesses: Fatal shooting followed toy store brawl

Mumbai terror rage ends after 60 hours, 195 dead

So, let me get this straight, due to the financial crisis around the world, we have riots in Iceland. Shoppers desperate to get those "great deals" at Wal-Mart, bum rushed the doors and trampled a worker to death and caused a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage. Two women start a fist fight, for unknown reasons, at a Toys R' Us, and the men with them shoot each other similar to a scene from Die Hard. Last, and certainly not least, a bunch of Islamic militants go on a shooting rampage in India, killing at least 195, and probably more.

What a way to start out the Advent season: with a little mayhem. My heart aches for our country, for the world, and it is times like these that I truly understand how fallen man is. Why our Father in heaven sent His only save us from ourselves.

More so, I wanted to post this to remind everyone what Jesus said about wealth in a time that the world and our country are on the brink of economic ruin and the biggest commercialized holiday of the year.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:19-34 (NKJV)

While many people are looking to the government for the "bail out" answer, I look to scripture. And when it comes to trusting the government, the following quotes are very telling.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." Gerald Ford

"Well, I’m here to remind you that you’re going to fix the economy because your personal economy is up to you. It's not Washington's job to fix what's going on with you. If you are waiting on Washington to change something, you've got a long wait!

You’re going to give yourself money as a result of your hard work and persistence. Waiting for money to be taken from others and given to you is a spirit of envy, and it's wrong.

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for. But I am here to tell you that the government doesn’t have the capacity to fix your problems. Washington is full of bozos, and I am doing my part to send a lot of them home!

This economic mess is a reality, but we can each only control one thing—our reactions. Does this stuff define you? Only if you let it. The weird thing about the economy is that YOU are the economy! I learned this the hard way. I got my real estate license when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 21, interest rates had risen to 17% fixed-rate … and I still sold houses. How? Because I worked hard." Dave Ramsey (complete comments here)

As we begin Advent, think about challenging yourself to be more than just a Christian in name only. Live it out each day, proudly, on your sleeve. Be different! Be recognizable!

My home church, The Loft, started the Happy Birthday Jesus project last year. Each member is asked to look at their Christmas budget, cut it in half, and give half to Jesus for Christmas. The money is used for our mission project in Costa Rica. If your church is not doing something like this, hop over to The Advent Conspiracy and get plugged in there. Whatever it takes, step away from the commercialism of Christmas and step closer to what Christ challenges us to be every day, Servants.

Christ came for a reason, now that we know Him, let's let the world know Him through us.

UPDATE: The woman mentioned in the article at Wal-Mart suffered a miscarriage.

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  posted at 10:47 PM

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Help Me Obie-Wan, You're My Only Hope.

For all the true Star Wars fans that may also be into cool home electronics, this is for you.

It can be all your for a little over $2,500.


  posted at 8:20 AM

Monday, May 05, 2008
"Though it tarry, wait for it." Habakkuk 2:3
"For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Habakkuk 2:3 (NKJV)
I open this post this way for 3 reasons:

1.) I recently read a daily devotion from Oswald Chambers regarding this topic (excerpts at end of post.)

2.) I have been so busy with everything at work and home that I have not had time to update "A's" status, yet you have had patience.

3.) "A" continues to have patience in this whole process, more than I have ever seen in any man I know. While going through this all, he knows it is God's time. God's plan. He doesn't rush it. Doesn't push it.


A couple of weeks ago, I learned that the tumor removed from "A's" brain was stage 3 cancer. He told me that there are 4 stages: 1 or 2 are almost never identified before reaching stage 3 and that stage 4 is terminal. With that, the doctor was going to move toward aggressive chemo and radiation treatment and his prognosis is good, considering his age and health.

The good news, he was able to stop by the office last week and visit. Everyone has been so supportive and was excited to see him up and about. He has also been successful during his occupational therapy. He continues to gain more movement in his left hand every day. Here is an update in his own words. When he talks about every one's prayers, he is talking about you guys, the readers, as well.
"We continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and prayers that have been put forth on my (our) behalf. We are so blessed!!! I am just now getting a hint what the following scripture means as a result of all your prayers, cards, well wishes and prayers.

'Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.' Romans 13:7-8

Updated information:
The majority of the past week has been spent navigating through MD Anderson’s admission process and occupational therapy on my left hand.

MD Anderson update first. I have been scheduled for another MRI tomorrow May 5 and we have been working to get previous films and reports and tumor samples gathered and in MD Anderson’s hands for our consultation visit Tuesday May 6. In short we are stepping through the process and hopefully soon we will know the timing of chemo and radiation or whatever other treatments they recommend.

Occupational therapy has done wonders on what I can do with my left hand. Although I despise little pegs and pegboards, I can now manipulate them around and put the two together. Don’t ask for patience, this might be a very cruel answer. My hand is getting stronger and is getting more normal in its abilities, for that I am very thankful and thankful for the therapy.

I am doing well, but probably overextend myself daily. I find that around 3:30-4:00 I require 2-3 hours of rest, but continue to try to convince "D" that daily I am rebuilding stamina.

My spirits are continually raised high just simply in the way you all have just shared in this with us. Thank you all. I truly did not appreciate how many friends I have in my corner. But it has been evident in how we have been blessed and the prayer coverage you have provided. I cannot thank you enough."
Please continue your prayers and remember, even though he may not know you personally, he appreciates every prayer that you have lifted and every thought that you have had.

"Patience is not indifference; patience conveys the idea of an immensely strong rock withstanding all onslaughts. The vision of God is the source of patience, because it imparts a moral inspiration. Moses endured, not because he had an ideal of right and duty, but because he had a vision of God. He 'endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible.' A man with the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue; he is devoted to God Himself. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it; things come with largeness and tonic to the life because everything is energized by God. If God gives you a time spiritually, as He gave His Son actually, of temptation in the wilderness, with no word from Himself at all, endure, and the power to endure is there because you see God." Oswald Chambers - "THE PASSION OF PATIENCE," May 2nd Devotion


  posted at 1:35 PM

Sunday, April 20, 2008
A Special Visit
I was blessed yesterday to be able to visit my friend, "A." It is absolutely amazing how his spirits are high. His family is with him. He continues to praise God in this "storm." The funniest thing in the conversations that we had, and I mean funny-ironic, was his concern for everyone else. He wanted to know how I was doing. He wondered how the rest of our co-workers are. He wanted to make sure that his being gone is not a burden on others. That's "A" for you.

He is doing well, a little tired, but doing well. He continues to suffer, though to a lesser degree, from what I call "after shocks" from the surgery, small focal seizures specifically on and around his left thumb. From the beginning, the MRI showed the tumor in an area "that will have an effect on the left thumb." It is amazing the ability God has given man to study and learn. To know the exact locations in the brain that affect certain areas of the body.

With all that has happened in the last couple of weeks, one thing is for sure: the power of prayer is amazing. Never, ever underestimate that "where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, there He is in their midst."

God is awesome and the way he has spoken to so many during the "storm" is a testament to His overwhelming grace.


  posted at 10:09 AM

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
My God is an Awesome God!
UPDATE: 04/17/2008

I spoke this afternoon to "D". "A" is going home today. He will continue therapy on his left hand, but all is well and he should be back to his usual shinanigans soon.


Continued prayers are needed for the biopsy.


  posted at 6:04 PM

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
God Is Good!
UPDATE on "A" (04/14/2008):

"A" had his surgery this morning. On Sunday, I spoke with him. A little about life, a little about work, and a little about his unfaltering faith during all this. He was surrounded by family and getting ready to have a good ol' Texas Bar-B-Que. "A" has been a role model for me in my Christian walk. A man that is even tempered in his understanding of his role in God's plan, when dealing with customers and employees, and a man that looks to God for wisdom, not others.

"Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)

Our first update today was a little shaky. Upon surgery, the doctor realized that the tumor was a little deeper than expected. We were told that "A" may have a deficiency in the use of his left appendages for a short time, but with therapy, he should recover quickly. There was nothing to be alarmed about. Currently, he was doing well. Here is the exact update:

"'A' is out of surgery and all went well. The doctor is hopeful that they removed 100% of the tumor, but they can't tell at this time. The doctor feels he should have a full recovery. He is in the recovery room at this time and will spend the night in ICU. They anticipate moving him to a room tomorrow and begin physical therapy as well. 'D' [his wife] is there with [his] parents and 'B' [another family friend] said that she sounded as though she was holding up well."
Later in the afternoon, we received the following update:

"I just received a call from 'D' with another update. She said that they had allowed her in to see 'A' and that he was awake and alert. Although she said he was in some pain as you would expect, he was able to respond to the doctor and perform basic movements as well or better than the doctor had expected at this point. [GOD IS AWESOME!] He will stay in the ICU tonight and they still plan to transfer him to a regular room tomorrow. It sounds like things have gone very well so far."

Please continue with your prayers, as will I, as they biopsy the tumor and "A" gets back to 100% and has an opportunity to partake in all the other things that he loves.


  posted at 12:49 AM

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