Thursday, April 30, 2009

WOW What a day

Today was quite a day.  As many of you know Jess and I were facing the fact that our little man was headed to the dentist to have one of his front teeth removed, however everything changed very quickly.

In order for you to get the full understanding i will give you a little of the back story.  This past weekend, Justus was playing in our Master Bathroom while i was also in there.  At one point he fell off the tub, flat on his face, he came up crying, so we checked him out and all seemed well.  When he returned on Monday from some playtime at the park, he commented to Jess that he had hit his tooth again, and it was loose.  This tooth was news to us, so Jess took a look, and sure enough his tooth was loose, and the gums above the tooth, were really black and blue.  So we made an appointment for him to see the dentist on Tuesday.  When Jess took Justus to the dentist on Tuesday, she called me to confirm that what were concerned about was true.  They had x-rayed his gums and tooth, and he had broken the root leading to the tooth, and he would need to have it removed.  As i took in that sentence, i heard a voice in my heart of hearts, say these words.  "Do not let the doctor take that tooth today, tell Jess to come home".  So very quickly i called her back, relayed what i believe was the spirit of God, and she agreed she would not allow it to happen.  So we made an appointment for Thursday, and she brought him home.  That night we did as all good parents would and made sure that what he ate was appropriate to protect him from any pain that might come from biting down wrong on his tooth.  As i put him to bed, i centered him beside me, and told him i believed God could heal his tooth.  I then layed my hands on his face and we began to pray. During our time of prayer, Justus laughed and giggled non stop, my hand on his face was tickling him, but we continued to pray.  When we were finished we went about our normal routine, and as i tucked him my heart raced in belief that God might be up to something.

Wednesday, again we protected his tooth as best we could, and prayed again for his healing.

Fast forward to this morning, Jess called me on her way to the dentist, and i spoke with Justus, preparing him for the morning ahead.  As Jess arrived at the dentist, she asked the dentists assistant if they planned to take x-rays again to be sure.  The assistant said no, the x-rays from Tuesday were enough, if the root is broken it is broken, nothing can change that, haha (but you don't know my God...).  So they put Justus in the chair and began to put oxygen and laughing gas into his system, then they numbed his gums.  However, as the dentist entered the room, she took one look at his mouth, and said to Jess, i want another set of x-rays, his gums look amazing, as does that tooth.  So with Justus being goofy thanks to the gases, they took x-rays, and wouldn't you know it, the next words from the dentist were, "I can't remove this tooth, its healing, the gums are tightening up and the root is fine."

Jess called me after all that happened, crying harder i believe from those words, than she had been before worrying about the pain we was going to feel if they had to pull it.

So the question at hand, do i believe God healed my son's tooth, YEP!  Not a doubt in my mind.  Why he choose to do that, i will leave to Him.  Why he chooses not to heal other times, again i will leave that to Him.  But bottom line in either circumstance to God all the glory.  So our family will celebrate the goodness God has shown us through a very simple front tooth.  And continue to train our son to use one of the gifts that God has given him for God's glory. For it has been said about Justus by more than one person "he has a smile that just seems to light up the room when he comes in". 

So many other things happened today worth writing about.  A new podcast from Marshill (congrats to Rob and his wife for their new little one Violet), and a Catalyst podcast from the Hillsong United team (one quote "together we're better"), top all that off with SLOWBURN worship (Thursday evenings 6:30pm Cool Springs YMCA) this evening, Jess and I getting the blessing to serve the little ones, and God using His people to radically challenge each other in their pursuit of the Kingdom of God here on earth, for Kingdom is now my friends.  If you normally come to this, and you had to miss tonite, from what i hear it was also full of WOW.

However nothing compares to the WOW Kingdom moment we walked in with our little man, Justus.  Thank you Lord....

May His Peace, His Grace, His Love, and His Glory chase you in the moments to come. PEACE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today I was Challenged

For a good period of time now i have been reading and digesting BLOGS. I have even contempleted working on one for my boys so they can know their adoption stories from our perspective written not just oral.

With that said, in the last day i have listened to a Catalyst podcast from a few years back with an interview from a man that i respect highly Mark Batterson (Pastor of National Community Church and Author of Wild Goose Chase) and been involved in a Youth Pastor Interview with Jeff McGukin (exec pastor of Valleydale Church in Birmingham Alabama). In both conversations, both of these good men have talked about the purpose and usefulness of a blogs, especially in the days to come. One last comment propelled me towards this decision.  Mark, took a moment and said, man bottom line, if no one ever read it again, i would its good for my soul.

So I am challenged.  Challenged to consider what it looks like in my life to add another discipline to my pursuit of Jesus.  Like blogging, journaling has never been one of the disciplines that i have found very consistant in my life.  It has never been the lack of desire, more the lack of good penmenship when it comes to journaling.  And who wants to write a journal to read and reflect on later, that they can't even read themself.  However, blogging brings new possiblities to this action, and i am for things that are good for my soul.

So i will begin today.  My first gut is to really tackle why calling it Vision Passion Faithfulness.  However, i believe that subject will be better explained a little later in my blogging career. Never the less there is a rythem to my madness, so i will share eventually.

Today i have the privlidge of listening to a Catalyst podcast previously mentioned on my drive to Huntsville, AL.  Included in it was references to a couple of books that i plan to add to my list to pick up off amazon in the future.  The first is a book by Mark, also previously mentioned.  It is called "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" - taken from the passage in 2 Samuel 23 : 20.  The basic premise is that at the end of our lives it will not be the things that we tried and failed that we will regret.  But instead the things that we never tried at all, most often because of fear of possible failure.  I am moved by Mark's consideration of this thought, especially with all of the circumstances that our family faces right now.

The second book is called the Fred Factor, by Mark Sanborn.  Now i must warn you i know nothing about Mark, only that this book has sold more than a million copies world wide.  So it is at least worth consideration for my bookshelf and possible reading list.  Admittedly, i am a Catalyst fan (first and foremost of Chad Johnson) so i take many items they suggest for granted that they will be incredible.

Just to touch on Podcasts right now, on the regular i am devouring Francis Chan's Stuff from his church, Catalyst, Rob Bell from Mars Hill Grand Rapids MI (Not Seattle... sorry that's an inside joke for Brad and John should they ever read), and an obscure one called The God Journey, by Brad and Wayne.  I am plans to add a few more Bill Johnson out of the west coast peaks my interest, and if SLOWBURN Nashville ever gets theirs up and running, i plan to add that as well.

My next discussion today, surrounded a man name Jeff McGurkin.  Jeff is the executive pastor at Valleydale Church in Birmingham, AL.  They are in search of a Senior High pastor to join their staff, and so after a short phone and email discussion, Jeff and I decided to have lunch at the halfway point in Huntsville.  Jeff has been in ministry for over 30 years.  Serving with a few mutual buddies of mine in the First Priority world.  He gave mad love to Chris Lane, the exec director of FP in Miami FL.  In our conversation Jeff impressed me, he was kind, genuine, authentic, seemed to really love the opportunities lying ahead with Valleydale and the struggles that would come with its new leg of the journey.  We talked alot about my background, both in life and ministry.  It was a really healthy conversation for me to consider ALL that God has done in strategically maneuvering me along His path throughout my life.  It also reminded me how much i love the possibility of serving a local church again.  Its funny, heading farther south was never on Jess and my radar, however going where Jesus has called us to is.  Our heart's content, "Here i am Lord send me" so we will see.

Anther point of conversation to day was with my Iron Group buddy, Doug.  Doug serves the youth division of the Assembly Churches in OK.  He is a good man, still trying to get into the rhythm of his new gig.  Doug and I had a great time sharing and praying for one another while we both were on drives.  We discussed one major thought, and that was as a minister of the gospel, "I have chosen not to major on the minors".  Bottom line being that i will not be split from my brothers and sisters in Christ over issues like, the use of tongues, the terms three persons, predestination or not, etc. At first look this sounds like a theological excuse.  And it has caused some self examination for how clearly i see what i believe biblically.  At the same time it also is a freeing belief that allows me to keep my heart, mind, soul, and strength focused on the main thing.  That is to love my Jesus with all of that, which causes a natural flow of loving my neighbor the same.  For Doug and I, the realization that the church has come light years on this subject brought much life in each of us.  In John 17:20+, it states that it is by our unity, my opinion majoring on the majors, that will cause the world to know us?  To me the minors cause splitting, which begins to look alot like religion.  Of which admittedly i run from.  So many more details and thoughts on that subject, but i will digress from there for now.

The day came to a close, i had the good fortune of running into a couple of young men who i have had the pleasure of ministering beside it the past.  First was Los (Carlos) whom is so in love with the Lord that he challenges me in my walk everyday.  Los will graduate from ministry school on the 21st of May.  If he only knew how proud i was of the man he is being molded into. The next was my buddy Jeremy.  He is a youth minister at Christ Church in Nashville.  He was in YP mode big time getting ready for a cool night of celebration with students and families concerning their latest grads from the purity classes offered there.  Its funny Jeremy has been with me since he was 17, and now he is 28 i think, its been fun to watch him grow into a man all these years.  Next i spent some time with my replacement at CC (twice over as a matter a fact) Michael Alfred.  Michael is the truly of a man of Character.  The kind of guy that a rattle snake would bite, and would blame himself for walking in his territory.  You know the type.  Loves God, Loves his wife and family, Loves the world.  He does not know it but i am a big fan, and miss our days of working together.  Finally, i got to spend a few moments with Sara Johnson.  Sara is piratically Jess and my daughter, however now she is an adult and too old to be my child :<)  I got caught up on her world as she drove me home from pee wee soccer practice, and asked her to consider a few ministry school options that i have relationship with for the year to come.  Only time will tell what God is going to do with that child, but i will enjoy watching her journey, as Jess and I pray for her.

Finally, let me take a moment to ask you to pray for my little man Justus.  A few days ago he fell while playing around and hit his mouth pretty good.  Yesterday we noticed that it was bruised and his tooth very loose.  The dentist has said he must have it out.  However, i believe i heard the Lord today clearly. So i called Jess and told her don't let them take it out yet, i need some time with him praying for its healing.  So tonite Justus and i prayed, my hand on his little mouth, he laughed all the way through, said my hand was tickling his face.  But he and i believe that God can heal this tooth, the root, and all that surrounds it.  I hope you will believe that with us.  We'll watch God and go see the dentist again on Thursday to make a final decision.

Thanks for reading, even if i am the only one.... HA!