Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

I'm back in the saddle again (so to speak)as far as teaching and blogging on occasions. I want to thank all of my readers for their prayers and support. You have been a true blessing and encouragement to my family as I face these trying times. We are leaning on God and thankful for the outstanding doctors taking care of me. I want to thank all of you for your patience and prayers over the next couple of months.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we placed membership at Kerrville Church of Christ. We have been blessed by the prayers, encouragement, and worship experiences that the elders and ministry staff have demonstrated to our family.

Tonight, I am filling in for Dr. Cummings. I will be teaching on Mark 12:41-43 about the woman who gave her all (also known as the woman with the 2 Minas). It is a lesson which many think of as a parable, but rather than being taught in Jesus' voice, we see a situation through his eyes.

Mark starts this passage by explaining that Jesus and his disciples were at the temple. Jesus watches from a distance, those who were giving money to God. As he observes the givers, a woman stands out to Jesus.
She is a poor widow who gives two silver coins. As Jesus looks at the what is going on, he calls his disciples together and gives them an object lesson. Jesus stresses that these rich people are giving out of what they have, but the poor widow gives her all. The points of discussion for this post and class tonight are:

In what ways did Jesus teach?
What does Jesus see in the story?
How does his view differ from ours?
What is the world's view of giving
What is the church's view of giving?
How should our view be as believers?
In what ways do we give God our all? Are there other ways than monetary giving?
How does Jesus sees us through his eyes?
If Jesus was speaking about us, what would our story be?
What des "real giving" feel like and look like?
What do you think?

Share your thoughts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Am In Need Of More Prayers

I believe strongly in the power of prayer. I am requesting you to pray for me. If you would like to add me to your churches prayer list, I would appreciate that as well.

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with GBS (Guillain-Barre' Syndrome) 2 and a half years ago and have been trying to recover from it ever since. I struggle with constant pain every day.

The neuropathy is getting worse. I swell up in my legs and feet at night. As you may remember, in June, I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus. I also suffer with chronic migraines about 15 or so days out of most months.

This past week I start thowing up blood, so I am scheduled for an EGD on Monday. I had an appointment with my neurologist yesterday where I told him about how my migraines have moved from the front my head to the back of my head. I mentioned that I have been having memory loss as well as time lapses. I have gone to bed with a migraine and woke up four days later still thinking it was the next day. I have been experiencing blackouts and slurred speech. Simple tasks of such as writting checks are hard to do and other symptoms are occuring.

The neurologist did test in his office were he determined that there was something going on with my brain. He thought there might be a protien build up in my spine and brain. He believes that I have fluild pressing on my brain, so I will be doing a series of tests. The first test will be an MRI of my brain, an EEG done at the office and a 72 hour EEG done at home. I may have a spinal tap done in the office after the EEGs have been done as well.

I know that God is good and always provides.

I am asking for your prayers, encouragment and understanding during during this the next two months. If you would like to leave a word of encouragement or prayer you are welcome to do so.
I love and apprecaite all of your thoughts and comments on this blog. You do help bring some joy to my life.

If you could also leave a word and prayer for my wife she is such a support and stroghold in my life. She needs prayers as she works and takes care of the boys and me over the next several months.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Importance of Family Friendly Churches in the 21st Century

I am currently taking a sabbatical from ministry to work on writing a book and getting my health back to normal.

It is wonderful living in Kerrville. The last few months we have been checking out different churches to see what would benefit our family and needs. A couple of Sundays ago we went to one church where they had power point for their announcements and information for visitors as well. When we came in they gave us a copy of a program that explain what their church was about. In both the power point and information pack kept stressing to keep your children quiet during church and if you had to take out a crying baby or child that they could still hear it in their foyer - stressing that they didn't want children to go to the bathroom during worship.

Well our youngest son Quinn is potty training and when he needs to go, he needs to go. Our middle son Collin misbehaves sometimes where we have to take him out and he cries. Ethan our oldest that morning had stomach problems and he had to get up.

We of course left disappointed and mentioned how the church as not family friendly at all and that our boys needed a church and believers that would appreciate them, love them, and help them grow in the knowledge and grace of God.

This past Sunday we placed our membership at the Kerrville Church of Christ. It has many young families including classes and ministries for the children. Dr. Greg Cummings is the minister at the church. He does a fantastic job keeping the audience's attention and makes the word of God come to life in an applicable way.

It is a grace oriented church that loves and cares for those who attend, including the children. One of the things we enjoy is that they invite the children to come forward and one of the elders of the church gives them a short message and prays over them. Children's church follows immediately after the blessing. Children's church allows the younger kids to learn on their appropriate age levels and gives the parents the opportunity to sit and get fed by the sermons.

The Medina Children's home (children, house parents , single mother cottages and all the other staff) have also placed membership over the past month. The church has been experiencing baptisms weekly. It is wonderful to see such growth happening at this congregation. It is alive and viberant as God continues to bless it. It is a great place for us to develop relationships and grow in faith. It is wonderful getting fed for a while, yet they equip members for service by using their gifts and talents. We are excited to be a part of this body of Christ and getting involved in community groups.

So the questions I want to ask and discuss are as follows: Do you think it is important for a church to be family friendly? Why or why not? What happens to churches who are not family friendly? What happens to churches that are family friendly? Is your church family friendly? If so, what kind of growth have you seen in your church? Is it possible for a non-family friendly church to become a family friendly church? If so, how? What steps and attitudes should churches take to be more family friendly? Do you see the church of the 21st century becoming more family friendly? Are you at a family friendly church? How has being in a family friendly church helped you?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.