Monday, January 30, 2006

Update on Father in Law

The latest news on my father in law is quite good. The doctors are very happy with how the blood thinners are working on the clots, and how well my father in law is handling it. His surgeon came to seem him at last, and has scheduled him for the completion of the repair of his hip replacement on the 27th of February. Now that we have a date, he has something to work toward. They are intending to keep him on heparin until that time because they can take him off of it the evening before the operation, and put him back onto it almost right after the operation, which should help prevent any further clotting. Because it is still almost a month until the surgery, they will be moving him back to the Palmerston hospital either today or tomorrow so he will be closer to home.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Banner of Truth Pastors Conference

One of the things I wish I had discovered early on in my time as a pastor is the Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference. I started attending three years ago, and it has done more to strengthen me as a minister of the Word than anything else I have done. The first year I attended, when I returned one of my Elders said I should go to this sort of conference more often. Then realizing what he said, he clarified that he finds my preaching good, but it was even better after I returned from the conference. I encourage all pastors and elders who can go to attend. You will leave with a greater sense of how awesome our God is, and will be encouraged to preach the word in season and out of season. The scheduled speakers this year are Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, Philip Ryken, Ian Hamilton, Mark Johnston, and Matt Kingswood. If you want more information have a look at The Banner of Truth. At this point they have not posted the topics or registration information, but that should be posted soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Who's body is it anyway

I listened to this sermon over at a fellow RCA minister's blog. It was a good reminder of whom our bodies really belong.

What a thought

The following was part of my morning Bible reading today. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:13-16 What a thought, God could have destroyed Pharaoh and his people in such a way that they would have been completely destroyed, but he allowed them to continue in life. Even more, he allowed them to continue to fight and rebel against Him. This was not a sign of God's weakness, but rather of His overarching control of all things. For, he would turn that resistance to praise of His name, to show that God is great. Today as I consider how our culture is rebelling against God in more and more blatant ways, and even among those who go by the name of the Christian, knowing rebellion against the plain Word of God is seemingly growing. Sometimes I wonder why God allows this, and here is the answer, "to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth." What a comfort in the battle for the hearts and minds of people. God will use even the rebellion of people and nations and churches to bring glory to His name. God will be glorified in the salvation of his elect, and in the just punishment of sinners.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Update on Father in law

After it seemed like things were getting better, things have gotten worse again. The doctors were sure that the clots in his leg and lungs had stabilized, so they moved him back to Palmerston hospital to get back into his physiotherapy. However, not more than a day back in Palmerston, a clot moved into his lungs again causing another blockage. He was rushed to St. Marys Hospital in Kitchener where they have him back on heparin and will do some more tests today. To make matters even more problematic, there is a rattle in his breathing which may indicated pneumonia. Currently he is on an antibiotic to deal with pneumonia and has slightly labored breathing on 70% Oxygen. Dad is starting to despair that he will recover from this, and both he and mom are getting very tired. Please continue to pray for both of them?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Making the church attractive to the world

As I was reading a blog entry here I was struck by the statement about making the church attractive to the man outside. I have heard this statement again and again in present times. In fact this seems to be the mantra of those who teach on how the church is to grow. However, as I read that comment in relation to the discussion on the beatitudes, it hit me, why do we even think this way? Jesus taught us, "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:20) By its very nature, the church is different from and unacceptable to a world under sin. The constant testimony of the Scriptures is that those who follow Jesus will be rejects, outcast, and persecuted. As Christians who take the Word of God seriously, as not just some human opinion, but as the very word of God written, we must realize that by its very nature the Church is not attractive to the world. To make it attractive to the world is not merely a matter of changing what we do, but would require either downplaying or changing of the message we are charged to proclaim. This still begs ths question, "Why do we seem to think we need to make the church attractive to the world?" There are several possible answers I can see. We could want to do this because we want people to come to embrace Christ in a true and living faith as their Lord and Saviour. This is an a very proper goal. We are called to be salt and light in this world of decay and darkness. Yet, just before that teaching by Jesus he pronounced a blessing on those who are persecuted saying, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12) So it seems that proclaiming Christ to people is not a matter of making the Church attractive, but proclaiming Christ even if that means we are rejected by many. The other reason that came to my mind why we may have the seemingly overwhelming desire to make the church attractive to the world is related to the above one. We want to win people to Christ, but we realize how attractive the world is to us in comparison to the church, and want to compete with it. The problem with this is that behind it lies something very troubling. The fact that we find the world so very attractive. In essence what we are saying is, "Yes, the world is great and fun and satisfying, but here we can make the church like that too." I say this is troubling because behind it lies not a full orbed satisfaction in Christ, but a seeming dissatisfaction with Christ, as if coming to him is not truly satisfying, but only coming to him along with all the fun of the world. Now I want to be careful here, because I do realize that often what we do as the church is not what it should be. We often have practices and traditions that are not commanded by scripture which may be what makes a particular congregation unattractive to a person. I am not by this saying that one type of song is better than another, be it traditional or contemporary. Nor am I commenting on musical instruments should be used in worship. Rather, I am trying to say that we need to realize that we do not attract people to Christ or the Church by making it attractive, but rather by proclaiming Christ in all his glory and worshiping him, whatever our worship style, with all our heart. These thoughts are just in their formative point, but where they are going is troubling.

Monday, January 16, 2006

First time changing oil

Today was a first for me, I changed the oil in my wife's Mazda Protege. I know, big strong, manly man that I am, I should have done something like that log ago, I never have. I have replaced the exhaust system on the '78 Trans Am I used to have, done tune-ups, fixed body work, and a whole host of other things, but never did an oil change. Well, today all that changed. Amazingly enough it went forward without a hitch (at least so far) and there is not oil spewing all over. For the small bit of work it took to do this, I finished an oil change with a good quality oil and a Fram oil filter for $13. I wonder why I didn't do this long ago. Now if I could only find the grease points on her car I could use my new grease gun and give them a shot of grease as well. That will have to wait for the next time I am under there.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Joys of Parenthood

Ok, this isn't really about the joys of parenthood, although there are plenty of them. Rather it was a rather tongue in cheek way of saying that often children can make life rather trying :) Our boy Justin, after sleeping well for three nights, decided that Saturday night was a good time to wake up at 2:30 and cry for an hour or so. I am the sort of person who does not handle being woken up in the middle of my sleep very well. I never seem to get back to sleep the way I need to so I can be rested the next day. So today I get to do my preaching, leading in worship, and teaching with a wonderful headache, all because I didn't get the sleep I needed last night :) Oh the wonders of having a baby in the house. At least this time he didn't scratch my cornea :D On the positive side, Justin is not usually this way. Generally he is a happy baby who may not sleep through the whole night, but who doesn't spend an hour complaining because we can't figure out what is going on with him. I think of all of us, he is the only one who slept enough to be full of energy today.

January 14th Update on Father In law

I received an update from my brother in law this morning. Bill is struggling with being in hospital. He is also struggling with an intestinal issue which made him a bit weak and tired. He has problems sleeping at night, and then has a hard time staying awake all day. The medications he is on are also affecting his mental state, making it hard for him to be alert and causing some hallucinations. A new doctor has been assigned to him for what will probably be the rest of his stay in Kitchener. The blood clots are very probably stable enough to be of no concern at this point. That means that physiotherapy can start with few worries about the clot letting loose. The blood thinners he is on, have his blood to a thin count of 1.7, the target being nicely over 2, normal being at 1, so things are going well that way. His hemoglobin count is at the bottom of normal (121, where normal is 120-160), which means he can probably stop taking the iron pills, which will help some of his stomach issue's. They will be looking into seeing if there is anything they can do about the medications affecting his mental state. As to his being in the hospital for 3 months, if he demonstrates the ability to safely move around on his own, it will be no problem for him to get out of the hospital for at least day trips.

Friday, January 13, 2006

January 12 Update on father in law

Today we went to visit Annette's father. He looked much better than he did when we saw him a week earlier. He no longer is on the Oxygen, and his breathing is pretty good. He has a cough which he picked up in the hospital before he got the clot in his lungs, but other than that he sounds good. His blood Oxygen level was 95% which is better than it was a week ago with the mask on and a high level of O2. All in all it looks like the clot is probably clearing and his lung function is improving. He will probably be transfered back to Palmerston Hospital next week. On the negative side, he has been told that he will have to remain in hospital for the next 3 months until they do the second part of his surgery. Bill is not very happy about this. Yet today we heard that if his mobility improves he may be able to go home for several hours some days, which is better than being trapped in the hospital for 3 months. He also finds sleeping very difficult even on the air mattress they have him on right now, and is still very uncomfortable. It seems that the worst with the clot is passed, which is a great answer to prayer, but if you could continue to pray that the healing will progress well it would be very much appreciated. Also, pray that he will be able to get out of the hospital soon, even if it is just for a few hours, while he waits for the second half of his surgery.

Monday, January 09, 2006

January 8th update on Father In Law

Not a whole lot of news today, which is not a surprise since it is the weekend. Dad was apparently failry uncomfortable today when he was being visited. He has been moved to another room. I'm not sure if that is a reflecton of his improved medical condition, or if it was simply to provide a better bed for him. Hopefully we will receive more detailed news as the week progresses. We still ask your prayers that things will progress well, and the clots will clear.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Father-in-law progressing in recovery

Today we heard that Bill is doing slightly better than when we saw him. His blood oxygen level is still good, and has improved enough that they could take the oxygen mask off and only use the tube on his nose. He still breaths a little more rapidly than normal, but he is not gasping for air. He remains very tired, and the hospital is going to put a special bed in to try to help him get more comfortable so he can sleep. Items for prayer: 1) That the heparin will work to dissolve the clots 2) That Bill will be able to sleep so he can regain some of his strength 3) That when they start to introduce warfarin into his system, that he will not have any adverse reaction. 4) That the doctors will have wisdom in dealing with his condition.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Update on my father in law

"We went to see my father in law today. He seems to be doing a little better, and his breathing is not labored any longer. They did a bunch of tests today to confirm that he has a blood clot in his lungs and still has one in his leg as well. The doctor came while we were visiting and confirmed that he has a pulmonary embolism which it affecting his left lung and partially affecting his right lung. His blood oxygen level is above 90% which is good, although he still needs to be on oxygen. The doctor stated that the first 72 hours are the most dangerous, so each day he stays alive should improve his situation. He is on heparin and they are going to try to get him on warfarin although he had some problems with warfarin six years ago. He still tires out very quickly. The expectation is that it will take at least 2 weeks for the clots to re-absorb, and it will be at least 6 weeks until he will be able to have the hip repair surgery completed. Reading about pulmonary embolisms shows that they are very common and very dangerous. In the US 600000 people per year will have them and of that group 100000 will die. However, those who die usually die in the first 30 to 60 minutes. That means each day improves the prognosis. Please keep lifting Bill up in your prayers as well as his wife Wilma and their family. This is a very trying time for all of us."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Prayers requested

I am not really sure how many people read this blog, but if you read it and believe in Jesus Christ, please pray for my wife's father. He is in hospital with a blood clot in his lungs. This all started a little more than 3 weeks back when he went in to have a hip replacement that was loose and infected fixed. Since the surgery he has been in hospital. Yesterday he was doing very well, feeling good, and progressing well with his rehabilitation, then today this clot happened and he had to be moved to another hospital. We don't have much details beyond him having the clot and being quite ill. My mother-in-law is very concerned. Please pray the God's glory will be seen in this as he sustains them and us through it. Also, please pray that if it is God's will, that he will bring healing. Thank-you.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Still Amazed

Once again I was amazed at how fast our son is growing. It seems that almost daily he develops some way. Yesterday he would only scoot around the floor pulling himself with his hands. Today he is using his feet to push while pulling with his hands. Annette told me that he can even stand in the bath-tub when there is no water in it. To top this off he is starting to show some problem solving attempts. Annette blocked off his access to the dog bed Riley sleeps on to keep Justin from doing his favorite thing, crawling up and grabbing Riley's paws. When Justin encountered this barricade, he tried to figure out a way around or over. He even started to try to crawl around it. Two days ago he wouldn't have done that. As I said, it is amazing how quick he develops.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Early Morning thoughts

One of the strange things that has happened to me since the birth of Justin is that the time I wake up in the morning has moved much earlier. I say this is strange because with Annette nursing him, I don't have to get up early since I cannot feed him. Yet, I still find that I am regularly up at 6am. For me this is weird because I still have difficulty getting to sleep before 11:30pm. Needless to say this has left me rather tired. Over the past couple of days I have been ill as well with aches and pains, a sore throat, and headache. Thankfully, the worst of it was on Monday, and since then I have been feeling better each day, although I am not over it yet. I can still feel it there in the background although fading.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

RSS feeds

Over the past couple of days I have discovered the joy of RSS feeds. If you don't know what an RSS feed is you can look here RSS Links What I have done using them is added my most recent blog entry to my personal web-page as well as adding a page to my web page that gathers together the RSS feeds from various blogs that I read frequently. Sadly, not all of the blogs I read have RSS feeds, or if they do, they don't make it know what the address for the feed is. So I encourage all those who have blogs to set up an RSS feed. If you are with livejournal you already have one. If you are a paying user of blogspot you can set one up in your blog settings, but if you are not a paying member, you can use to get a free RSS feed for your blogspot blog.

Dark, cloudy day

Today is yet another dark and dull day weather wise. None of us got much sleep last night. I could not seem to sleep more than an hour before waking up feeling uncomfortable. Whatever bug had gotten in my system leaving me feeling physically miserable all Monday is still active. Annette was woken up by Justin almost as frequently. In fact Justin is the only one who seems to have lots of energy is Justin. Oh to be a baby again.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years

As is our practice, we both ended the old year and started the new year in worship with our church family. What stood out to me this year was that we worshiped together with the local Christian Reformed Church this New Years day at an evening service. What I found amazing what how the message preached by the pastor of the CRC fit so well with the morning message that I preached at our New Years Day service. Both were calls for us to live as God has called us to live. My focus was on Paul's words in Philippians 2:5, "Have this mind in you, which is yours in Christ Jesus." I pointed out that those who believe in Christ are to be transformed by that, so that they have a view of the world and their lives that is in keeping with Christ following the pattern he gave of humility, obedience, and love for the glory of God. The evening service focused of how we are to live as the family of believers, bearing each others burdens and gently restoring one another when we sin. My prayer is that we will see this sort of world view fill our congregation, and my own life.