Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Statement Bothered Me

A fellow Christian leader said something very like this, "I don't know anyone who got into heaven because of what they did, or anyone who didn't get into heaven because of what they did."

That is a paraphrase, but it is pretty close. Before I comment on it, I am wondering if those few people who read my blog might weigh in with their thoughts. There is something about this statement that seems wrong to me, but I would very much like other people's thoughts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Update on Knee

It took a while, but my knee unlocked. It took most of the night, but thankfully I could more or less sleep as long as I did not move. If I moved in my sleep I would wake up because the knee would hurt for a moment, but then I could generally get back to sleep. I woke up about 5AM of so, and shortly after that it completely unlocked.

Now it feels sort of weak and wobbly, but not really sore. That is about what I expected, and with a little care it should be back to normal in a day or so.

I am a little tired, but generally feel pretty good. I may need a nap this afternoon when our boy naps, as when he is awake he makes altogether too much noise.

Thank-you for your prayers.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Knee Problems

Today my knee decided that it should cause me some problems. I 1997 I had a torn meniscus repaired. Until recently it had caused me no problems. Then about a year back it started to cause me the same problems again. The torn piece of meniscus, because I have most certainly torn it again, will flip up and lock my knee. This is fairly painful, and means my knee cannot be extended all the way without pain or bare weight. I can force it to flip back, but that hurts and causes more damage. The best course is wait it out which takes several hours, but as long as I don't move a lot, is pretty painless. Pray that my knee will unlock please as once it does the pain will be gone.

Friday, August 17, 2007

This Made Me Laugh, And Laugh, And Laugh . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Template Fixed

After a fair amount of time working through my template xml file, comparing it to the one I used in the first place, and making changes that did not fix the problem, I gave up and just put in the template again. That meant losing a bunch of my widgets and having to re-install them, but I think I have most everything back where I want it. I will probably have to do some more fine tuning, but over all it is looking basically the way I want it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Template Is No Longer Working

I just noticed that my template is no longer working. Since I put the three column template in so long ago, I can't really remember how to do it any longer. I will have to do some research and see what I can find out.

Apparently it is working again. No idea what is up with that, but I will have to look into it when I have the time.

Kidney Stone Has Passed!!

Today, just a few minutes ago, this kidney stone passed. While the pain it causes when between the kidney and the bladder is the worst pain I have ever felt, it is no picnic when it goes from the bladder out of the body either. It had been moving down that passage since yesterday late in the afternoon. The caused me to feel and urgency to go and thus I kept waking up every few hours last night. Thankfully, that is now over, and things can heal. Next time I go in to my doctor, I will bring the stone so they can send it out to be tested for composition. Hopefully, this will be the last time for this. Thank-you to everyone who prayed for me during this time. I am thankful that God did not have me go through the discomfort of having to have the stone blasted again. The last time I had that done, and it was almost as bad as the kidney stone for the next week and a half.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Looking To A Better Country

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 11:13-16 (ESV)
One of the things that I know I struggle with, and which it seems many followers of Christ struggle with, is that our affection are much too set on this world. With that in mind these verses caught my attention. They are found in a section of Hebrews that speaks of the faith that exemplified the saints of the past--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to name a few. The aspect of faith that is examined there is that it looks forward to something that has not yet been received.

Here we read that these people "died in faith." They knew the promise given them. They trusted that it would be fulfilled eventually. They trusted that God would be true to his word. Yet, they did not receive the things promised before they died.

What grabbed my attention was the other phrase used to describe them, "and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." Part of their dying in faith was not only that they saw the promises from afar even though they did not receive them, but that they realized something far greater, that is, that they and the promises they received and looked toward are not part of the current pattern of this earth. Instead, in faith, they realized that while here they were strangers and exiles. They did not fit with all that was around them because they were looking for something more. They realized that they were strangers and exiles while on this earth.

I think that caught my attention because what I see so often in myself and others around me is the exact opposite. We are obsessed with this earth and the things that are part of it to the point that it is difficult to imagine that we are strangers and exiles. Our hopes so easily become petty things of this earth. What we want to see happen are focused on the hear and now. There is little sense of looking for something more.

But, when one starts to really see themselves as a stranger and exile on the earth because of Jesus Christ, then what the middle part of these verses teach becomes true, "For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one." When we start to realize that the promises we have is far beyond anything this world could ever offer, and we realize that we no longer fit with this world, then it becomes clear that we are looking not for what the world can give, but for what only God can give. We are looking for something better that can only come by God's working. We are looking for a time and place when God will manifest himself in such a way that everything will be transformed completely because of his presence there. Is that not the hope found in places like Revelation 21 were we read,
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He
will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the
former things have passed away.”
Sadly, our hopes are often all too small because we are much to connected and at home in this earth. There is often little or no sense that we are looking for a homeland that is buile by God, because we are to at home in this world that is in rebellion against God.

The final verse calls for you and I to reconsider this comfort on the earth. We read that those who acknowledge they are strangers and exile on the earth, those who make it clear they are looking for a better place from God that is heavenly not earthly, are the sort of people that God is not ashamed to be called their God. If God is not ashamed to be called the God of those who are looking for the city that God has prepared for them, what of you and I who so often are not looking for that city, that country prepared for us by God?

This is a call to realize that true faith makes you a person who is no longer part of this earth. Yes, you live here. Yes, striving for good, peace and the like here is not a bad thing, except when it makes you or I forget that we are strangers and exiles on the earth. May God give us faith that realizes that, faith that lives in such a way that looks to the better country, the city God has prepared for us, where he will dwell with his people forever.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Kidney Stone, Still Not Passed

I wanted to give another quick update on how things are going with my kidney stone. It still has not passed. Today I am fairly pain free, at least so far. Yesterday, Sunday, was the exact opposite. I could not get to sleep Saturday night because of the pain, and by 1:30AM Sunday I was in the ER at the local hospital because the pain was overwhelming. They gave pain medication and that worked, and I remained in the hospital until 7AM.

Due to that, I was unable to preach the AM service, but told the Elder from our congregation that I might be able to do the PM service if I remained pain free, but as the medications from the hospital wore off, the pain returned. The Tylenol 3 tablets kept it bearable, but I was pretty much out of it all day. Thankfully, a retired minister who is part of our congregation offered to do the evening service so that was a great weight off my mind.

The ironic part of all of this was that both the morning and evening sermons I planned to preach dealt with suffering. The AM sermon was to be on 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and the evening sermon on 1 Peter 4:12-19.

As I mentioned, today has been pretty pain free up to this point, but I still feel twinges, and my past experience tells me that another attack can come with no warning.

The biggest negative of all of this is that the meds and the fatigue make it difficult for me to process things mentally.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Friend With The Lord

I just found out today that a person I count as a friend who has been battling leukemia and seemed to be getting over it, died on August 4th. Rev. F. Scott Petersen, pastor of Fairfield Reformed Church, blogger at Ars Theologica went to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I only met Scott once in person at the Banner of Truth conference, but we communicated via e-mail and comments in one another's blogs. He was a strong voice against the slide in the RCA into a liberal wasteland, and a committed follower of Christ. The RCA is less without him.

Keep his family and Fairfield Reformed Church in your prayers as they go through this trying time. May the truth of these words of Christ sink in and strengthen them in this time,

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.

Service will be held at Fairfield Reformed Church, 360 Fairfield Rd., Fairfield, NJ 07004 on Tuesday the 7th at 11AM. In lieu of flowers, financial donations may be sent to the church for the family to help pay for Scott's medical bills.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Update on Kidney stones

For those who may be interested here is an update on my kidney stone. So far it still has not passed. It causes me discomfort from time to time, but with the pain killers that the doctor prescribed I can keep ahead of the pain. On the negative side the Tylenol 3's are making me rather unfocused mentally which they normally don't do, but that may be a result of my not getting a good nights rest for three nights in a row. I slept well last night, and DV I will sleep well again tonight.

I would appreciate prayers that God will give me a clear enough mind to get my sermons done for Sunday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Caring For Pastor's Wife

JT over at Between two Worlds pointed his reader to a post dealing with how a congregation should care for their pastor's wife.

The original post is over here.

As a pastor whose wife has received the brunt of various criticisms I am very aware of the burden she has. I am also aware that people seem to think that complaints, gossip, and outright attacks on her or me in her presence are acceptable, when they would never say those things to my face.

I recommend reading the post. It has some great suggestions on how to care for a pastor's wife.

Money Challenge

I saw this over at Random Responses
and found it hits the nail of the head, so to speak. It is very convicting.

"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."
Matthew 6:19-21

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kidney Stone

Yesterday we officially returned from vacation. It was a good vacation, and while I would have liked another week, I felt rested.

However, that rested state was not to last. On Monday afternoon I had some minor side pain that reminded me of when I had kidney stones, but it was not intense and I had been busy doing various things so I figured maybe a muscle got a little strained.

I felt fine all day Tuesday, but after going to bed and having a hard time sleeping due to the heat, I woke up at 2-2:30AM with much more intense pain in my side. It still didn't come close to when I last had a kidney stone, but as time passed it got worse. Sure enough, when I went to the local ER, I have a kidney stone. Thankfully the medication worked great, so I didn't even need to take any morphine. Regardless, I got very little sleep, and there is still a twinge in my side that tells me the stone has not yet passed.

If this follows the pattern I experienced last time, as long as the stone is still in there, I will have intermittent attacks. Overall, I got about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours of sleep last night, and I feel very tired. Hopefully the meds will keep ahead of the pain, and that they will aid in the passing of the stone.