The Front Porch

 

andy griffith front porch    I don’t mean to sound like my dad, but…back in MY day…there seemed to be more pride for a job well done. That pride seemed to translate, in part,  to what we all know as Customer Service. If you walked into a business, you were greeted, you were welcomed, you were appreciated. And although pragmatism would dictate that you were treated that way because you were the customer and you helped pay their salaries, I always felt it was more than that.  It felt more like people actually…CARED…about each other, a sentiment that seems in short supply these days. And one place that really seems to SCREAM that lack of caring is in the marketplace. I am saddened  and somewhat appalled by how BAD customer service has become!
     One, some years back, my family went to an area pizza place for dinner (our older son was home from college and specifically picked the place). We walked in AT 5PM on a FRIDAY night (the beginning of prime time for restaurants), and there was NOBODY there! (That should have been the BIG tip off, but again, I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed!) We walked to the counter to place our order, and found NO employees, either! We stood for a few minutes, partially deciding what to order and partially wondering where everyone was, until a lone employee came from the back. At last…service! But wait! He walked toward the counter, took a left turn, came around the counter out into the restaurant, walked RIGHT behind us, said NOT A WORD, and disappeared out the other side! We stood, stunned, until another employee stuck his head out of the office, saw us…and disappeared back into the office! At that point, we decided we should heed these blinking neon signs of bad customer service and go elsewhere. Pizza Hut was glad to see us, feed us, and take our money! Then, I went into a costume/magic shop looking for some things for a magic show I’m doing this weekend. I went to the part of the store that carries magic props, only to find it roped off with a “closed” sign dangling from the rope. I walked to the front counter (where I was the ONLY customer) and asked one of the THREE employees standing there why that area was closed. The reply? “We’re too busy to have that part opened during Halloween week!” (Apparently standing is a 3-person job!)

     What’s happened to hospitality? Caring? Kindness? I personally think it was killed by the demise of the front porch. Think about it- back in the day, folks sat on their front porches. As neighbors went by, they stopped and talked, developing deeper relationships in the process. Today, the alarm wakes us up and we hustle around, getting ready, barely even speaking to the people who actually live in our house. We walk into the garage, drive to work, and then, at the end of the day, we get in our cars, drive home, pull straight into our garage, and hunker down for the night. It’s perfect- we never have to actually SEE another living being! As a minister, I see so many people literally starving for relationship. Are YOU one of them? Here’s a thought- become part of a faith community. I happen to be United Methodist, but any denomination/tradition would do. When you become part of a group, you have a built-in way to foster and develop relationships. And what greater gift, in our current societal climate, could there be?
#TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Extravagant Generosity

Five Practices Logo Extravagant Generosity.png  When we first started in the ministry, we lived in a town that was about a 35-40-minute drive from the church. We commuted like that for a year and a half. Then we decided that we really needed to move to the town where the church was. However, I was only half-time while I was attending seminary. And because of that, it wasn’t the church’s responsibility to provide us with a parsonage- a house for the pastor and their family. So…where would we live? Then…a miraculous thing happened. There was a a small United Methodist congregation in the same town as my church who didn’t use their parsonage…and so…they offered it to my family…FREE! All we had to do was pay the utilities! So we got to live in a perfectly fine 3-bedroom house, IN the town where I was serving, free. And THAT, my friends, is the textbook definition of what we’re talking about today! 

     Today we wrap up our five-part series on Bishop Robert Schnase’s book, The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. The first week we looked at Radical Hospitality. The 2nd week we focused on Passionate Worship. Week 3, we talked about Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Last week, we considered Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Today, we wrap things up with a look at Extravagant Generosity. 

     So what IS extravagant generosity? Extravagant Generosity is abundant giving- which is as much about attitude as it is about amount, as much about quality as it is quantity. Extravagant Generosity is humble giving, the often anonymous gift of something valuable that makes a difference. Extravagant Generosity is a response to Jesus’ love…and it’s communicating that same love to those who need to feel it, sense it, experience it for themselves. 

     2 Corinthians 9:6-15– Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 

     Did you hear what the Scripture said? It said if you sow sparingly…you’ll reap sparingly. BUT…if you sow generously then you’ll reap generously. As you sow…so shall you reap. You get back what you put in. However you want to say it…we clearly have some input into the whole thing. We don’t have to be small-minded. We don’t have to live a life of spiritual scarcity. We’re God’s children. We are the people of God, for crying out loud! We’ve read the back of the book…we KNOW how it all turns out!! We’re can afford to be something the world thinks is crazy- generous…in our giving, our emotions and our gestures. We can show the generosity of love; we can live with open hands. Why? Because God’s generosity is the source of our generosity. And we don’t have to fearfully worry whether there’s enough. God gives Himself away extravagantly- and in doing that His love multiplies, because love is extravagant and generous-  like God. And a life penetrated by His love is nothing more and nothing less than beautiful. We’re always looking for the shortcut, the easy way, the bargain. Know what a bargain is?  A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. But when you look at the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and see that God’s extravagant generosity caused Him to lay down His life for us…can you think of a more fitting way to live your life than Extravagant Generosity?  

     Think of a person who has shown you Extravagant Generosity. It might be someone very close to you…or it might be someone you met once…and never saw again. They may have been extravagantly generous with their money, or their time, or their compassion, or their love. Think of the amazing impact they’ve had on your life. What legacy will we leave for our kids…and their kids…and their kids? When we practice extravagant generosity, our children and our children’s children might know the extravagant abundance and generosity that is God’s love as it manifests in the church. 

     Vibrant, fruitful, growing congregations practice Extravagant Generosity. These churches teach, preach, and practice proportional giving with a goal of tithing. They encourage their church members to grow in the grace of giving as an essential practice of Christian discipleship, and as a congregation they practice generosity by their extraordinary support for missions, connectional outreach ministries, and organizations that change people’s lives. They thrive under the joy of abundance rather than starve under the fear of scarcity. They give joyously, generously, and consistently in ways that enrich the souls of others and strengthen the ministries of the church. 

     Churches that practice Extravagant Generosity speak confidently and faithfully about money, giving, generosity, and the difference giving makes in the life of the church AND the life of the giver. They emphasize the Christian’s need to give for more reasons than just the church’s need for money. They emphasize mission, purpose, and life-changing results rather than shortages, budgets, and institutional loyalty. These churches view “giving beyond their walls” as indispensable to their Christian discipleship, mission and vitality. Churches that grow in giving know that generosity increases with participation in ministry and community, and so they work to deepen the core ministries of worship, small group learning, and mission. The spiritual maturity that comes from growing in extravagant giving brings clarity of purpose and greater integrity to all the church’s ministries. 

     Extravagant Generosity: the love of Jesus in us, moving us to give our lives—our time, our talent, an even our treasure to a mission. Many people spend most of their life losing their health to try and gain wealth, and then spend the end of their life losing their wealth trying to gain their health. Have we bought into the fear and paranoia of scarcity that the world wants us to cling to, or are we willing to engage in Extravagant Generosity?  

     So…five practices- Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. In the windup, they need to be embedded into the very fabric of our congregations. In the end, they work together to enhance the mission of the church. After all is said and done, they produce…and signify…fruitful congregations. 

Five Practices Logo Extravagant Generosity.png

What a Transition!

Hammock.pngWhen I announced, at the age of 35, that I was going into the ministry, my then 9-year old son said, “Awesome!” Thinking that he had some sort of theological epiphany, I encouraged him to say more about why he thought that would be awesome. His reply? “You only work ONE day a week!” Yep…that’s right! I only work for a few hours on Sunday morning and the rest of the week I watch soap operas and eat bon-bons with my feet up- what a life! Actually the ministry is few very ODD profession in many ways. I remember in my younger days swearing that I would NEVER have a job where I had to work a split shift. So what do I do? I have my mid-life crisis a bit early, quit my job, willingly go to seminary, spend three years as a full-time student, full time parent/husband, and nearly full-time pastor (almost killing myself in the process!), just so I can…wait for it…work split shifts! I spend mornings in the office, followed by afternoons either at home working on the computer or out making calls. THEN, I often go back to church at night for meetings, counseling, rehearsal, etc. Never work a split shift, huh? I have learned this- DON’T tell God what you’re NOT going to do…unless of course you REALLY want to end up doing it!

Does that ever happen to you? You start the day with the best laid plans, yet when your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, you realize that most of those plans still reside solely on your to-do list, unchecked and unfinished. When that happens, you have to evaluate WHY that’s the case. If they remain undone because you simply didn’t feel like it, that’s one things to consider. However, if they remain undone because other equally important things came up that required you attention…go with the flow. A plan is great, but if you’re not flexible, life is really hard! As I say in church (almost every Sunday), “The bulletin is JUST a suggestion!” This week, start each day with a plan- but be open to God nudging you in a different direction.
#TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

A GREAT Example of Servant Leadership

Servant-Leadership-Attributes-Word-Cloud-2     Here is yet another example of how the church we currently serve has a strong servant’s heart. A few days ago, I “cherry-picked” a Call-Em-All to about 8 guys who are all retired and all very active in the church, asking if any of them could give me a ride to, from or round trip going to the oncologist. The downside to agreeing to a round-trip was that it would require them to either wait at the Cancer Center or drop me off and kill time in in Iowa before picking me up again- roughly 2 hours PLUS the 90-minute drive time. 

     Within about 4 minutes of the Call-Em-All going out (NOT exaggerating), one of them responded and said he would be happy to do the round-trip! So, yesterday at about 8AM, he pulled up, I hopped in and off we went. We got there and he dropped me off, saying he was going to run some errands and come back. Awesome! 

     I went in and had my appointment with the oncologist. It went well. She was happy with my blood work and the physical exam and said I could have the treatment. So, they send you back to the lobby, you check back in for the infusion and you wait- anywhere from a few minutes to a half and a hour, depending on how you were scheduled that day. Then, they take you back and prepare you for the infusion. 

      This immunotherapy infusion is much shorter than the chemo one is. It went fine. And when it was done, I got unhooked and walked out, hopped in with my ride and headed home. We had great conversation on the way home and he dropped me off at the front door– curb-side serice! 

     After thanking him profusely, I started to get out and he stopped me…and thanked ME for the opportunity to help. He said it was a blessing to HIM! It doesn’t get much better than that and is SUCH an example of being a servant leader. And it’s just one example of many I could give you from this church. Can you possibly wonder why we love serving here?! 

     #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Another Health Update

health update     Today, I receive Immunotherapy Infusion #2. Just a reminder- this particular approach is one infusion every three weeks. I will go (someone from the church is driving me since my wife can’t currently drive) and meet with the oncologist, who will go over my lab work that was done yesterday. There will also be a physical exam. Then she will decide if I get the infusion or not.  

     Assuming I do, I will start that about 20 minutes or so after I meet with her. The actual infusion only takes about 30 minutes, but when you count getting everything ready and then taking everything off, the process lasted about an hour. Then, I will come back home! Then, I have the rest of the next 3 weeks to recover from that one before having the next. 

     When this part is done, we will evaluate how I have handled it and if it is helping. Then, we will decide how to move forward. I figure if the oncologist keeps saying, “this will take a month”, this will take 4 months”, whatever, she is just prolonging my life! 

     I will continue to keep you posted as to who I am doing!  

                #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

The Magic Table

table    Now that my wife has been home from the hospital for a week, now that both sons have come, helped a lot and have gone home my wife and I begin the process of establishing a new norm. As she recovers from a rather severe knee injury, we look for what we need to do to get both her AND me what we need. 

     One big piece of that is food. It’s something yo don’t think much about until it is ab issue. But food is very important in the day-to-day operation of a life! And, once again, the church we serve has come through big time! When I had the brain tumor back in 2014, they debuted “The Magic Food Table”. It sat on our front porch. Every day, a church member would drop off dinner for the day. And even though we KNEW they were coming, it seemed like magic- open the door and there was dinner! 

     It, of course, went away after I recovered. But it made its triumphant return last night. The congregation is back to bringing daily meals at dinnertime. We open the door…and there is food! And it is great! It’s amazing how good food can be when someone ELSE cooks it for you.  

 So, HUZZAH for the magic table and HUZZAH for the church members yjay are once again stepping up and helping us. We are GRATEFUL people.  

                #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

A Miraculous and Wondrous Thing

miracles_signs_wonders     An incredible thing happened at church yesterday! As you know, a week ago yesterday was NOT a good day. Even though I actually made it to the building, I hurt so bad that I had to go home, abandoning my staff to pick up the slack. Not position, and I breathe great day! Between then and yesterday, two things happened- I saw the neurologist and I taught myself a new coping skill. 

      The med the neurologist prescribed, although cumulative and very early in the administration, already seems to be helping, and the coping skill seems to be a good choice. And here is that coping skill. I get up about 30 minutes earlier than I need to get ready. I make coffee and then go into the living room and sit in my chair. By the time I sit down, I can feel the headache coming on. But I sit in exactly the correct position, with my head in exactify the correct position and breathe through my mouth a certain way. I take my glasses off, close my eyes and just—meditate and pray. It takes about 30 minutes, but slowly the eyes open back up, the glasses go back on and the symptoms subside. Those two things combined seem to have a positive impact on headaches for the day. 

      When I went to church yesterday, the headache symptoms were at a relative minimum. But when I got up to preach the first/early service, as I started talking, the headache started to build. That negatively impacts, as you might imagine, my ability to preach. So, I anticipated it was going to be a tough morning. 

     But then, an amazing thing happened. Instead of slowly going downhill and sapping my energy, the services, and God’s power started pushing me UPHILL! By the time the second service came, my drumming was the best, most energetic, it has been in weeks. The sermon was stronger. And by the time the third service started, I was feeling the best I had in weeks. I was energized. My preaching was strong. My voice was clear and strong. I felt so good coming OUT of worship yesterday that I stayed longer after church and chatted with more people. I got home about 12:20PM- probably 30 later than usual. I fixed lunch for the two of us. We talked for 45 or more straight minutes. And the I FINALLY laid down for a nap, so jazzed and energetic that it was tough to go to sleep! 

    I have not experienced anything like that since this whole cancer thing showed up. I claim it as a gift from God and I pray that it’s a sign of things to come! 

                 #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Risk-Taking Mission and Service

Five Practices Logo Risk Taking Mission and Service     The boss needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of  the main computers. He dialed the home phone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, “Hello?” Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a kid, the boss asked, “Is your Daddy home?” “Yes”, whispered the small voice. “May I talk with him?” the man asked. To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, “No.” Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, “Is your Mommy there?” “Yes”, came the answer. “May I talk with her?” Again the small voice whispered, “No”. Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. “Is there any one there besides you?” the boss asked the child. “Yes” whispered the child, “A policeman”. Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked “May I speak with the policeman”? “No, he’s busy”, whispered the child. “Busy doing what?, asked the boss. “Talking to Daddy and Mommy…and the Fireman”, came the whispered answer. Hearing a loud noise over the phone the boss asked, “What’s that?!” “A helicopter”, answered the whispering voice. “What’s going on there?”, asked the boss, now alarmed. In an awed, whispering voice the child answered, “The search team just landed the helicopter.” Alarmed, concerned and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, “Why are they there? What are they searching for? Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle: “Me!” 

      We’re in the 4th week of The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, based on the book by United Methodist Bishop Robert Schnase. The 1st week, we looked at Radical HospitalityThe 2nd week was Passionate Worship. Last week we looked at Intentional Faith Development. Today, our emphasis is on Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Risk-taking mission and service is an outward focus that changes the world and invigorates the church. Let’s see an example of it from: 

     Matthew 25:14-30- “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19″After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22″The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24″Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26″His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

This is a fairly familiar passage. Before the master leaves, he entrusts his servants with some of his money. Two of them put his money to work and double it, while the 3rd one buries the money in the ground, returning it safe and sound. It’s easy to think that the 3rd servant did pretty good…or at least OK. I mean, the master gave him 1 talent, and that’s exactly what he gave back to the master…1 talent. What’s wrong with that? We find the answer to that when we look at what the other two servants did. They could have easily followed suit and buried their talents. But instead, they chose to involve themselves in risk-taking behavior. They dare to step out in faith and put the master’s money to work, and the reward is that his resources are doubled! 

There’s a difference between doing things because they make us feel good and doing things because we exist to serve God and others. Almost all churches are involved in some kind of mission and service- the projects, efforts, and work people do to make a positive difference in the lives of others. But when you add “risk-taking”, it suddenly refers to extraordinary opportunities for life-changing engagement with other people with movement into greater uncertainty, a higher possibility of discomfort, resistance, or sacrifice. As congregations move beyond their comfort zones and follow Christ into more risk-taking, adventurous encounters with others, God changes them. 

     There are three truths that help us move forward boldly…even when the task appears overwhelming, even when our first response is to do nothing. 

     1.) We are called by Him.  

     2.) We are simply not up to the task asked of us.  

     3.) We need to respond.  

The fact of the matter is this: risk taking is about what…and more importantly who…we place our trust in. Do we place our trust in the resources of the world? Do we place our trust only in what we can see, touch, feel, taste, smell…and control? If so, we are placing our trust in ourselves! What this passage is yelling at us from the top of this Mountain Jesus sits upon is this, “to be salt and light in my world; to really make a difference for my Kingdom; you must place your trust in me.” And that means at times doing things that take us WAY out of our comfort zones. It may also mean doing things that seem every bit counter-intuitive to our understanding. 

     But vibrant, fruitful, growing congregations practice risk-taking mission and service because they love God and love others. When churches take the risk to turn outward, they come alive with a real sense of purpose as they are transformed…both individually and collectively. Their relationships and conversations change and they develop a whole new purpose of being together. That’s what happens to churches when people serve together in risk-taking mission and service. Are we ready for the adventure that is the Gospel? Are we up to God’s nudges to get involved, try something new, take a risk? What are you willing to risk? 

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

SWJ 1     As you know, I have been writing this blog for long time now. The first day I every published was Monday, September 14, 2009! That very first blog was called “Talk To the Ear”. I thought it might be fun to re-run it today, just to give you an idea where we started! Here it is, as written and published:

I have a fascinating thing that happens whenever I meet someone for the 1st time (or the 2nd, 5th, 147th…)- people talk to (ready?) my ear. Yep, that’s right- my ear. My left ear, to be specific. See, I have a cross dangling from that ear. In their 40’s, some men get a sports car, some go skydiving, some (sadly) get a girlfriend. My midlife crisis involved going to Claire’s at the mall (it sounds SO lame to admit I went to Claire’s at the mall to implement my midlife crisis! Am I a 40-ish pastor or a 12-year old girl?) and having a teenager stick a gun to my head and blow a (small) hole in my left lobe. Anywho, the bottom line is that I have a bit of bling on the left side. When people talk with me therefore, their eyes dart back and forth between my baby blues and my earring. Makes for fascinating conversations! I admit- I am NOT the prototypical pastor. With the shaved head, the earring, the funky soul patch under my bottom lip, and my penchant for classic rock, I don’t fit the mold. In fact, I tend to pick up the mold, smash it to the ground and dance on it! But perhaps that’s the point- perhaps Christians need to spend some time breaking the mold. The unitiated often have a preconceived notion of what Christians are like…and often it’s not flattering. We opine the fact that they won’t visit our churches. Maybe they know something we don’t! Don’t be something or someone simply because you think that’s what’s expected of you. Be who you are- God made you that way. Be who you are- but be willing to listen to God, who often calls us to be more than we currently are. From me AND my left earlobe, God is good, all the time!

 

Tomorrow, I will publish the Sunday sermon transcript as always and then, on Monday, I give you a general update on how I’m doing and how my wife is doing! Thanks for reading! God is good, all the time!

The Trip to the Neurologist

Neurology-307x287     As you know, I have been struggling with headaches for about 3 months or so. MRI’s have been done. No cancer spread to the cranium, praise God. An ENT fully examined my sinuses, my throat and my vocal cords. No issues there, either. Praise God. Then, I was referred to a neurologist. But that turned out to be a rather convoluted undertaking. First, I had a hard time even find out who I been referred TO! Then about 10 days ago, we got a packet in the mail to fill out and return. Then they would contact me to make an appointment.  

     My wife graciously offered to help me fill it all out. (This was prior to her knee damage and hospitalization.) Together, we got it done and back into the mail Thursday of LAST week. Tuesday of THIS week, I hadn’t heard anything so I tried to track down the paperwork. I finally got to the pe3rson I needed to talk to- only to then leave what proved to be 3 messages on voicemail over part of two days. The last message I left was about 11:45AM Wednesday morning. Then, out of the blue, my cell phone rang about 1:PM on Wednesday. It was that ONE person finally getting back to me. I stressed that I needed to get in as soon as possible- partly because I DID and partly because I had heard it would probably be sometime in September before I would be able to get in and I was getting desperate 

     The woman said, “Let me look again.” She came back and said, “Could you be here at 2PM...TODAY?!” Wow! I looked at the time, decided that, if we left IMMEDIATELY, we could make it. So, I took the appointment. Lunch got put back in the fridge (I had JUST started eating), shoes went on and our older son and I took off! It was a bit of a white=knuckle flight for a couple of different reasons but I made it to the front check-in desk about 2:10PM. 

     After the check-in and the usual vitals taken by the nurse) the neurologist came in. She was GOOD! She asked me questions, listened intently, examined me, made me go through a series of “exercises” designed to test neurologic issues and then gave her educated thoughts. In the end, I walked out with a new med- an anti-seizure drug! She explained that A. it was an older drug, B. it proved to be, and I quote DIRECTLY, “a pretty crappy anti-seizure medicine but that C. It showed promising results on neurological pain.” I managed to actually get my first day’s dose in that same day- Wednesday 

     It doesn’t interfere with any of the pain med I’m taking. So, I didn’t have to give UP anything, just add something. It is a cumulative drug that I “ramp up” in steps. I have now taken two WHOLE doses (!) and I will continue to take it for a bit, to see if it helps or not! Meanwhile, I pray for diminished headaches! 

             #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Define “Healing”

15-03-02/27     If someone asked you how to define “healing”, what would you say? Once each month, our Sunday evening worship service is a healing service. And last month, we spent some time talking about healing. So- what IS healing…to you?
Dictionary.com defines it as: curing or curative; prescribed or helping to heal, growing sound; getting well; mending. So we hear in the definition the core of how we tend to view healing- getting well. But what does that mean? I KNOW we tend to think of “getting well” as having whatever ailment or affliction that is troubling us go away- being cured. But what does healing REALLY mean?
I would argue that there are different types of healing. There is physical healing, mental healing, emotional healing, spiritual healing, relational healing…the list goes on. And is the healing for each of those types different? It’s not as cut and dried as we might think…is it?
Now that I have sufficiently warmed you up to the topic, let me ask the tough question: is death…healing? Think about it- is death healing? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say something to the effect of “I prayed to God that my husband/wife/child/parent/whoever would be healed, but they weren’t; they died.” So the obvious implication is that healing is “getting better” and going “back to normal”. And death is the antithesis of that. But IS it? Is death REALLY the opposite of healing? Sometimes it absolutely is! If a child dies in a car crash or is murdered by some demented coward…that doesn’t strike me as healing. BUT…if someone, child or adult, develops cancer and dies after a painful, lingering period…that strikes me as healing. When my mom developed lung cancer, I prayed that she would be healed. And for me, at that moment, healing meant cancer-free and back to normal. But as the cancer spread and I watched it ravage her, body AND mind, I continued to say the same prayer…but the meaning changed. I prayed that God would be merciful and take her so that she would not suffer any further. Why? Why would I pray that my mom would die? Because I had come to understand the fact that there are some things worse than death.
So, again, is death healing? Depending on the circumstances, you BET it is! Although I miss my mom still, more than 8 years after her death, I KNOW that she is not suffering. I KNOW she is cancer-free. And I KNOW that she is in a better place. So, was she healed? Every day and twice on Sunday! I encourage you to examine what you believe about healing and see if God can expand your horizons!
#TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!

The Eagle Has Landed!

eagle    I am happy to say that the eagle has landed! We got my wife home yesterday. It was a concerted group effort! She texted my first thing in the morning, stating that her MRI would be at 9:45AM. She told me what she needed from home. After we got off the phone, I thought about her trying to swing that immobilized leg into the car- even our van. So, I called a woman in the church, asking if she might be available to bring the church bus- fully handicapped accessible- to the hospital. She graciously agreed.  

     I got everything she needed and then- we waited. She called about 11AM saying she was ready for us to come and get her. I texted our awesome “bus driver” we met her and the bus at the hospital a few minutes later. We wheeled her to the ER entrance and used the lift to get her and the wheelchair up and into the bus. I rode with her while our older son drove the van home. We got her and into the wheelchair and out of the bus. She was wheeled around to the foot of the ramp, up and into the house! She went straight to the new lift chair and got settled in. BOY is it great to have her home! 

       We are taking her to the orthopedist this afternoon. Her initial diagnosis is a small broken bone at the top of her tibia and she tore her ACL. We will find out, hopefully today, what the plan is for treatment and proceed accordingly. The church dinners have already started- our first one was last night: meat loaf, potatoes and cantaloupe. We serve a great church! 

     I will continue to keep you posted as this unfolds in time and space. As I said, right now we are just grateful to have her home! 

             #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Wild Last Few Days

august 2019 calendar     As many of you know, my wife fell on the stairs that lead down from the bedrooms to the main floor later Friday evening. She didn’t break anything (we think), but has been hospitalized since. She is having an MRI tomorrow and will then be discharged. She will subsequently be referred to an orthopedist for further diagnosis and whether surgery, a hard cast or the leg brace she’s in now are the best choice.  

     Our younger son was home when it happened- I was asleep. Not wanted to wake me, he called 911 and got her to the ER! He didn’t make it home until 2AM Saturday morning. He went back to college Sunday at about noon because he had to work and then finish unpacking before work yesterday morning. (He works at the university.) Then, our older son drove over from Chicago, getting here Monday night.  

     I spent yesterday 1. getting a lift chair delivered and set up because she will NOT be able to navigate the stairs to sleep up there for a while, 2. making other arrangements in anticipation of her coming home, visiting her and visiting with our older son.  

    Today, we will get her home! (I would for no visitors for the time being. She needs time to get re-acclimated.) Although we don’t know yet when, her next big step will be that orthopedic consult- hopefully sooner as opposed to later. It’s been a crazy last few days. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support. I will keep you posted!! 

        #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Bad Day at Black Rock

bad day at black rock     Interesting weekend. (And I use the word “interesting” with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.) Saturday morning, I got up to find our younger son already up and sitting in the living room. My wife was still in bed…or so I thought. I asked him what he was doing up so early on a Saturday and he said he had something to tell me. After I went to bed Friday, my wife fell on the stairs, landed on her left knee and damaged it. Our son called the ambulance. They didn’t want to wake me, so they just went to the ER. They did some scans and decided that it was not broken. They had immobilized it in a full leg brace. They finally admitted her in the middle of the night and our son didn’t get home until about 2:30 Saturday morning. I wasn’t feeling very good, but we went up to visit her about mid-morning and then I stayed home the rest of the day. She is still in the hospital.   

     Then came yesterday. I got up to go to church. Within minutes of getting up, my head started hurting. And by the time I walked over and got in my office, the headache was already nearly unbearable.  Without sounding overly dramatic, all I could do was sit at my desk, try to deal with the pain, beg God to take it away and, quite candidly, cry.  After about 30 minutes of that, I decided I simply wasn’t going to make it. So, I gathered up all I could think of that our worship director would need, walked up to the sanctuary, gave him the stuff that I gathered and said I was terribly sorry but I was going to have to go home.  Yep – after 22+ years in the ministry, I finally missed a Sunday for purely physical reasons…and I felt terrible about it.  The staff, awesome as they are, handled it beautifully in my absence.  

     Meanwhile, my wife sat in a hospital bed and felt terrible about me. I assured her we needed to focus on her.  Our younger son left mid-afternoon yesterday to go back to college. Our older son is taking a week off to come and be with us and help us. They are keeping her at least until today. She has further testing yet to do. I spent most of Sunday sleeping it off. And now, today, I need to start making some pretty immediate arrangements to be ready for her when she gets home. So, as I said, interesting weekend at our house.  How was YOUR weekend?!  

        #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Intentional Faith Development

Five Practices Logo Intentional Faith DevelopmentAt Sunday School they were learning about how God created everything, including humans. Johnny was especially interested when the teacher told about how Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down, seemingly in pain. “Johnny, what’s the matter?” Johnny responded, “I have pain in my side. I’m afraid I’m going to have a wife!” 

     We are now in our 3rd week of this current sermon series- The 5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations, based on the book by former United Methodist Bishop Robert Schnase. Two weeks ago, we began with Radical Hospitality. Last week, we moved on to Passionate Worship. Today, we stop and consider Intentional Faith Development. 

     Where you and I might be satisfied with a recliner and refrigerator, God refuses to settle for any dwelling short of a palace. After all, this is his house. No expense is spared. No corners are cut. This might explain some discomfort in your life. Remodeling the heart is not always pleasant. We don’t object when the Carpenter adds a few shelves, but he’s been known to gut the entire west wing. He has such high aspirations for you. God envisions a complete restoration. He won’t stop until he’s finished. And he won’t be finished until we have been shaped “along the…lines…of his Son”. 

     1 Corinthians 9:19-24 Though you are free and belong to no man, make yourself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews, I became like a Jew to win them. To those under the law, I became like one under the law to win them. To those who are not having the law, I became like one not having the law to win them. To the weak I became weak to win them. I have become all things to all men so that I, by all possible means, might save some. Do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that others may share in its blessings. Don’t you know that in the race, all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such way as to get the prize.  

     In this passage, Paul talks about trying to be mindful of the needs of others- under the law, NOT under the law, weak…whatever they were, he tried to learn to be like them so he could better help them come to know the power and love of Jesus. He closed with, “run in such a way as to get the prize.” In other wordskeep strengthening, keep growing, keep intentionally developing your faith, so that it may better impact both you AND others.  

     We need to know we’re not alone, that when we face life’s difficulties we’re surrounded by a community of Grace and we don’t have to figure out entirely by ourselves how to cope with family tensions, self-doubts, periods of despair, economic reversal, and the temptations that hurt ourselves or others. We need to know the peace that runs deeper than an absence of conflict, the hope that sustains us even through the most painful periods of grief, the sense of belonging that blesses us, and stretches us, and lifts us out of our own preoccupations.  We need to learn how to offer and accept forgiveness, how to serve, and be served. The church should be…ready?…a school for love, where we learn from one another…how to love. We need to know that life is NOT about having something to live on, or in, or around, or under, or over…but something to live FOR– that life comes not from taking FOR ourselves, but by giving OF ourselves. And that happens through Intentional Faith Development. So why would we do that? Let’s look at it. 

     Faith development is God’s Spirit working in us, perfecting us, giving us the mind of Christ so that we are able to give love as we grow in our knowledge and love of God. Intentionality is deliberate effort, purposeful action and high priority placed on growing in Christ. Christian disciples should strive to develop and grow in their faith through study and learning. Studying the Bible in a group can open our eyes and reveal things to us that we never would have discovered by ourselves. 

     Jesus encourages us to develop our faith that way: together…with others, following a long line of those who lived and believed before us. Learning in community is exactly the model of learning He used as He taught his disciples. They grew in their understanding of God and matured in their awareness of God’s will for their lives as they listened to Jesus’ stories, instructions and lessons. And they did all this while gathering around dinner tables, on hillsides, and at the temple. Such things can’t be learned apart from relationships. Such things can only be learned with other Christians. Faith is best learned with others. 

     God’s gracious offer through Radical Hospitality invites and welcomes us. God’s transforming presence in Passionate Worship opens our hearts to Jesus’ pardon, love and grace. It creates in us a desire to grow and learn more. But growing in Christ requires more than weekly worship. It’s through Intentional Faith Development- studying and discussing the Word of God- that God’s Spirit works in us, perfecting us in the practice of love and letting us grow in the knowledge and love of God. 

     Growing in Christ takes a lifetime. It’s dynamic, which is why Methodist founder John Wesley called people to practice faith through learning in community, so that we all can see God more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly…day by day. 

     Intentional faith development isn’t just about self‐improvement, but about putting ourselves in a position where God can shape us. It’s about intentionally opening ourselves to God’s Word, God’s call. God uses other people- their strengths and weaknesses, their doubts and fears, their big questions in life, their strong convictions to shape and change usWe all can remember a time when it was only through the presence and the encouragement of a friend that we dared to do something that otherwise we would never have done. Someone who believed in us more than we did ourselvessomeone who helped us stretch, to reach something we would otherwise not have reached. Intentional faith development causes us to grow in our love of Jesus. As we grow in that love, it leads us to offer Radical Hospitality to those outside the faith. That leads us to a Passionate Worship that better connects us to God…not only on Sunday morning but throughout the week. 

     Faith Development comes through learning…both by yourself AND in community…it’s a two-pronged sort of thing. Churches that practice Intentional Faith Development look for ways to help form faith at every age. They look for needs not met and ask how they can better meet them. They train peopleThey explore new ways of forming learning communities– blogs, chat rooms, e-mail Bible studies, and downloadable materials. We need to continue to seek and find more ways to help people grow in the knowledge and love of God. Because ideas change people, and people change people; and God uses both of those things together to work on our behalf- to shape our lives in the image of Christ. 

     There are many ways to be practice Intentional Faith Development – Sunday School, Bible studies, retreats, short term topical studies, prayer groups, Vacation Bible School, training classes, camps, youth groups, shared interest small groups, mission trips, mission projects…the list goes on. My challenge to you is this- we can all be intentional about our faith development by committing to attend at least one Bible study or small group in the next 6 months. Try it- try ONE Bible Study or small group. Commit to it. Make it a priority. Give it your best…not your leftovers. See if it doesn’t make a difference. Healthy, vibrant churches are those which have a large percentage of adults who are furthering and deepening their relationship with Christ, who are growing and being intentional about faith development. They understand that the purpose of the church is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. They practice radical hospitality and passionate worship, And healthy, vibrant growing churches are intentional about their faith development. 

A Sense of Humor

water to wine     John 2:1-11 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 

     Do you remember this story? It’s the first recorded miracle of Jesus in the Bible. And I was obviously drawn straight to this story when I saw the picture above. And let’s be honest…how funny is THAT?! I would love to know if that was done intentionally, simply to set up the gag, or if it was a capricious happenstance. (I would like to think it was the latter- it makes it funnier if it was done unintentionally!) 

     I laugh a lot. I have a rather sarcastic humor. I am surrounded by people in my house who are funny, witty and rather sarcastic in their own right…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. BUT…my humorous approach to life tends to stress some folks…oh, yes it does! I have been accused more than once in my ministry of not being serious enough. I have had people go as far as using words like “irreverent” and even “blasphemous” to describe me. Now, I will openly concede “irreverent” at times, but I adamantly disagree with “blasphemous”. I am simply convinced that God has a sense of humor, AND that He gave me one for a reason! 

     Is it wrong to make fun of Jesus? Absolutely! Does this picture do that? Not for my money! This picture pokes fun as us marvelously flawed human beings…NOT Jesus! And if we can’t laugh at ourselves…well…life is simply too short! I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and I TRY to love my neighbor as myself. I am awed and humbled by God’s presence on a regular basis. I would NEVER intentionally do anything that was designed to blasphemous. But I have seen God’s marvelous sense of humor in the way He has dealt with and guided me over the years. And I am appreciative of the fact that He gave me a sense of humor and a love of life. Therefore…I intend to use them! 

     What about you? Do you love life? Do you laugh easily AND often? If not…why not! There ARE things in life that need to be taken VERY seriously…but not nearly as many as we seem to think there are! Live. Love. Laugh. It’s good for the soul! 

         #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

A Discovery

cistern     The winter was REALLY harsh. The spring was REALLY wet. And when all of the dust settled (metaphorically speaking), it revealed a fairly big, fairly deep wash-out along the edge of the sidewalk behind our house. Our Trustees called in someone for a consult. It was agreed that we needed to excavate to see how bad of a problem it was.  

     They brought a crew in who cut up the sidewalk and took large slabs out. And underneath it all, what did they find. An OLD cistern. I find that a lot of people don’t know what that is. A cistern is an underground, man-made tank for catching and holding rainwater. It was then used for a variety of things, including flushing the toilet or windmill pumping it out to the barn of water the livestock. This particular cistern was bell-shaped and made of brick that was then coated in concrete. 

     So, they broke the top of the cistern apart so they could get the excavator bucket in it. They scooped out all the dirt that had washed into it and then pour a LOT of concrete in what was now a fairly deep hole. After letting that set, th4ey filled the rest of the hole with sand and fine topsoil.  I assume the next step will be to prepare the area, pour concrete to make a new sidewalk and get the whole thing back into shape.   

     The truth of the matter is that, when you start a project, you simply can’t guarantee what you will find. It might turn out exactly the ay you thought it w3ould. Then again, it might make a hard right turn. And you have to be flexible along the way- go with the flow.  And it is THAT skillset that makes you a better person, a better Christian.  

         #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Yesterday

neurology-neurologist-center     If you read this space pretty regularly, you probably noticed that there didn’t seem to be a post for yesterday. That’s because there WAS no post for yesterday! I had a bad evening Tuesday. We ate dinner that evening and then moved into the living room. I could feel a headache coming on and it turned into a MAJOR one. I ended up sitting I another room of the house in the semi-darkness, trying not to move and make it worse simply being in pain for a while. Finally, it let up enough that I could move back into the living room with everybody else. As it continued to lessen, the tiredness, always present, started to really coe on strong- a common result of one of these headaches.  

     I fell asleep and was sleeping so hard that, when she and our younger son went to bed, my wife made a judgement call and left me in asleep in the living room. Good call. I eventually woke up enough to go to bed- 3AM. Therefore…no blog! Sorry about that. 

     Now, let’s look at yesterday. We had a follow-up visit to the Cancer Center to do a tox screen to see how I was handling the new drug- Keytruda. The answer is- pretty well. So, we spent much of the visit talking about headaches, neurologists, medicines, etc. It was decided that my doctor would contact the neurologist and see where were we are at. Also, we said I could supplement the prescription pain med, in between doses, with Ibuprofen. We then got home to find a large packet in the mail from the neurologist. We filled all that, will submit it today and get this ball more fully rolling! 

     We SO greatly appreciate your prayers I wish these headaches could be better managed, but I feel like we are finally on the right road in that area. We will see! 

         #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

It’s Budget Time!

Budget     There are many things in a church that are recurring- they happen either several times in a year or more frequently than that. In other words, everything from almost daily to once/year! One of those once/year pieces has come up for 2019! And that is, in one word, budget! 

     Budgets are interesting things. Some numbers that you plug in the for the next year are going to be VERY accurate while others may or not be, depending on outside influences that you simply can’t predict. Let me give some examples. Thing that you can depend on include the internet/phone budget. We have a contract, so we know what will be due every month- it won’t change for the year. On the other side other coin, the line items that cover the electric bill, the gas bill and snow removal are a stab that we based on the average of the last few years. Why? Because we simply can’t accurately predict how cold it will be in the winter and how hot it will be in the summer. Likewise, we can’t predict how much it will snow. And those realities can GREATLY impact the difference between “budgeted” and “actually spent”. In the end, you do the best you can and pray you come close at the end of the year! 

     I bring all of this up because it just shows more “things they didn’t teach you in seminary”. You either bring that skill with you or you learn it OTJ- on the job! Last night, the SPRC (Staff/Parish Relations Committee- the “Human Resources Department of the local church) met to prepare their recommendation for next year’s church salaries. It is, as you might imagine, and important body of information regarding the church budget. (And I don’t just say that because they also set MY salary!) 

     That meeting went well. (And no, I do NOT sit in on all of that meeting. I simply provide them with some of the information they need to make an informed decision and then go to my office and work until they are done and simply are ready to give me the bottom-line info that I can add to the working proposal for next year. 

     A few other groups or individuals will submit their input that impacts that bottom-line proposal. And when the proposal is complete, it is then submitted to the Finance Committee and the Administrative Council, in that order, for their approval. My standing guideline is this- no group can simply change information they didn’t submit- otherwise we didn’t need the committee who submitted the info. They can, instead, approve it and send it on or send it BACK, asking for a reconsideration based on whatever they are basing it on. 

     By early November, we will have all of that work done, approved and submitted to the next level “in the food chain”. It’s a rather long process for only happening once/year. But doing it well is a very important part of what a church does. And YOU thought running a church involved nothing more than choosing a few hymns and printing a bulletin! (LOL!) 

    #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!  

Needing to Make a Change

pain med     Yesterday was a “tough day at the office”. The pain med that I am on for the headaches seems to already stopped being very effective. I JUST started taking it a week ago today, and I THINK the oncologist said she started me out on a lower dosage. I THINK. But yesterday was good example. The instructions say take one every 4 hours as needed. It’s rather addictive, and I do NOT want that to become an issue. So, I got a clarification. As long as I don’t take it any more often than 4 hours, I’m OK.  

      As the week wore on, I rather quickly rose to take that level to try and keep ahead of it. But yesterday was a good example of how that’s not helping. Given that it was Sunday, I set alarms for every 4 hours so I would not miss a dose. I then got out of bed at 5:30AM to get ready and get out. Pretty quickly, the headache started. I struggled through 3 worship services. On the way home, my wife said. How is the head?” I replied, “Well, it started hurting soon after I got up and when it quits…I’ll let you know.” 

     I don’t have treatment this week- the new one is only once every three weeks. And we go see the oncologist on Wednesday to get a tox screen to see how the Keytruda is impacting me so far. But I am not going to wait until then to see what can done. We’ll see. The whole point of my care is palliative– try to keep me comfortable.  

      It is simply hard to focus on…anything when your head hurts enough. Light hurts. Breathing hurts. Touching your head or laying it against something hurts. `So, hopefully the oncologist can give me something stronger or different that can/will make a difference.  

    #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!