A Bad Night

headache-man-senior (002)    Monday night into Tuesday morning was, in a word, tough. I shared with you yesterday how Monday went. But, of course, I had already written yesterday’s blog prior to going to bed last night. As I have shared in this space before, I have been struggling with headaches, among other things, for the past while. Well, about 3:30AM yesterday morning, I woke up feeling like my head was going to explode. I don’t think I have ever had pain like that- even when discs in my back ruptured years ago. I couldn’t even keep my head on the recliner- the pressure was too much.  

     I tried sitting up. I tried sitting very still. Nothing helped I took Ibuprofen and went downstairs to the family room to sit in my chair. As I sa there, trying to slow my breathing and be still, the headache raged. I gave the Ibuprofen an hour to work. But by 4:30AM, I was beginning to consider a trip to the ER. It went as far as getting my phone out and bringing the keypad up…to call 911.  

     But then, the headache started to abate. And by 5AM, it was basically gone and I was asleep in my chair. I was contemplating calling the oncologist Tuesday morning and seeing if she thought we needed to move the scans up from Friday. We decided to wait. So, I left staff meeting and worship planning meeting to my staff and slept in my chair the rest of the morning.  

     I woke up at noon, ate lunch…and then went upstairs and took a nap! I came down about 4:30PM and hung out with my wife. We ate dinner about 6PM (I had fresh cantaloupe with vanilla Greek yogurt for protein and a Boost vanilla shake.) As I write this, about 8PM last night, I feel a LOT better than I did at 4AM yesterday morning. We will see what today brings.  

     As I have said many times in this space, I do NOT share this because I am seeking attention or pity. I would be just as happy to NOT share it. But it has been clear to me throughout this journey that God continues to call me to be as transparent as possible so that I can be a dim reflection of Him to others. And so, we continue to take things a day at a time, a moment at a time. We try HARD to live intentionally and in the moment. And, as always, I am grateful for my family, my church, my extended family and friends, all those who are praying for us daily and especially for my God who continues to walk with us. 

    #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 Change in Plans Moving Forward

change-architect-sign1      Yesterday was supposed to be the beginning of my 4th and final month of chemo for this cycle. BUT…things haven’t gone quite like we planned. We arrived at the Cancer Center about 8:45AM yesterday morning for our 9AM appointment with the oncologist. You start with the nurse, as is usually the case. First off, they weigh you. I had lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks. Then they take your vitals. My BP was up, as it has been for the past several weeks. I had a headache which I have had off and on for a few weeks and can’t seem to shake. I shared with the nurse that the past 2+ weeks have been especially hard, even given the fact that last week was an “off”  

     She dutifully noted everything in the computer and then left, telling us the doctor would be in soon. She (the doctor) came in not long after. She could tell I was struggling more than usual. We had a very frank discussion. And we all came to the same conclusion that my wife and had come to Sunday evening- that it was time to shift gears a bit. 

     So, here is the new plan. I did NOT have chemo yesterday. Instead, we quite a month early. I now have 2 CT scans AND an MRI along with lab work scheduled for Friday. (I usually have just 1 CT scan- period.) Then, we will go back and see the oncologist early next week. After evaluating all of that data, decisions will be made as to how we move forward from there.  

      There are several possible realities that could be the end result of that meeting with the oncologist. The scans could look good to fairly and we could simply start back up. The scans could look good to fairly good and we could take some time off before starting back. The scans could look “not so good” and we could re-think yet again what chemo meds to use. Or, the scans could reveal something we didn’t even know about and cause us to decide whether or not to even start chemo back up at all.  

      The truth of the matter is, we simply won’t know anything else until that appointment next week. In fact, I said to the oncologist when it seemed like she was done for the day, “Can I ask you one more question?” She, of course, said, “Yes.” I asked if, in her professional opinion, this could be the cancer finally rearing its ugly head like they all thought it would 2 years ago, if it could just be just a combination of the many things that are going on or if there was simply no way of know without more input. She said exactly what I expected to hear- not way to know right now.  

      So, we look toward Friday. I will keep you posted as to how the next few days go. And I will let you know how the visit to the oncologist goes. I ask that your prayers continue- we feel them, covey them and greatly appreciate them. We continue yo live one day at a time as hopeful pragmatists. 

    #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!  

Pilgrims in an Unholy Land

       (This is a “greatest hits” from years ago. It was a LONG Sunday!) I have always been a fan of Indiana Jones. (Well, let me clarify that- I am a fan of the 1st and 3rd Indiana Jones movies. The 2nd one is OK, and the 4th one…well…don’t get me started!) The best of the 4 is Raiders of the Lost Ark (the 1st one), followed closely by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (the 4th one).  

     In that movie, Indy (Harrison Ford) goes to save his dad, Henry (Sean Connery). In an effort to regain Henry’s diary and find the Holy Grail, they end up in Berlin. It is just before the start of WW2 and Hitler has citizens burning books in the middle of the city. As “the Jones boys” stand in the midst of the carnage, Henry looks to his son and says, “We are pilgrims in an unholy land.” 

     My experience as a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan has been an interesting study in that phrase! I grew up in the St. Louis area and my first church was in that same region, so pretty much EVERYBODY bleeds Cardinal red. Then I moved to Central Illinois and found that what had once been 95% Cardinal fans has slipped to about 40% Cardinal fans. And, to make matters worse, the other 60% was predominately Cubs fans! And THEN, I moved farther north (and west) in Illinois, and I the 40% has slid to about 30%! Bishop, I simply can’t be moved any farther north! I fear I  might see them burning Cardinal gear in the middle of town square! (I, of course, kid!) 

     But you know what the truth of the matter is? If you are a Christian, you ARE a pilgrim in an unholy land. Seriously. Part of the definition of the word “pilgrim” is- “on who journeys to foreign lands”. We are living in a foreign land, regardless of what “land” we live in. Why? Because we are called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. We are called to be counter-cultural. And I KNOW that sounds crazy to some. Abby Hoffman was counter-cultural. Lenny Bruce was counter-cultural. The hippies of Haight-Ashbury were counter-cultural. And we are NOTHING like them…are we?  

     Well…yes and no. We probably don’t look, act or dress like them. BUT…we are called to speak out against that which is not of God. We are called to NOT simply “give in” and be like everybody else but instead be who God calls us to be, regardless of what others think. We are called to stand our ground. We are called to be pilgrims…in an unholy land.  

     The next time you get to feeling overwhelmed by life, the next time you feel like simply giving in, scrapping this whole “Christian” thing and being like everybody else- think for a moment. You are a pilgrim in an unholy land and your time on this earth is fleeting and transitory in comparison to the eternity you will spend in heaven with Jesus. He makes that promise to each of us, and His promises are steadfast and true! 

     #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 Holy Spirit Is Teacher     Teachers are an amazingly underappreciated lot! Having lived with one for the past 34 years, I have been able to “peek behind the curtain” and see what being a teacher is REALLY like. With that in mind…I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to…ALL of the teachers I had growing up! Here’s just ONE example-

Drummers are notorious for getting in trouble in band. They are A. almost always the ADHD kids, B. therefore easily distracted and bored and C. have WAY too much time on their hands while the director works with…the REAL musicians! When I was in High School, our band room had a tuning machine that sat on a little table up against a rather large load-bearing structural pillar. It was SO boring to watch the band tune…drummers don’t HAVE to tune, thank you very much!…that I decided to amuse myself one day. I snuck down front and positioned myself on the side of that pillar that was OPPOSITE the tuning machine. That put me A. very near the tuning machine and B. out of sight of the director! When he had the whole band play their tuning note, I whistled about a half-step off-key…JUST enough that the tuning machine told him that the band wasn’t in tune! I then remained silent as he went section by section, checking the “in-tune”ness of the trumpets, clarinets and so forth. Because I was quiet, each group registered in tune. He then went back to the whole band…and I then went back to whistling off-key! From there, he went back to each section and tried it again. Eventually, he went instrument by instrument. And no matter what he tried, the individuals and the sections were always IN tune…but the BAND was NEVER in tune! We spent 25 minutes tuning that day! It was awesome! But this morning, I would like to go on record, for the first time in 31 years, as saying, “Mr. Cohill…I’m very sorry and I’ll never do it again!”

Today we wrap up this sermon series of digging deeper into exactly Who the Holy Spirit is. Each week, we have focused on one word- a name that describes the Holy Spirit. The first week, we talked about the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Author. Week 2, we considered that the Holy Spirit is the Encourager. Week 3, we looked at the Holy Spirit as Indweller. Week 4, we considered the Holy Spirit as the Intercessor. Last Week, we looked at the Holy Spirit as the Revealer. Today, we close this series as we talk about the fact that the Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach His disciples “all things” and bring to their remembrance the things He said while He was with them. They were moved by the Spirit to remember, understand and implement the instructions Jesus gave for the building and organizing of the Church and the revelation of things to come. Jesus promised US that the Holy Spirit would teach US all things as well.

John 14:25-26 I have spoken all these things while I am still with you. But the Father will send the Friend in my name to help you. The Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.

What defines a great teacher? We’ve all had teachers who either should have never gone into the profession or at least should have retired years ago. But for those GOOD teachers- the dedicated ones who pour out their passion for no other reason but to help others learn- what are some common, defining characteristics?

They are resilient. They have an unwavering desire to make life better for their students. They’re always looking for opportunities to strengthen their students’ learning…AND their own. They create a healthy environment where students’ lives are touched and their minds challenged. They provide a comfortable and safe space for students to take risks and express their own opinions and ideas. They encourage an environment where everybody is heard and everybody knows they belong. They foster excitement and enthusiasm for learning. They talk WITH and listen TO their students so they can design work that motivates and inspires them.

But what makes a good teacher a great teacher is when they have a firm grasp of both the science AND the artistry of teaching. I had a 2nd Grade teacher who was also my 4th Grade teacher- she got “promoted”! Every student wanted her as their teacher, and every student who HAD her as their teacher…cherished that relationship! She made me WANT to learn! She made me WANT to do my best. She made me WANT to do everything I could to make her proud. But what she did better than ANY of that was make me feel like…I mattered. I grew up in a rather dysfunction home. And there were lots of days when I came to school feeling pretty lost…pretty unwanted. But the 2 school years I had her as my teacher, I was EAGER to get to school. Why? Because I knew she cared. I knew she loved me. I knew I mattered to her. And because of that, I wanted to be the best…ME…I could be. I wanted to please her. I wanted to jump through whatever hoops she could lay out for me that day. All because she made me feel like I mattered. Thank you, Mrs. Nillson!

And so it is with the Holy Spirit. He is constantly showing us how much He loves us. And that love should compel us to want to do whatever we need to do to grow in faith.

The Holy Spirit works for one main purpose and one main purpose only- to bring glory to God. He is a foretaste of heaven- a glimpse of what an eternity with God will be like. He lives with us and in us. He convicts us of our sin and teaches us a better way. He guides us to the truth and offers us insight into God’s ways. And He will be with us forever. God has given us His Spirit to teach us and His Word to serve as our textbook. Our main source for faith learning should be the Word of God as inspired by and taught by the Holy Spirit. Through His encouraging, His guiding, His indwelling, His intercession, His revealing and His teaching, He equips us, enables us to be so much more TOGETHER than we could EVER be apart. Two are better than one and a chord with three strands isn’t easily broken. God has given us His Spirit to teach us and His Word to serve as our textbook.

The Ups and Downs of It All

uphill both ways     Yesterday was typically hard day. It was Friday, which is basically always a bad day, “off-week” or not. And I have come to understand that my frame of mind is not great on Friday. And then Saturday comes and I feel a little better. And then Sunday comes and I start coming around to, “I can do this”. And then on Monday we march into the Cancer Center saying, Let’s get this thing done.”  

      It’s really weird how things can change day to day. As I have shared many times here, I can predict with relative certainty how each day is going to go- how I will feel. And then, I can usually tell you in advance how tomorrow will differ from today.  

      As always, I don’t share this looking for sympathy- it’s not my style. Instead, we ALL know people who fighting valiantly against cancer. It’s important to know the roller coaster they ride every day. Life is a series of ups and downs when you are fighting cancer. Cancer patients and their caregivers go through things that are impossible to fully appreciate if you haven’t been through a terribly debilitating disease or you have taken care of someone who has.  

     Many people who deal with cancer have to either take a leave of absence from work or go on disability. I have been incredibly blessed to keep working. Noy only is it important financially as we struggle to “dig out of the hole” each year. It is also, I am convinced, one of the things that is keeping me going.  

     And so, we just keep on pushing as best we can. My wife and sons are are AMAZINGLY supportive. The church we currently serve is Also incredibly supportive. And God continues to be our rock and our salvation. 

     #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 Role of the Caregiver

caregiver     Today is “hunker down in my chair and read” day! Pretty much every Friday is because, if I’ve had chemo, it’s my worst day. Well, no chemo this week, but A. I did just finish 3 months of chemo (one more to go) so I am feeling it and B. it’s my day off after a long week. So, we TRY to make Friday a quiet day with not much if anything scheduled. Tomorrow, my wife and younger son are going on a “date”- take off for the Quad Cities to just spend some time together. I LOVE the fact that my wife has always done that with the boys! She is an awesome mother! Meanwhile, my sister and her husband are planning on coming up later today, stay in town overnight, come to church on Sunday, have lunch then head home. Extended lab work gets done tomorrow morning in anticipation of Month 4 of this cycle of chemo. Then, Monday gets us back to the oncologist and back in the chair again. 

       Monday will be the start of Month 4 of this cycle- almost assuredly the last month for a little bit. The oncologist says she COULD go 5 or 6 months instead of 4. But her experience is that, once you finish Month 4, tou tend to be doing more harm than good to do more without a break. I am NOT going to argue with that! 

      We have friends who are going down a somewhat similar path right now. The husband is valiantly fighting his cancer. (As his wife says, he is “tougher than dirt”!) They have a Caring Bridge page and I read the updates as she posts them. As I have shared here, my goal is to try and “normalize” this process for my readers. If you are fighting this battle, for yourself or along with a cancer patient, I want to help you know that you are not alone. If you aren’t, but find yourself in one of those later, I want you to have something to fall back on. That’s why I have been painfully transparent at times. 

    Those are exactly the same reasons I appreciate reading what the wife of this couple I mentioned has to say when she posts. I appreciate the update on how they are doing. But I also appreciate and respect what she shared about how she is feeling as the caregiver. I get the lion’s share of the attention. And while people DO show concern for her, the caregiver often doesn’t get the understanding they need and deserve.  

     If you have never been the caregiver, let me assure you, from my perspective, that their job is incredibly hard. They have had so much more of the day to day stuff dumped on them. They are terribly concerned for their loved one. They have to try and stay “up” for their loved one’s sake. And yet, they are exhausted, wrung out and watching the person they love slowly dwindle.  

      I want to offer a special “thank you” to all the caregivers out there. You have a hard, often overlooked job. Thank you for who you are and what you go through on a day to day basis for the sake of the person you love. You are awesome. 

     #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! 

     There is something to be said about serving a church in the “Heartland of America”! A retired pastor we had the extreme honor of serving with at the first church we served had a great story about that! He said that, when the new pastor and their family would love in, the church would “pound” them- give them a pound of something to help stock their pantry. He also shared that he and his wife never had more lsrd in the house than when they had been “pounded”! 

     We have experienced much that same thing in our ministry. At the last church we served, during sweet corn season a man from our church would pull up in the driveway on Saturday mornings, having just come from the farm (where he worked) at the University of Illinois. He would walk to the back of his truck, get a bag out, transfer SEVERAL ears of fresh sweet corn from a big gunny sack into the bag and bring them to the door, He would do that pretty much every week! We practically foundered in sweet corn! It was awesome!  

     Where we now serve- same sort of thing. My Office Administrator has the same love for greens (kale, collard, spinach, whatever) as we do. You may know- during the right season, those things grow like weeds! So, we get lots. Yesterday, another one of our “suppliers” walked into my office mid-morning with a brown paper grocery sack. It was fresh-dug potatoes and onions, fresh-picked green beans and a cucumber! 

     Now, don’t get me wrong- this congregation is very generous in other ways as well….Pastor Appreciation month, for example. But as someone who grew up raising, harvesting and eating a LOT of fresh produce, there is just nothing like it! So, while my clergy brothers and sisters in places like Chicago don’t get a lot of parishioners stopping by with potatoes and kale, we are truly blessed to have that happen! Now, to decide how that all goes together best for dinner tonight! 

     #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! 

Which Hills Will YOU Die On?

Mount_Elbert_Colorado_md     When I was younger, I was determined that I was willing to die on just about EVERY hill. You know what I mean. Everything was vitally important. And I wanted to be “right” about everything that I would be like a bulldog about…everything. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that you just don’t need to sweat the small stuff- and an AWFUL lot is “the small stuff”.  

     Here’s just one small example of what I mean. Back in the day, when I first started proofing church newsletters, I was highly critical of some of the things others wrote. I would read them and think, “I could write this article so much better than that they did!” And then I would start basically rewriting the article.  

     But over the years, I figured out that my job at that moment was NOT to rewrite someone else’s work but to fix spelling and grammar errors and find things that might simply be wrong (a date or time) or needed more clarification.  

     Just because someone chose to say something differently than I would does NOT make it wrong. Why? Because my opinion is NOT what’s sought then. Because they wrote the article because we wanted their voice and if I re-write it, it is no longer their voice. Because what makes me think that I’m so special that I can just re-write people’s work and think that’s the right thing to do?  

     What hills are YOU willing to die on? I would hope that you learned that lesson sooner than I did. You should have your convictions, yo be sure, I’m not implying that you just accept everything- “I’m OK, You’re OK”. Some things are clearly wrong. But an AWFUL lot of things are NOT so clear. They’re NOT wrong- they just aren’t the way you would want. Evaluate those things on their own merit and let the ones go that just simply aren’t worth the time and effort. You will find that a LOT falls in that category! You wil be happier and you will find that you are more reflecting the example set by Jesus! 

     #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 Dog Days

Mollie 1     About 3 years ago, I pitched the idea to the main committees of the church we currently serve to hold the 3 main committee meetings- Trustees, Finance and Administrative Council- all on the same night each month. I was gone a LOT at night every week and to make it better on my family, that seemed like a good idea. 

     Much to my surprise, there wasn’t even all that much discussion, Thay thought it was a good idea and...we did it! Well, then the cancer diagnosis came up and it seemed like an even better idea. It DOES make for a long day, but only one/month. That Sunday was two days ago. Here’s how that works. 

      Up at 5:30AM. At the church about 6:10AM. Prep and greet take up the next hour and 50 minutes. The, worship starts. The next roughly 3½ hours are taken up by leading 3 separate worship services. Preach 3 times. Play the drums at the middle service. Serve Communion between 1-3 times, Then, do a few “after service” things. Go home. Eat lunch. Go to bed. Get up. Eat a little dinner. Leave at 5:40PM. Meetings from 6PM-9pm-ish. Home. Visit a bit. Go to bed.  

     When the next morning happens to be a chemo wee, which it often is, we get up and go. And honestly, I can’t wait to get in the chemo chair because I’m still worn out from Sunday, I tend to sleep deeper on those days! But when it is NOT followed by a chemo day, as was the case yesterday. I take the day off.  

     So, yesterday started out with me sleeping until 10AM. Then, it was a day in my chair, under my blanket. It will be an early night to bed. And them today, it w9ill have been up at 6AM to see our younger son off to work and then to work myself!  

     I’m not gonna’ lie- things just get harder and harder the further I get into a 4-month chemo cycle. This is the end of the 3rd month of a cycle. So, this is a “no chemo” week. I will get full lab work done on Saturday and then, on Monday, we will head to Cancer Center and see if chemo is on the board.  

     On a side note, the blood pressure med I started last Friday, for the first time in my life, is now 5 doses in. It’s not really supposed to have a real impact for 2-3 weeks. But we have taken my blood pressure each of the last 3 days and it was noticeably lower each time. Also, the symptoms of the high BP are noticeably better, allowing me to sleep better. We continue to monitor that! 

     #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 Holy Spirit is Revealer

The Holy Spirit Is Revealer     May 25, 1977- moviemaking forever changed that day. You may think that’s good and you may think that’s bad, but either way…it’s true. The original Star Wars was released. I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school in May of 1977 (which either makes me really young or really old…depending on your perspective!) and couldn’t wait to see it! The funny thing is that movie theaters ONLY agreed to show it because the studio threatened to withhold the movie The Other Side of Midnight if they didn’t!

No matter what revisionist history creator George Lucas offers now, the original movie was NOT envisioned as the beginning of a franchise! He barely got the first one made and distributed. But the overwhelming success of that movie, later renamed Episode IV: A New Hope, guaranteed future installments. That fact led to May 21, 1980, when the second installment, The Empire Strikes Back, was released. And THAT movie (considered by many to be the best of the series) produced arguably THE best “reveal” in movie history.

Late in the movie, our hero, Luke Skywalker, is trapped by the evil Darth Vader. After hacking Luke’s hand off with his light saber (NOT a very nice thing to do!), Darth says, “Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.” Luke replies, “He told me enough. He told me you killed him!” And then…Darth drops the bombshell! “No…I am your father!” Bum, bum, buuuum! The first time I saw it…May 21, 1980…you could hear a pin drop! “No…WAY!” Mind. Blown!

The most shocking “reveal” in movie history was a well-protected secret. Very few people knew about it until the movie was released. Even the actor in the shiny black suit, David Prowse, didn’t know. He was the BODY of Darth Vader, but not the voice. So, Prowse spoke lines as they filmed, but they were NOT the lines we heard in the finished cut. Those were provided, of course, by the iconic James Earl Jones. When they filmed, Lucas told Prowse to say that Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father, setting up the greatest “reveal” ever!

We are in the midst of 7 weeks of digging deeper into exactly Who the Holy Spirit is. Each week, we focus on one word- a name that describes the Holy Spirit. The first week, we talked about the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Author. Week 2, we considered that the Holy Spirit is the Encourager. Week 3, we looked at the Holy Spirit as Indweller. Last week, we considered the Holy Spirit as the Intercessor. AND TODAY, WE LOOK AT THE Holy Spirit as the Revealer.
      1Corinthians 2:12-13 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

The Holy Spirit is the direct link between God and humanity. Jesus promised that, after the resurrection, His Holy Spirit would come to guide us into all truth. Since the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we’re able to better understand truth. Why? Because we have the very mind of Jesus Christ, in the Person of His Holy Spirit, within us.

Let’s be honest- often our actions, even the ones that make us look our best and most pure, most altruistic, are nothing more than a veil to hide the truth- from not just others, but ourselves. We regularly put on a mask to hide the reality of who we are from the world. But the Holy Spirit isn’t going to stand for that sort of self-deception for long!

    We are SO vulnerable to the weight of sin, to the constant gravitational pull of the world. It’s always there, singing its siren song and trying to lure us onto the rocks of self-doubt and sin. We tend to think that the opposite of evil is good. And that seems reasonable. I mean, I’ve seen enough Law and Order to know about “good cop, bad cop”! But it’s really NOT. We can do “good” for entirely the wrong reasons. No, the opposite of evil is truth.  Being honest about who we really are…and about the sin in our lives…is the opposite of evil. The Holy Spirit doesn’t simply want us to “do good”. He wants us to first offer full disclosure of our sins. He wants us to confess our sins to Him. He will then forgive us and wipe those sins away. THEN we are compelled to “do good”- NOT to improve our image but as a response to the revealing of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Great Truth Revealer. But truth in this case doesn’t mean rules and regulations. It’s not about “church doctrine”. Instead, it’s about the revelation of God’s facts…God’s truth. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth…about us! Unchangeably, unrelentingly and inevitably, the Holy Spirit shines His light on our thoughts and actions…the deepest recesses of our hearts. Everything we have and everything we are is revealed. No matter how we might dress it up for the rest of the world, the Holy Spirit pierces through the smoke and mirrors and reveals who we really are. His goal is to tear down the facade we work so hard to create. As He does that, an amazing level of self-knowledge is the gift we receive. It IS a gift, but it can be a painful one to receive.

Everything we need can be found at the base of the Cross – at the feet of Jesus. It’s THERE that we are washed clean by His shed blood. And how do we know that? What is it that tells us…convicts us…to come to the cross of Jesus Christ, seek redemption and become a new person? The Holy Spirit. There is a Christian band called Big Daddy Weave who recorded a song called Christ Is Come. The bridge to the song includes these words:

“Prince of Peace, Yeshua, Messiah, the Son of Man, Holy One, King of kings, Lord of lords, the Great I Am, Comforter, Counselor, Author and Finisher, Divine Truth Revealer, Deliverer, Healer- You are God!”

The Holy Spirit IS the very essence of God, sent down from Heaven to not just live WITH us but to live IN us. He comes to reveal God’s truths to us. What is He trying to reveal…to you?

The Newest Wrinkle in the Journey

BP cuff     The latest wrinkle in the ongoing saga of “Rev. Mark Vs. The Cancer” was initially addressed yesterday. I have shared that, although my blood pressure has been rock solid for…forever, recently it’s been a bit hinky. For the past month+, it has been behaving differently at the Cancer Center. It’s been high when we have arrived. It’s been higher still when we get to the infusion side of the building. And it has spiked while I was sleeping in the chair, actually receiving the infusion. One of those days, about 2 weeks ago, they even had to wait and see if it would come down before they could start. 

     Ans the last month or so has unfolded, I started thinking about all of that. We were all focused on what the BP did at the treatment center that, apparently, none of us thought about what it was doing the rest of the time. Meanwhile, I was having these symptoms- constant headache, pressure, an overall feeling of crudiness, nosebleeds, etc. When you are dealing with sinus issues, a bad cough, cancer and chemo treatments all at the same time, it’s REALLY hard to get a handle on what is causing what. 

     But recently, I put all of that together and thought this could all be a rather sudden rise in BP. I mean, why would it only be a problem at the Cancer Center? It really would make no sense. So, I decided I should try to get into our family doctor but figured tracking the BP some ahead of that would be a good idea. Well, like got in the way and I didn’t.  

      But then, Thursday evening, I just felt bad. And so, I asked my wife to take the BP. It was high. Then we had to decide- what do we do about that? Do we wait until yesterday morning and try to get into our family doctor? Is it high enough that we need to do something tonight, like the ER? We decided to wait until yesterday morning and try to get in. Fortunately, I was able to. The nurse took my BP- high. The doctor took my BP- high.  

      I shared in detail the symptoms I have had. The doctor, seeing all of the various pieces coming together. Decided that, yes, we needed to address this. So, he prescribed a BP med. He said we didn’t want to overdo it and drop it too quickly. I picked up the med later yesterday morning and started it immediately. He was clear that it would take 2 weeks or more to have the full impact. 

     So, the headache and pressure, the nosebleeds, the overall feeling of crudiness will all continue for the next couple of weeks, hopefully slowly diminishing during that period. I pray they diminish sooner as opposed to later- I can’t imagine how better I might feel if these symptoms diminish or actually go away.   

     I honestly don’t know why, after a lifetime of perfect BP, I would suddenly, over the course of a month or so, develop problems. But that is a question for another day. Let’s get these symptoms addressed and then, maybe, look at the “why”.  

           #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! 

Changing Habits

groundhog_day     (This is a “greatest hits” entry from several years ago. My week caught up with me last night.) I was watching one of my favorite movies recently…Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. (I must confess, the first time I saw it, I thought, “What a stupid movie!” But something compelled me to watch it again the next time the opportunity arose. THAT time I got it…and loved it!) In the movie, Murray plays Phil Connor, a self-absorbed Pittsburgh weatherman who gets “stuck” on Groundhog’s Day, forced to re-live that same day over and over…until he “gets it right”. (SPOILER ALERT!) He finally DOES get it right in the end.  

     I have probably seen the movie, or at least part of it, 15-20 times or more. (Hey, give me a break! I said I loved the movie!) But THIS time I realized something I hadn’t quite thought of before. In the movie, Phil goes through nearly every emotion possible, trying to win the love of Andie MacDowell. And in the meantime, he figures out a great deal about life. He starts out a jerk and ends up a pretty decent guy. (He SHOULD have- I’ve heard that the the author who wrote the book upon which the movie is based envisioned that the character of Phil spends…ready?…10,000 years stuck in that one day!)  

     As I thought about WHY he changed…or perhaps the better word is HOW he changed, it dawned on me that the WAY he changed was by repeating specific behaviors over…and over…and over again. ONLY by doing that was he able to become something different…something new. In other words…he formed new habits. Most statistics say it takes between 21 and 28 days to form or change a habit. (He had the…what?…benefit?…of 10,000 years.) And that’s exactly what he did- by repeating specific behavior over a period time, he was able to change his habits…change himself. 

     What are things about YOU that you would like to change? Come on now…we ALL have things we would like to change. Maybe you want to quit smoking. maybe you want to exercise more. Maybe you want to cut back on your caffeine. Or maybe…you want to become a more Godly person, a stronger Christian. How do you do that? By changing your habits. Figure out what it is you do that you feel keeps you from a deeper relationship with God. Maybe you are a bit too judgmental. Perhaps you tend to gossip. Maybe you aren’t very friendly and open to others. Maybe there are behaviors that you exhibit that you are not so proud of. Whatever it is, the bottom line is this- the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If you want things to change, you HAVE to do something different…and you can’t just do it for a day or two. You have to do it over an extended time…say…28 days! (Hey…it’s a LOT less than 10,000 years, right?!)  

     If you are willing to try this, I guarantee two things: 1. it WON’T be easy! And 2. God will walk every step of the journey with you. And I don’t know about you, but I always find that a great  comfort! 

           #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! 

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride- Church Edition

Image result for mr. toad's wild ride

       I have shared in this space before the importance of team-building in a church. As a church, or any organization/business/whatever, grows, one essential thing becomes more and more important- team-building. And while it DOES apply to all of those other venues, we will focus this discussion on church growth. 

     As a church grows, one of two things happen. 1. the church sees both numerical and spiritual growth (both, I feel are essential). They enjoy the experience of measurable growth, but they don’t react to it OR plan for it. And they hit 80% capacity in any one of 4 areas- worship attendance, youth/children’s ministries, nursery space and/or parking space. And that is a magic number. Once you cross the 80% threshold, things start to change. Why? Because, believe it or not, psychologically 100% is NOT capacity, 80% is. Our minds tell us that, beyond 80% and we are starting to feel too cramped. So, if we hit it and haven’t made plans to address it by providing MORE space, we will subconsciously self-correct until we are slightly under it. In other words, people will stop participating until any or all of those numbers are beck to, or under, 80%. 

     Or #2 will happen. A church will anticipate that fact and make changes along the way so that, when it hits 80%, it is ready to make course corrections (or already has) that will easy that “full feeling”, allowing ministries to keep on rolling. And that, I have learned, is A. universal and B. essential to maintaining growth.  

     We have wrestled with that problem almost from the moment we walked into this church 7 years ago. We have managed to keep up with the growth curve in three of those 4 areas, but NOT the 4th one. So, we have slowed in our growth, almost stalling over the past 2 years. But, with some fairly major changes, we seem to back on the right track. We have been fortunate to have someone join our staff who is a pro at building teams, so…! And now, we have added a recently retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church as our new Associate Pastor and he is an outstanding addition!  

     What all of that tells me is that A. we have truly blessed with a talented, dedicated staff here and we had better hang on, get ready to be flexible and prepare for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! 

           #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! 

Vacation Bible School Wrap-Up

Image result for mission to mars vbs     Tonight, the church that we currently serve finishes up Vacation Bible Study. And I will be the first to say- we all love it when VBS COMES…AND when it goes! It is so much fun to see those bright, shining faces every night! The kids are having SO much fun. And we have SUCH a good team of volunteers. It is GREAT to see so many adults step up and say, “Whatever I can do…put me down!”  

       We had good numbers the first night (Sunday)- for dinner, for VBS AND for the adult Bible Study. Monday, the number of kids ALMOST doubled! (My experience is that, historically, the 2nd night is the biggest. And then, last night, the numbers of kids were good again. And tonight will wrap things up. (We buck the trend and do 4 nights instead of 5. We have found, by the 5th night, everybody (kids AND adults) is ready for things to be over.) Since I am a BIG believer of “leave ‘em wanting more, we do! 

     The dinners have been great, as usual. The first night was taco salads- or as they call them around her, taco haystacks. Tuesday, it was sliders and mac and cheese. Last night, we had pizza boats- or, as they called them to keep with the outer space theme, Pizza rockets. And tonight, we close out with baked spaghetti. The meals are open to anyone who wants to come, whether or not they are participating in VBS. So, they draw VBS kids and their parent, adults attending the adult Bible Study, and then just a cross-session of adults who come for dinner and then go home. ALL are welcome,  

      The adult study has gone great, drawing a good cross-session of VBS parents and church members. And the kids’ programming has been WELL received- the kids keep talking about how much fun it has been and how they definitely coming back! And they HAVE. It has been a WELL-built team carrying out a WELL constructed plan to near-perfection! Just couldn’t ask for better! 

     Thank you to ALL who made it happen- our Director of Youth & Children’s Ministries, the MANY adults who made the nightly stations so good, the team who did SO well with dinner and clean-up, the parents who dutifully brought their kids and, of course, the KIDS! It takes all of them! 

           #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! 

Full Chemo Day

chemo day    Yesterday was Week 3 of this cycle of chemo. In a nutshell, that means that I have next week off and then another cycle- 3 week “on” and a week off. That will put us roughly A> at the end of August, B/ at the end of 4 cycles or 4 months and C. time for new scans. They will take the scans then (not yet scheduled) and compare them to the last set I had. We will see what the cancer has done during that time. (A reminder, some ot it improved, some of it remain unchanged and some of it grew slightly.) Then, a new plan will be enabled. That could be to continue chemo in its current form. It could mean continue chemo but change the protocol. Or it could mean halt chemo altogether. We’ll see! 

      Yesterday started by walking out the door at 7AM. We arrived at the doctor’s off at about 7:45AM and checked in. We got called back pretty much right at 8AM. The nurse did her usual stuff. My BP, which has been giving me trouble lately, was up again. We then saw the Nurse Practitioner, who read our results and did her exam. All in all, things looked good. She DID prescribe a new antibiotic for me to try with this cold/sinus infection/whatever that I have been fighting. (A couple of weeks ago, I finished what proves tro be two rounds of one in an effort to treat///whatever this is!)  

      We then got sent out to check back in for chemo treatment. Our appointment wasn’t until 9AM. It was now about 8:30AM) and they were busy and running behind, so we didn’t get in until about 9:30AM. From there, it was relatively typical. Two things stood out yesterday. As has been the case in recent weeks, my BP is acting wacky. After 2 years of being GREAT and rock-solid, it has been high in the doctor’s office and higher 20-30 minutes later in the infusion side. It has risen even more during the infusion, threatening to have to shut things down. So, we will be seeking some answers from our family doctor. 

     Even though I am now getting the Benadryl orally (my request), I was trying to fall asleep almost immediately after getting in the chair and getting warm blankets on me. We were there several hours and I slept HARD- sleeping through all the “BP drama” and lunch! Then, seemingly suddenly, it was time to unhook me and send us home! As I have said, that can be a rough transition. They out either need to get another patient in that chair or they already have other patients in chairs who also need their attention. So, I go from sound asleep to walking in 10 minutes or so- a bit of a challenge!  

     We got home and I said I did not want to try and take a nap- I had slept so much already. I got in mu chair, under my blanket…and promptly fell asleep! On chemo days, I just have to wait off/sleep off the effects of the Benadryl. Then, I feel fairly good. It just takes time/  

      #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 First Round of Stained Glass is IN!

Windows      I have shared in this space that the church we currently serve is in the middle of a Capital Campaign. And I have also shared that Phase 3 of the Campaign is new stained-glass windows and that this phase of the Campaign has been split into 3 separate parts. Recently, I shared that the first part is the largest of the 3- 5 large windows on the back (south) wall of the sanctuary. Last week, I posted that work was coming along well and they were projected to finish before the end of last week. And...they DID! 

     I also shared that I was intentionally NO posting pictures because the truth is that, for many people who come in the sanctuary on Sunday, it’s the only day of the week they are in the building. I figured, if they weren’t going to be in the building during the week, might as well have Sunday be “the big reveal”. (The truth is that, between people intentionally stopping in throughout the week to check on progress and/or driving by every day for the same reason, many people saw them! But that is OK!) 

     But now that the first 5, the largest single chunk, are done, it was time to post a picture! Ironically, I got SO caught up in A. the busy-ness of Sunday and B. watching people react I forgot to get a new one! So, the one you see is one from a few days ago, before they finished windows 4 and 5. But you still get a good idea of how they turned out! And, in a word, they turned out GREAT! 

     It was SO much fun watching faces as people walked into the sanctuary yesterday. There was such a wide-eyed wonder! I actually watched people turn around in the middle of worship to take pictures. There was lots a gape-mouthed staring! 

     The old windows from those spaces are gone. We held a a silent auction for them and, while I’m not sure how many actually sold, we raised money that we didn’t have and didn’t count on so winner, winner, chicken dinner! We thought that finishing this step would jump-start giving for step 2. But, as it all turns out, we already have enough cash-in-hand for that step. That means the 2 large windows on that side of the sanctuary are already ordered and now we have begun raised bringing in cash for the last step- the balcony windows. 

     The difference in the sanctuary are striking. Not only are the new windows beautiful, energy-efficient and will serve their purpose for another 100+ years (like the old windows did), they brighten up the sanctuary in a POWERFUL way! Having NEVER served a church that made this particular massive commitment, it has been so awesome to be a part of this journey. I now wait with great anticipation to see the rest of the window project turns out!! God is good, all the time! 

      #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 Holy Spirit is Intercessor

The Holy Spirit Is Intercessor    Parents are an interesting animal.  Parents are people who spend the first 12 months of their children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk…and the next 24 years telling them to sit down and shut up! They are the people who complain about the next generation…but RAISED the next generation! We have all heard all the great “parent” phrases, but did you ever wonder what they really meant?  

     Here are some examples of what parents say…and what they REALLY mean! 

If they say, “We’ll see” they really mean, “Not a snowball’s chance in a CT Scanner! Quit asking!” If they say, “Mmm-hmm” while making eye contact, they really mean, “If I nod and smile enough, will you go away?” If they say, “Mmm-hmm” WITHOUT eye contact, they really mean, “I am SO not listening to you!” If they say, “Wow! Really?” they really mean, “I have NO stinkin’ CLUE what you’re saying!” If they say, “Are you sure about that?” they really mean, “Are you OUTSIDE your mind?!” If they say, “Go ask your mother” they really mean, “Go bother somebody…ANYBODY…other than me!” 

     We are in the midst of 7 weeks of digging deeper into exactly Who the Holy Spirit is. Each week, we focus on one word- a name that describes the Holy Spirit. The first week, we talked about the fact that the Holy Spirit is the Author. Week 2, we considered that the Holy Spirit is the Encourager. Week 3, we looked at the Holy Spirit as Indweller. Today, we consider the Holy Spirit as the Intercessor. 
     Romans 8:25-27 We hope for what we don ‘t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it. In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit Himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God’s people just as God wants Him to pray. 

     One of the most encouraging and comforting aspects of the Holy Spirit is His desire to intercede on behalf of those He inhabits…us. We often don’t know what…or how…to pray to God. But the Spirit intercedes on our behalf and prays…FOR us. He interprets our “groanings,” so that when we feel overwhelmed by the weight of life, He comes alongside us and offers us assistance as He goes with us before the throne of grace. 

     How many times have you thought to yourself, “I don’t have the SLIGHTEST idea what to pray for…what to say”? How many times have you gone to God in prayer but when you tried to pray, your burden was SO great, your problems were SO weighty that you didn’t even know where to start? God gave us a book of instructions on how to pray. But He also gave us Someone to pray with us…and…for us- His Holy Spirit. 

     When we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit DOES know what we need and intercedes on our behalf, encouraging us in our praying. So we fall to our knees in prayer and cry to the Holy Spirit, asking to see God’s will. We ask Him to show us what our needs TRULY are. And as we pray, the Holy Spirit shows us our needs and encourages us to go to God. He then goes WITH us as we take our needs to the Father. He knows the Father better than we do, so what better Person could there be to go with us as we come before God? Our access to the Father is through His Son. Our prayer partner when we go to the Father is the Holy Spirit. 

     If we only got from God that which we asked for, ten we would never get everything that we need. The Holy Spirit knows our needs before we even ask for them, and He speaks to God FOR us. Some of the things the Holy Spirit lifts up to God on our behalf are things that we would NEVER choose for ourselves; they’re just…what we NEED. And sometimes, what we NEED isn’t the same thing as what we WANT! 

     I might want sunshine every day, But the Holy Spirit may know that I need a cloudy day here and there. I might want all noondays, but the Holy Spirit may know that I need an occasional midnight. I might want all mountaintops, but the Holy Spirit may know that I need a few valleys along the way. I may want nothing but kittens and moonbeams, but the Holy Spirit may know that I need some tears and sorrow. 

     We shouldn’t just jump on our knees and start telling God what we want and what we need. Instead, we should go to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to reveal to us what we REALLY need. We then accompany Him as He leads us to the throne of grace. When we get there, He speaks for us, praying to God on our behalf, confirming our petitions. 

     One sure sign of spiritual dysfunction is when we lose the desire to pray. Why DON’T we pray? We don’t pray because, in our hearts, we simply don’t believe it will matter. We don’t pray because, if we’re honest, we’re more than a little indifference to the process. We don’t pray because we have misplaced priorities. We don’t pray because we are focused to squarely on the world. We don’t pray because…it’s hard work. And we don’t pray because we simply don’t know WHAT to pray. 

    My dad once told me that, when I was faced with problem, always try the simplest solution first- it’s the easiest one to try and it’s often the right one. I found that to be great advice, and so I have tried to build my life around that principle. About a year before he died, I thought he might like to know that something he taught me was so influential in my day-to-day life, so I told him about it. He listened intently as I told him what he had taught me and how I had put it into practice. I got done and sat back, waiting for the “beam” I KNEW was going to come from his face. He looked at me for a moment, scrunched up his face and said, “I said that?!”  

     My dad’s been gone for more than 8 years, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and wish I could talk to him again. It’s natural for a kid to want to talk to their dad. It should be JUST as natural for a believer to want to talk to their heavenly Dad. The Holy Spirit, Who dwells within us, encourages us and increases our desire to pray, our desire to come before our heavenly Father. 

What a SLEEP!

asleep-at-desk     Thursdays, as you know if you read this blog, are usually the beginning of the turning point for the chemo week- they start out fairly well but, by the end of the day, things have started to change. And by the next morning, it’s officially Friday morning and I officially don’t feel good! Well, thanks to this “summer cold” thing that I have, and the cough that has accompanied it, I have NOT been sleeping well.  

     Thursday, my wife said I should try a cough suppressant at night and an expectorant during the day. OK. So, Thursday night, I did just that- took a cough suppressant. My wife encouraged me to try and sleep in and NOT get up to see our youngest off to work. She assured me she would cover than. So, I went to bed Thursday night with no alarm set.  

       It was about 9:30PM when I went to bed. Now, “bed” is a bit of a misnomer. I’m actually sleeping in a recliner most of the time these days. But you get the idea! I was very tired and fell asleep almost immediately. On a “usual” day, I might have to get up anywhere between 1-3 times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. But I didn’t even stir that night. I went to sleep quickly and surprisingly easily, compared to recently.  

      Again, remember- this was about 9:30PM Thursday night. The first thing I noticed- later- was that, as best I could remember, I didn’t get up at ALL to go to the bathroom! That alone is unusual. But what happened next was the MOST unusual!! 

       I remember waking up and seeing that it was a little after 8AM. I was surprised, but I thought I would just go back to sleep for a few minutes- doze off a bit. And I did. But then, I woke up…and it was ALMOST 11:30AM! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put that all together and come up with the fact that, at the end of all things, I slept…ready?…14 HOURS! 14 HOURS! I can’t EVER remember sleeping 14 hours at a stretch! When I came downstairs. My wife said she was about to come in a put a mirror under my nose to make sure I was breathing! 

      After days of not sleeping well, it was GREAT to get such a good night’s sleep. To be honest, it was STILL Friday when I got up- the toughest day of the week. But I am quite sure that much sleep was good for me. So, last night, I took the cough suppressant again. And we will see how the night went. I WON’T sleep until 11:30AM again. I have to get to the lab here in town in time to get my blood drawn and lab work done in time to fax it to the oncologist before the lab closes at noon. 

      #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! 

Filming “the Camp Kids”

camp      The church we currently serve sent 7 kids to summer camp this year. (Actually, two of them haven’t gone yet but will be going soon!) Depending on what your church does regarding summer camp, you might be saying, “That’s nice. So what?” Well, it’s a big deal to us because this church hasn’t sent a kid to camp in YEARS! And this year- 7! Good stuff! 

       4 of them went together. One of them went by herself. And the last two will go together. All but one of them were partially funded by our Endowment Fund. They wanted to make sure that NO kid who wanted to go to camp couldn’t because of finances. Summer camp in NOT an inexpensive venture these days!  

       I am putting together a video that will be run on a Sunday morning after the other two have gone. The idea behind the video is give these kids a chance to thank the Endowment Committee and the church fo helping them go. We also hope that the video might spur more kids to go next year. 

     Therefore, over the past few days, I have filmed 3 kids saying who they are, where they went and a message of thanks to the church. One of the kids took it a step further and shared a tiny bit about what she did and how much she loved the worship time they had while she was there. 

     It was really cool to see these kids record these spots. Sure, they were nervous. (MANY people…many ADULTS…get nervous when someone turns a camera on them!) But they all seemed to have a great time and not only got to do a lot of fun “stuff” but also grew spiritually from the experience. And that really is the goal, isn’t it?! 

      #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!