Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

31 May 2010

Pre-Summer thoughts about "God DESERVING our best"

I blogged on freedomhouse.ca today. Some of it is about the on-goings at Freedom House (that I'd LOVE you to be a part of too :) but there some thoughts on giving in here that I wanted to share here on Big Ear as well.


This is going to be a unique summer at Freedom House. Make sure you're at this Sunday night's "State of the Union Communion" Night from 6 until 8pm. Nicki will send the pot-luck details shortly but it's going to be a night where we'll:

  1. Eat together
  2. Take communion together
  3. Talk together as a family and a church that believes that "every member is a minister" about how we're going to prepare for action this summer and launch some cool new ministry initiatives involving ALL OF YOU this fall.

As you know... we've taken a HUGE step in opening Freedom Gate Apartments and we're at the early stages of developing a large scale "Kindness Project" designed to impact our city on many levels... and it's all done by all our ministry-members (AKA... you and me) being faithful in giving. The summer is often a time where people go on vacation... and sometimes their regular giving goes on vacation with them! Hey... vacations cost money too! Sometimes it just slips our mind but it's important to be as intentional about giving as God is about it.

God wants to GIVE us what we need to thrive when we GIVE Him the best of us. Doing the opposite is actually more serious than we first think. “God doesn’t deserve my best,” is exactly what we say when we as “Christ Followers” decide to be consumers rather than contributors.

Bit of interesting teaching for a minute... stay with me.

Remember Cain and Abel? They both presented their offerings to the Lord. Cain just gave some of his crops as an offering to the Lord, while Abel gave his first and best lamb as an offering. Part of these scriptures point out that the tithe (Regularly giving 10% of your income... pre-taxes) did not go away with the law since it was present 500+ years before the law. But there is something else significant in their story.

Freedom House givers are AMAZING... but often Christians can fall into Cain-traps. The more I think about it, there may be too much focus on Cain's brutal murder act. And yes... murder is bad. Duh. But it was Cain's attitude that may have led him down this bad path. It was the attitude that God did not deserve his best. And God REALLY doesn't like this attitude. Check this out:

Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:6-7

Wow! "Watch out" eh?

What was the right thing in this situation? Abel’s income came through being a shepherd. Cain’s income came through harvesting the land. Both brought an offering to the Lord, because the Lord had blessed them both with a profit and a means of living. The difference is, Abel brought his first and his best to God, Cain just brought a random selection, but it was definitely not his best. God’s response was that Cain would be accepted if he only did what was right. Cain knew what was right, but his attitude directed his actions. He did not feel God deserved his best, therefore he did not give God his best. The biggest part of this verse to me is where God points out, that sin is crouching at Cain’s door waiting to control him because he lacked the heart to put God first and to give him his best.

Just an encouragement to continue giving your best this summer as our Church/Ministry Centre/Support Network/Housing Project/Kindness Project/Street BBQ hub/Online media production house/ really fantastic place to be... is pressing on in faith to take more ground in our city... and we're all "All-in" on this! Find out more Sunday Night.

If you didn't know, there are number of ways to give aside from Sunday Morning's in an envelope.

1. Online Bank transfer: This is a way that many people pay their bills with online banking. Talk to or email nicki@freedomhouse.ca and she'll be able to hook it up so you can just transfer your giving online

2. PayPal: Right here on freedomhouse.ca or on freedomhousetv.com, there is a "Donate" button. It's perfect for a quick, "God said" at home moments or if someone outside the church asks how they can contribute to what Freedom House is doing as a result of some of our Kindness Outreaches this summer.

3. Cash Machine: There are 2 ATM's in the Market Square Mall. So when we're asking God what He'd have us give on a Sunday Morning and He says something that isn't in your wallet... you can get 20's from these machines.

4. Post dated cheques: It's a great way to keep yourself accountable if your salary is on a regular rotation.

We make no apologies in making one of Freedom House's core values...

Extravagant Giving
In all areas of life (time/talent/treasures) we will exemplify the character of our extravagantly giving God.

... because God WANTS us to prosper. And that just means having EVERYTHING we need to do everything God wants us to do! It's going to be a GREAT summer team!


28 May 2010

Changing "perceived value" can change the "real" value.

Who doesn't love TED? This is a terrific, insightful (and hilarious) 15 minutes of the kind of thought and perspective that will be so important to appropriate as we move forward in communications. It means something for advertising, marketing, AND the church too. Here's how TED describes it...

Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value -- and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

"Poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new"

"We are perishing for a want of wonder, not a want of wonders"
GK Chesterton

Fabulous Friday Afternoon thoughts and a great challenge to me as a writer, communicator, advertiser as well as a church leader. Jesus DID His job very well and CONTINUES to do it well! If you'll excuse me calling it so... it's a terrific "product". But have we've communicated and (again excuse me if this sounds crass) "marketed" it extraordinarily poorly.

Let's let the Holy Spirit inspire these brains we've been given help make new things familiar to those for who it's new... and familiar things new for those for who have been around a while. God is WONDERful. Sharing that wonder is a blessed thing.

26 May 2010

The whole story of "LOST". What did it really say?

LOST never was a show that everyone liked, understood or chose to work at. I did though. I watched the pilot by accident and got hooked. There has never been a television show that asked so much of it's viewers. It made it hard instead of easy. Real answers and intended meanings had to be found by researching ancient societies, religions, and origins of namesakes. You had to remember little things that happened along a character's lifespan to be able to interpret present actions so that you could hypothesize about the purpose of their future! You always knew it was ABOUT something but you didn't ever know quite what that this was... until the very end. And even then it was debatable.

Christians always hoped it would wind up being a better Christianity analogy like Middle Earth or Narnia. The Island wasn't that (although Middle Earth or Narnia weren't entirely intended to be perfect either). They were all just stories. Tolkien and Lewis did have different end-games in mind than Cuse and Lindelof... but there were striking similarities in that they were all EXCELLENTLY told stories, with MULTIPLE characters that people cared about in everyday action, with a looming, ever-present larger meaning that was never far away.

Some were disappointed to see the multi-faith symbol stained glass window behind Christian Sheppard in Eloise Hawking's church in the finale. I'll admit... that was goofy. But the more I think about what the Island WAS and the story of LOST in it's end light... the more I like what the show DID say about life in general and more specifically... a life lived interacting with God.

The adventures when get into while living life and writing our story ARE important. But it's not just for adventure sake. It's about us working out our stuff. It's a large part of what we're doing here in the first place! Philippians 2: 12-13 says:

"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Christian Sheppard in explaining what that whole island was... confirmed to Jack that it WAS all real. Jack was right in the penultimate episode when he told Desmond (who was making the fatalist argument that things don't really matter because paradise awaits) that what happens here DOES matter. And in Jack WORKING at doing what he was "brought to the island to do"... he did two things. He fulfilled the greater real purpose of saving the world by defeating the evil Man in Black. He ALSO worked out many of his personal issues that were keeping him from understanding and peace. He progressively got revelation through "working out his salvation" while telling his life story of ups and downs. I like Jack.

The flash-sideways, purgatory, "place they all created to remember each other" was much maligned. While it was theological potpourri, one good thing is that from a writers point of view, it certainly was a interesting way for us to see the continued growth the the characters we'd watched grow for 6 years. We got to actually see them coming together with those they loved and shared the most important years of their lives with.

Some were annoyed at the overly simplistic ending of everyone singing Kumbayah and rockin' their collective souls in the bosom of Abraham together while holding hands and skipping into "heaven" together. They questioned whether or not the writers just gave up being interesting. I actually kinda liked it BECAUSE of it's seeming simplicity contrasted with the struggle and complexity of the island. When you stop and think about it... we don't know a heck of a lot about that whole goin' and livin' in heaven process.

I've always wondered if we'll be able to sit down and look back at our lives and find the things of real meaning hidden in various events and relationships in the light of the end. There's GOT to be a videotape room! I've always hoped that we'll be able sit down for lunch with interesting people who have gone before us and after and hear their life-with-God story to get a fuller picture. Maybe I'll share a pudding with Jackie Robinson one day. Here's hoping.

On the island, people were always fighting with each other. They'd go on missions with different groups and look down at the ones going a different way. The caves or the beach? Dogan's temple or not? It created tension... but mostly for the same reasons why we have tension between each other on earth (even between people we're in the same church/island with... with whom me have TONS in common). It's our own pride, issues, and crap manifesting while living life in a sinful world that's in the process of being redeemed through OUR process of working out salvation together.

In the end... all this stuff and these tiny adventures will look pretty meaningless in the light of God's glory. Those who we didn't get along with on earth, if we choose to "let go" like the characters were implored to do... we'll live together with them as brothers in eternity. And we'll like it. We're sharpening each other here.

This doesn't negate God's grander purposes on earth. They are real. They MEAN something to our lives, and maybe more importantly, OTHERS lives. Bringing God's Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven IS what we're doing. On the island, there REALLY WAS some kind of life-force that flawed but GOOD people were destined to protect as they grew personally.

Damon Lindelof said this a couple of days before the finale:

"You have the Bible, it tells you, you do this and this, or there are
consequences and at the end of the day, you have to choose to have
faith in that book, or not. So it really isn’t about that book, it’s
about whether or not you decide to trust it. That’s our show."

One more thing. The mysteries. The Island was always very mysterious. Some of those mysteries had answers and resolutions... some didn't. Some remained unsolved likely because the writers ran out of time to answer them (what do you want?? It was already the most expensive TV of all time BY FAR). But some intentionally remained mysteries. This is a tough pill to swallow for some who needed all the answers.

But in life (and ESPECIALLY a life lived with God) a lot of crazy stuff happens that we just... don't... understand. And we never will. A giant bird may never be calling out "Hurley" to you, but I guarantee that during the telling of your life story there will be a substantial amount of on-goings that you'll never understand. You'll just have to let go of them and trust that there is more going on around you than you see.

It's all bigger. Play your part. Go hard. In the end, we're one character in a big big life show that DOES mean something. In "As you like it", Shakespeare wrote:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,"

then the famous monologue ends with...

"Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

In the end... I think that LOST was an extremely creative television program. It was not the perfect analogy. Good luck finding one of those. In life, you'll encounter mystery, destiny, monotony, prophets, liars, fighters, runners, comics, sarcasm, Jacks, Sawyers, Desmond's, Widmore's, Jacob's and maybe even a Smokie or two to defeat.

Because I DO subscribe to the Christian way of thinking and living, I believe one day you'll stand before God and have to give an account of how you interacted with all these characters and scenarios and tell what you learned because of it. I know that nobody (aside from Rose in Season One praying with Charlie) called on Jesus and prayed a sinners prayer... but again... it's not a perfect Christian analogy. But one day (if you DO accept truth) we'll live in happy-land with your friends in harmony and peace. It's not too simple. It's actually extraordinarily complex... but it does feel simple and easier with the gift of an end-perspective... which we ARE given in part now and in whole later.

Good TV show. I'll miss it.

22 May 2010

Why Mike on a Bike is one of the most popular people in town

I was in Harmony Square last night to help run an outreach concert event featuring a Christian Hippity Hopper. There were numbers of churches represented making up a couple hundred teenagers. Before the show, we got the different churches to scream when they heard their names (it's a real crowd-pleaser). But the biggest cheer of the introductions were when we acknowledged presence of local celebrity "Mike on a Bike". By the end of the night... he was on stage singing and dancing. That's Mikey.

If you're from Brantford... you know him. If you're not... he's a slightly developmentally delayed guy named Mike who rides a bike. Everywhere. Always. With a Mike Foligno esc white helmet.

The deal is this. When you see him, you say, "Hey Mikey!" And he'll stop and smile. He'll wave or come over to you if he can and say, "Hi how ya been?" as if you're the closest of friends. Anybody... anywhere... every time. Major events... he's there. Minor events... he's there. There are stories that sometimes he'll even invite himself into private backyard BBQ's with only a handshake, a big smile and a "How ya been?" as a ticket. That's Mike on a Bike.

He has 1,354 Fans on Facebook here. His old group has 780 members. As I watched him do his thing last night... it struck me that Mike somehow become one of the most known, loved, popular and access-given people in town. How?

I think it's because he does that one that is genuine to "him". Dude rides a bike. He does it bold, proud and public. He's also genuine to "him" in who he is. He is Mike and Mike is nice. Kind. Smiley, and he does it publicly. Mike takes the initiative to go up to people and make them feel good. Almost everyone has a Mike on a Bike story and are always ready to share it... because they remember it... because he's somehow made a lasting impact. And he's done it just be being boldly himself and mixing it up with "strangers".

Lessons? Do your thing. Boldly, publicly, proudly... and make others feel good with that thing.

20 May 2010

Have I mentioned that I can't wait until Sunday?

No really... I can hardly wait until Sunday.

Have I mentioned that I can't wait until Sunday.

What is it about LOST that makes you love it? I think the short answer for me is the depth of story. It made you think. It made you work. It had a point from the beginning and it skillfully told an excellent story.

What about you?

17 May 2010

"Those" nutty Christians / Liar, Lunatic or Lord

Marci McDonald's "The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada" is getting a TON of attention right now. People ranging from schmoes on street to major international media are talking about it. Some agree with her alarmist hypothesis. Some call it preposterous horse-pucky.

What I personally find the most amusing is the one thing that both sides agree on, (media-wise) is that the Christians at the center of the argument... are nuts. It's either, "Those nutty Christians REALLY ARE having an influence on our nation's policy. Let's stop them." Or it's, "There is no way those nutty Christians are actually being taken seriously. No need to stop them".

So the one thing people can agree is the lunacy of those people who are being vocal about Jesus. Or so says the media. The sanity of Jesus-people... and Jesus Himself have been questioned for centuries. It's not new. The difference that is catching people by surprise now is that the Canadian versions are starting to speak up. And that is making people uncomfortable... partially because it brings JESUS into the public forum, and many are uncomfortable doing that (or having others do it for them). It's understandable really. Jesus is an extremely controversial fella. You see... He claimed to be GOD. Few (OK none) who have claimed that have stood the test of time.

I often think of the "trilemma" argument of Jesus Christ's divinity. In short... "Mad, Bad, or God". Mark Hopkins in 1844 was the earliest recorded to articulate it, followed by John Duncan around 1860 who wrote:

"Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable."

More recently, CS Lewis translated it this way in Mere Christianity:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."

I understand that the division of church and state concept was intended to "protect" both from each other... but the idea that life can be compartmentalized is this manner is a fairy tale. A very unhealthy fairy tale at that. Like Hansel and Gretel. Weird.

If Jesus was indeed the actual, literal, physical and spiritual Son of God... and if His parting words to the world before He took His seat at the right hand of His Father were as they were recorded in Mark16 were...

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well... Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."

... then we should darn well do that. Even it's some weird, wild stuff.

Those disciples weren't afraid of much after that. In Acts, the promised Holy Spirit made them pretty bold actually since they then had the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living in them. They did what Jesus said, and miracles happened. Aaaaaaand most of them were murdered because of it. Think about this for a second. If it's all real... then this is literal... not figurative. It's a pretty all or nothing deal.

They were considered politically unsafe too, but The Message that Jesus specially requested they make THE priority in life took precedence to political correctness or safety.

According to an April 2009 survey, much to the media's chagrin, Canada DOES still have a belief in the Christian God.

The survey, conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National, found roughly six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) identified the country as Christian. Among those who believe in God, 61 per cent think Canada is a Christian nation, while fully 48 per cent of non-believers feel that way.

Although the poll found just 58 per cent of Canadians ``definitely believe in God'' - down from 64 per cent in 2003 - Hexham believes we're nonetheless a country with ``very strong Christian ties.''

It's quite possible that the average Canadian is NOT as alarmed about there being a Christian voice in Ottawa as the media says. I mean good-heavens. People committed to loving their neighbor as themselves. Shudder.

Again... the difference is... that there is a new wave of young, passionate Christians who are becoming bolder. It doesn't mean they are nuts or scary, although it SHOULD make those who like the status quo nervous. They are actually acting more like the Christians Jesus taught than we've seen in the great white north for some time.

If Jesus really was Lord as opposed to a Liar or a Lunatic... then doncha think He has an opinion about how He'd like our country to be? The Biblical God has always allowed Kings and Kingdoms to come and go as He saw fit. Nations, Kingdoms and their leaders that honored God prospered. Those that didn't... didn't.

The Bible says that in our era of life and time... CHRIST IN ME IS THE HOPE OF GLORY. This is a charge that shouldn't be taken lightly. It should motivate us to work for change.

Jesus has been a public issue for 2000 years. It's not new. And we are STILL forced to decide how we're going to deal with him.

or Lord?

12 May 2010

How much influence should "those" Christians have in Ottawa? (More tonight 9pm live on freedomhousetv.com)

Last night on CBC National, Wendy Mesley did a story about the growing influence of the Canadian Christian Right in Ottawa. She interviewed Marci Macdonald about her new book called "The Armageddon Factor... drawing back the curtain on the mysterious world of the right-wing Christian nationalist movement in Canada"

I'll bet you had no idea what an intimidating bunch we are! Check it out.

I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep nights knowing that there are... (gasp)... CHRISTIANS committed to loving their neighbor as themselves mingling with politicians! But this is far from an isolated story. And that's because it's a growing fact. Evangelical Christians quite simply ARE having a greater impact on Canada than ever before and people are starting to take notice.

In yesterday's National Post, Don Martin wrote a similar story noting that...

If this budding culture war flattens the Liberals in the next election, perhaps her book is a glimpse at the operating manual of a majority Conservative government.

11 May 2010

The letter Q must have good PR people

How did the letter Q find it's way so far up in the alphabet? I mean, how did the letter Q find itself before R, S, and T in the alphabet?? Those are Wheel of Fortune gimme letters. Half of the big 6 and Q comes before it? Come on. Aren't you always a bit surprised when you're leafing through your rolodex and you find Q in it's current location? It should be down with the other high Scrabble-point loser letters like V, W, X, Y and Z. In fact Q is 2nd last in usage! BELOW everything but Z. And Z has the cool factor going for it.

You stink Q. Always have. Let's take it down.

One thing Q does have going for it is that it's round. That's something. Putting it near O and P keeps some symmetry. Maybe it's like putting a power hitter with low average in the 6-hole. REALLY low average. The fact remains that R, S, and T are your regulars and over-valuing Q is risky. Folly even. T is the most commonly used consonant and NO LETTER begins more words than T. Cito Gaston knows that you HAVE TO stick with the regular veterans.

I think A gets too much credit too. It's the first... represents the best... but E really is your big hitter. It's quite simply the most used letter. Period. You can't do jack without E. In letter-based-games, you often will find a smug rebel choosing A over E. That player, is a loser. Sorry, that was rude. That player WILL lose the game. Numbers don't lie.

Y has a lot of marbles to think that it can be both consonant and vowel. While handy at times, I can't image that it leaves itself in a very popular position among other letters.

"Who are YOU man?"
G and I about Y

My letter D is in an awkward and unenviable position. D doesn't make the highly publicized ABC trio. THEY are on all the posters. THEY have songs written about them. THEY are the first ones that are learned. When you get to D... it's gettin' down to business. It's work now. And then to be followed by E (the cleanup hitter)... D can get lost.

I'm fond of D. Daves everywhere are. These are the Daves I know.

5 May 2010

This must be heaven

"God what an outfield,' he says. 'What a left field.' He looks up at me, and I look down at him. 'This must be heaven,' he says.

No. It's Iowa,' I reply automatically. But then I feel the night rubbing softly against my face like cherry blossoms; look at the sleeping girl-child in my arms, her small hand curled around one of my fingers; think of the fierce warmth of the woman waiting for me in the house; inhale the fresh-cut grass small that seems locked in the air like permanent incense; and listen to the drone of the crowd, as below me Shoelss Joe Jackson tenses, watching the angle of the distant bat for a clue as to where the ball will be hit.

I think you're right, Joe,' I say, but softly enough not to disturb his concentration."
— W.P. Kinsella (Shoeless Joe)

3 May 2010

The Everyday Miraculous (Part 1)

People love and hate the miraculous. They love it because the miraculous has the ability give hope... but they hate it because it's so rarely seen and they're tired of fruitless hoping. I heard a story yesterday about how someone emailed their ministry-partners list an encouraging story about a miracle... only to have a number respond by asking him to take them off the list because they just didn't want to hear about "Miracles".

It's a surprisingly touchy (and often complex) topic.

David Hayward (The Naked Pastor) drew a thought-provoking cartoon today:

He explained it this way:

This cartoon was provoked by something I saw on Facebook yesterday. Someone was thanking God for healing someone. They said something like, “God is awesome! We serve a God who always answers prayer!” Or something like that. I immediately thought of all the people who simply couldn’t say that. At least not now. I’m not arguing whether one is right and the other is wrong. I’m just suggesting that sometimes we are grossly unaware of the pain and suffering of this world for most people. Sometimes including ourselves.

It's a very interesting topic to pour through. Right now I'm reading Bruce Wilkenson's new book, "You were born for this" about the degree to which God wants to use us to see "everyday predictable miracles" happen.

He talks about the gaping distance between the 2 Christian crowds when it comes to their reaction to the miraculous.

1) The signs and wonders people. You know the type.
2) The land of good deeds livers. You know the type.

He points out that most people choose to live in the land of good deeds and that:

"...it's often longtime Christians who resist miracles the most. Many have stopped expecting miracles, asking for them, or knowing how to partner with God to invite them. In other words, they have abandoned the everyday miracle a territory and often measure success on how LITTLE they need God"

The book's point is that we need to intentionally leave space between the "what needs to be" and the "what is". A space that only God can bridge miraculously... and then be His delivery boy. He talks about the Holy Spirit nudges that we ALL get to help. And then do what you're being nudged to do. It's everyday people doing everyday doable things... resulting in a heavenly anointing that releases miraculous things to happen.

My sister is a nurse on Mercy Ship. It's currently mid-mission docked in Togo. They bring hope... and see some amazingly great things... but they are often also around seemingly unanswered prayers too. She wrote beautifully this week about a number of medical miracles they've seen recently. Here is the story in it's entirety.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen God work in ways that I have only ever in the past prayed for. As a healthcare professional, I have always had a hard time trying to pray for healing. I always get hung up on the fact that all too often, it seems that we pray for healing and fail to see it come to pass – at least in the ways that we expect or want. I have watched families of dying children pray for revival, and then suffer through the exact thing they were hoping to overpower. Overtime, these types of experiences had turned a little part of me skeptical. Don’t get me wrong, I have never for a second seriously doubted that my God has the power to heal, restore, and even overcome death…..but, I had started to wonder, why He didn’t always do just that. And, more importantly, why we needed to bother bargaining for such interventions if the decision had already been made and He had the power to do so regardless of us.

I had been wondering, for quite some number of years now.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Baby O’Brien remembered how to breathe before our eyes. Uncle Gary prayed and within minutes, his entire respiratory status was transformed. Like an actual miracle that has absolutely no medical explanation. When I came in for my day shift the morning after and saw what had happened, I made the night nurse explain it to me three times before I would believe. (It’s funny how shocked we can be when things we pray for actually happen)

Just days later, I was taking care of Marius, our other in-and-out-of-the-ICU-baby, on trial number two of what seemed to be at the time, “the case of the trach that refused to be removed”. Forty-five minutes into the decanulation trial and the little baby in front of us continued to breathe at about 80/minute (for those non-NICU types….that is too fast), wheezing and indrawing like a champ.

Maybe it was because we had done everything we could think of and we had no other nursing tricks up our sleeves. Maybe it was because Marius has the most beautiful, huge, dark eyes that pierce your soul and compel you to do something more supernatural than you are capable of in your own humanness. Or maybe it was because my faith in praying for miraculous healing had just recently been restored.

Whatever the reason, I decided I should pray. Normally, I would have said “God already knows our desire in this situation, what difference does it make if I say it?” Or I might have thought “There are too many more important things to get done right now”. But instead, in this case, I layed my hands on his chest, closed my eyes to the monitor flashing much less-than-impressive numbers, and I prayed to my Saviour. I thanked him for allowing me the opportunity to care for His child. I told him that I believed that He was the only one who had the power to heal Marius. And, I told him that we would accept His will for Marius’ life in this situation.

That morning, the miracle didn’t happen instantly. Marius lasted 12 hours without his trach, and then needed it for a couple more days before he was able to be decanulated for good. But, within a couple more days, he stopped requiring any oxygen whatsoever. And, just a few days after that, a repaired-lip, fat-cheeked, beautiful baby Marius returned to the ward in a triumphant celebration of hope and healing.

And, I think I am starting to understand why our faith and outward expression of faith is so crucial. Because I know God could have healed Marius without me. He didn’t need me to stand there and pray. But, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had tears in my eyes when I saw him become whole again. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be a part of it. And, if that were the case, then I would have denied Him the opportunity to change my life through changing Marius’.

Tomorrow... I'm gonna do a part 2 on the everyday miraculous about roles that we can/should play in the miracle process.

How do you react to talk of the miraculous?

2 May 2010

Jared's Blues... the studio recording

I went over to I AM Studios last night to do Voiceover session with them... and we wound up getting my son Jared into the studio to record and produce his blues song he wrote. He sings and plays the lead guitar on this track. Check it out.

When he actually JUMPED in the air on the way out because of his "First CD", I had a hunch he enjoyed the process. He says his future band will be called "Overdrive".

I love bringing my son with me to see and do cool stuff when I get the chance. My Dad was an elementary school teacher and I remember when he'd give us full, free run of the gym... or when we got to school the older kids at outdoors classes on camping trips we came along to, because we had sat through 4 sessions about how to start fires already. They are special memories and mean something to a boy.

It also helps that Jared rocks.

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