Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Day at a Time

Well I have three PACS blogs in the queue that just need to be proofread lest I be sued so you’ll be seeing at least two of them later this week. In the interim I thought you might enjoy this lil piece that was in a picture frame that I picked up at a garage sale this weekend for a quarter (yes $0.25).

I started to put the frame away with the other 2,516 I have (can you say packrat?>) until I found the right photo for it and before I did I read the piece that was in the frame. After reading it I said- gee, that’s good. Then I read it again and said- gee, that’s very good. So I decided I’d share it with you .It’s called One Day at a Time”. It has nothing to do with the mid 70’s TV show that starred Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinnelli (she the now almost 50 year old ex-wife of rocker Eddie Van Halen who was soooo hot back then), Mackenzie Philips (another hottie), although both unbeknowt to me were mega druggies- not that I cared mind you- and of course Pat Harrington, Jr as building superintendent Schneider It also has nothing to do with that old time gospel song “One Day at a Time (Sweet Jesus)” or Danielle Steele’s novel of the same name either. If anything it serves as the mantra of Josh and Lisa Hunter who I wrote about in my prior blog entry and sincerely hope you are keeping in your prayers. They need them now more than ever. So while you wait on the PACS piece that is in the queue called “We’re Number One- and So Are We” read this and start your week out right.


There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW, with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. TOMORROW is beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW’S sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds- but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW, for it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day- TODAY. Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of two awful eternities- YESTERDAY and TOMORROW- that we break down. It is not the experiences of TODAY that drive men mad- it is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW will bring.

Let us, therefore, live but ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Make it a great week, living and loving the very best day of the week- TODAY.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Life, Raw

Whenever I get down or hear others complain about how their life sucks I go back and read the ongoing saga of Josh and Lisa Hunter. Josh and Lisa’s little girl Ava has an insidious form of cancer known as Glioblastoma multiforme or GBM for short. Josh’s blogsite can be found here:

Life was wonderful for Josh and Lisa until their daughter Ava started having bad headaches at a family reunion in June. Lisa’s second sense kicked in and they took her to the local hospital, did a CT scan and found a tumor the size of a lemon growing in her tiny six year old brain. The surgeon excised the tumor the same day yet this disease from Hades has come back with more of a vengeance than ever just a few months hence. The doctors have given her less than 3 months to live yet Josh and Lisa hold onto the hope that the Great Healer can work miracles the doctors simply can’t.

If prayer alone worked Ava would be up and running as so many people across the country and even the world are praying for her that it boggles the mind. I can’t discount prayer- it has gotten me through some of life’s biggest troubles- but as Josh has said, he needs time to work his plan. Will he get it? That is up to God. His father, Pastor Joel Hunter, of Longwood-Florida based Northland, A Church Distributed, I got to know while I ran the sports ministry there in from 1995 until 2001. He is one of President Obama’s handful of close spiritual advisors, and is a wonderful man even if I don’t necessarily agree with his current political views (although he was actually a die hard Mike Huckabee fan even though Huckabee never made it out of the starting gate) .

Behind the door in my office is a quote from a sermon Pastor Joel made on March 12, 2000. It helps motivate me every day and is simple in its message-“Get off the couch- Work WITH God….” Josh and Lisa are doing all they can to work with God and just need Ava to get well enough to get her to New Jersey to see a specialist who has had some success with GBM in children. When the success rates for survival beyond 12 months are in the low single digit you grab at any straw you can. I’m sure that is where Josh and Lisa are. What strikes me the most though is the strength they both have and raw honesty that Josh has in his blog site. It is amazing.

Couples relationships either strengthen or weaken when faced with adverse situations. Thankfully very few people have to deal with situations like this with their own child. Of those who do I would venture to say that in 99% of the situations it divides the couple. I was faced with similar situation early on in my marriage and while far from life-threatening it served as a catalyst to magnify other problems we had that under normal circumstances would probably have been surmountable. But all things happen for a reason so….that is why I am no longer married. This situation with Ava seems to have strengthened not only Josh and Lisa as a couple but their faith and commitment in God as well. I know that I and almost everyone I know has said that we would be screaming at God right now asking Him how He could do such a thing to such an innocent child let alone to parents who have dedicated their lives to serving Him at an early age (even though that’s pretty hard not to do when you are a PK or Preachers Kid as they are affectionately know). God also should note their grandfather has dedicated the past 40+ years of his life to leading others to the Lord. While I would be saying “Hey God, are you paying attention here?” Josh and Lisa instead seem to be accepting of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I’m sure they have screamed out in private- they had to have - but in public their resiliency is incredible. Joshs’s postings are so aching raw and from the heart that they have brought me to tears more than once, and when I think about the possible negative outcome…well I just don’t want to think about it…Yet Josh is seemingly accepting of God’s infinite plan. Read on..

I read the tumor reports tonight. It's big again. It's time that God step in and take it away. I have prayed it a million times today. I know God can do it. I only question whether or not He will. His plans are not always our plan, but I know enough to want to be a part of His plan, not mine. Ava is His and I have believed it all along. I still believe it. I want her here with us more than anything, but have no idea where God needs her. I can only pray it is here.

These next few months will require more strength and faith than we have, but not more than God will give

I am humbled by this man, someone who is 25 years younger than I yet so much more stable in his faith than I am as well.

Several years ago, when my kids weren’t much older than Ava, I did work with St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. I had never seen so many bald headed kids in one place in my life. I saw one child whose parents looked beyond distraught and asked the doctor what the deal was (this was in the pre-HIPAA days when you could actually talk about such things without fear of being slapped with a $250K fine). He said that the son was not going to make it beyond the week and they had finally accepted that reality. Huh? How do you accept that reality? I look at this child with his trusting eyes and weak smile and just wanted to switch positions with him right here and then. I know the parents felt the same way. This child has so much to live for…I asked the doc how he dealt with death day in and day out. He looked at me, smiled and said “More walk out of here than don’t and those who don’t we learn from to help others.” It’s a great philosophy but being a parent living it? I’m not sure how I actually would deal with it. Frankly I know how I would deal with it- I wouldn’t. I would lose it-completely. While I am weak- Josh and Lisa are oh so strong.

One of the traditions when you enter St. Jude is to rub the nose on the bronze bust of Danny Thomas for good luck. Does it work? Not for all but as the doctor said more walk out of here on their own than don’t….and sometimes that’s all you can ask for .

I wish there was a magic wand I could wave over not just Ava but everyone involved in this situation, but as Josh has accepted that God has a plan even if we don’t know what it is. He is a rock for his family even though I know his pain is there held deep inside. His family, especially his wife Lisa and son Noah, are like no other there with him every step of the way as are his brothers, all the Hunter family members, and their vast network of friends. His God is also like no other. Josh believes when everyone else has given up because he believes in a God that is bigger than all of us. I do too, but I’m one off from Josh. Chris Rice summed up my feelings well in his song called Naive..

How long until You defend Your name and set the record right
And how far will You allow the human race to run and hide
And how much can You tolerate our weaknesses
Before You step into our sky blue and say "That’s quite enough!"

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

I hear that a God who’s good would never let the evil run so long
But I say it’s because You’re good You’re giving us more time, yeah
‘Cause I believe that You love to show us mercy
But when will You step into our sky blue
And say "That’s quite enough, and your time is up!"

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

Am I naive...
Can I believe...
And can I bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You, to ask You, to ask You
How long?

Josh and Lisa are much more patient than I am….and much more accepting of
God’s master plan. As for me, my thoughts are much more simple and direct

Am I naive...
Can I believe...
And can I bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You, to ask You, to ask You
How long?

Please pray unceasingly for Ava and the entire Hunter family….They need it…and for that matter we all need it…because the life of this child and her family matter…

Friday, August 20, 2010

Who Am I Kidding?

Most people who know me don’t know that I run a sports ministry in addition to being a PACS consultant. As incredulous as it seems I’ve been doing a soccer ministry for 10 years and have been involved in sports ministry for almost 15 years. So yes, for those who are thinking this out loud already, God does have a serious sense of humor if He can use someone like me to help further the goals of Kingdom.

About a quarter of the people who play soccer with us every Friday night are those who could be considered religious. Another quarter are spiritual but not religious, and the remaining half heathens. I’m not saying which group I belong to either but I can assure you it’s certainly not the first. I’m one of those who feel Adam was framed and became the fall guy for Eve’s screw ups. After all here was a guy who was sound asleep when God stole a rib from him and created woman. He wakes up, feel this sharp pain in his side says “What the..?” and then suddenly there is this woman God created standing in front of him to make his life so special. You all know the rest of the story. Adam is off somewhere tending to the garden while Eve is being tempted by and losing to the Devil by disobeying God. Adam comes back, sees she ate the forbidden fruit and says “Eve, what have you done!” Now were it me I would have said “Yo, babe, you blew it, you’re out of here- NEXT!” How much better would life have been for men if he had just said to God “Look, God, Eve blew it no me. I was somewhere else in the garden when this bimbette decided to disobey you. Here’s the deal from my perspective. You created me with 24 ribs then took one to create this disobedient woman, so either even it out and make a new babe for me and send Eve off to wherever You want and I’ll live with 22 ribs or give me my old rib back and we’ll call it even and I’ll live alone. I was doing fine before You made her anyway and I still don’t understand why You felt I needed a mate…. but hey, you are God and know better than me so…..” But did he? Noooo. And did God? Noooooooo!! Instead Adam caves in to her feminine wiles, they both get tossed out of the garden, and men have been taking the blame and living hell ever since. Someone needs to rewrite Genesis for sure…

The same can be said with David. Sure, David should have been on the front lines leading his men into battle but for reasons no one really knows he stayed behind. And what happens? Some shameless married hussy named Bathsheba, who knew exactly what she was doing, mind you, bathed nude within eyesight of the poor king tempting him to do what he did, sending off for her and then…...the rest is history. Now that doesn’t mean David was right but come on!! what 37 year old man can resist looking at a very beautiful nude woman bathing and not want her? And Bathsheba could have said no too even if David was the king but, alas, he was no Quasimodo either, having "beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance" (Read 1 Samuel to get the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say). . No doubt she wanted him as much as he did her…and with him being king and all well….being knocked up by the king was inconsequential feat here either. I;m sure she was thinking- “Hmmmmm- possible queen or wife of a mere solder with the name Uriah the Hittite?” (side note- I wonder if the 70’s hard rock band Uriah Heep were descendants of his). The fact that David had 7 wives already - picking up one after his victory over Goliath, two during his flight from Saul, four more while he was King in Hebron- was a moot point. Did Bathsheba care? Nope. Did David? Nope. David was just the average King who liked to part-tay…, and Bathsheba conveniently became wife number eight while he was King in Jerusalem- after he had her hubby conveniently killed of course. But alas I digress… now where was I? Oh yes….

I’ve always been in awe of the folks who work for Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC). Not only do they all need be college graduates, but the interview process they go through rivals that of most major corporations. They require a written application, references and interviews, followed by an evaluation by their spiritual, personal, emotional and leadership abilities. There is not much difference between the CCC assessment and that at a major corporation, although most corporations could care less about your spiritual development restricting that to and end of quarter “Jesus Christ where is that contract you said would be here by now!!” If hired CCC candidates are responsible for coordinating weekly meetings, instructing Bible studies, leading outreach activities and helping student leaders to develop in a number of ways. Staff members also serve in a number of leadership capacities on the national and regional level utilizing skills in technology, human resource management, communications, finances and research and development. Sounds like a great job right- if that is your thing that is. Now comes the fun part. “Campus Crusade for Christ is a non-profit organization supported by donations from individuals, businesses, churches and foundations. Each staff member is responsible for securing contributions to cover his or her own salary and expenses.” Say what? Securing contributions to cover my salary and expenses? What kind of a job is this where I have to find sponsors before I can go to work…You guys are nuts!! And then I got to thinking….how am I any different?

Every day I secure contributions from individuals to cover my salary and expenses. True, I provide- or at least hope I provide- value for the compensation sent my way, but that’s not much different then what my friends at CCC do. People believe in them and their mission and send them money to support . People believe in me and my mission and send me money to support me. The only difference is that if I don’t provide the services I say I will I can be terminated or, God forbid, sued, but I’d rather be dropped by a client than have God be on my bad side because one of my sponsors felt I wasn’t living up to his or her expectations of what they had in mind for me to do- or worse what His expectations were of what He wanted me to do.. They don’t call the man upstairs a Higher Power for nothing you know…

So know that I could leave the PACS consulting world any day now and preach and prostilitze with the best of them at CCC since I have practice raising my own funds and all that. I even have the Pope’s mitre ready as well. Now if I could just pass the spirituality test….. but you have to make it past “In the beginning…..” and well, I’m just not there yet…