Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Health Update

But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. (Nehemiah 4:7-9)

I've always liked this passage from Nehemiah, because it so succinctly sums up the two-pronged approach I take to things like last week's surprise hospital visit: Nehemiah prayed for protection AND posted a guard. Likewise, I contacted everyone I knew, through email and this blog, to pray for me, and I'm taking my medication and doing what my doctor tells me.

Thanks to so many who commented and emailed me with prayers of support & encouragement, prayers of spiritual warfare (you're right -- the timing is completely suspect), and prayers for healing, and also some prophetic words. If anyone has ever doubted whether this online blogging thing can actually be "community", I have an answer for you: "Yes." I have been touched and blessed by the comments and emails from people whom I've known for years, and also from those who I know only through cyberspace, literally from around the world. Thank you, everyone, and may God bless you for your intercession on behalf of myself and my family.

A quick update:

I'm scheduled for some further tests on October 27 in the afternoon, where they'll be injecting me with glow-in-the-dark stuff for monitoring my heart during some exercise tests. When they tell you to report to "Nuclear Medicine -- it's in the basement...", you feel like you're entering the Twilight Zone or something.

In the meantime, I'm taking blood-thinners (aspirin) and a beta-blocker which is to slow my heart rate down. The nitroglycerin hasn't been used yet, and Lord willing, it won't ever need to be, although I keep it with me as instructed.

Other than that, I'm doing normal, everyday stuff, and I'm not in discomfort much, aside from being suddenly banned from Tim Horton's and Starbucks -- even our coffeemaker at home has been removed from it's place of honour in the kitchen.

I'll keep you updated as things progress here, and would covet your prayers especially October 27, but for now, know that I'm appreciative for your prayers, and they are having their effect -- good to have righteous people praying effective prayers around me!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Long Night...

I spent all last night (and a good chunk of today) in a local hospital, hooked up to monitors of all sorts and giving blood like a swooning syncophant at a vampire convention.

Well, it seemed like a lot of blood, anyway.

Seems that I may have some sort of blockage happening in my heart (not speaking in spiritual metaphors this time), and after numerous tests, blood-lettings, and what seemed like everything short of applying leeches, they're still not completely sure what's wrong with me. So, I get to go back for more extensive tests in two weeks.

In the meantime, I'm on several different kinds of pills, and I get to carry an inhaler full of nitroglycerin everywhere I go -- "just in case".

"What does that mean, exactly -- 'just in case'?" I ask.

"Try it a maximum of three times, and if it doesn't help, call 9-1-1 right away."

A real confidence-booster, comments like that one!

One of the neat things about last night was being able to pray (along with Wendy) for a young youth pastor who was just outside my door (hallway medicine, anyone?), in agony due to gallstones that he's isn't scheduled to have removed for another couple of weeks.

Another treasured moment was my father coming to see me late last night, and to have him pray for me there in the hospital. There's something very, very cool about having a father who prays.

On that note, I would covet your prayers on my behalf, as well. I'll keep everyone posted once I know more myself.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Leaders, Can You Hear Me?

Len Hjalmarson emailed me recently with this challenge:

"Rob, you have one hour to tell 25 pastors and leaders what they need to know about leadership in this transitional time.

"What are you going to ask them?

"What things do you want them to know?"

Because I really like the example of Jesus, I think I'd respond to any questions by asking more questions. Even if I could get something condensed down to one hour, why would a talking head (especially mine) be helpful? Questions that would make them think, long after the hour was over, would be preferable (admittedly, these are just a wee bit on the "pointed" side).

Assorted Questions
  1. Are you listening to me? Really listening? (Matthew 11:15, The Message)

  2. Are the emerging generations (teenagers & 20-somethings) attracted to your church, or are they leaving?

  3. If they're leaving or have already left, to what do you attribute this?

  4. Have you actually asked any of them?

  5. On what Scripture passage do you base the idea that "leaving our church = falling away from God"?

  6. Listen to the following quote from a 20-something friend of mine in Winnipeg; she is articulating a common theme:
    "I am not really interested in where the church is going per se, but if there is a safe place for my parched and weary soul."
    (a) How would you respond to her statement?

    (b) When was the last time you read the Parable of the Lost Sheep
    (Luke 15:3-7)?

  7. Have any of you created a flowchart or diagram to demonstrate your effectiveness as a leadership team in living out the following verses?

    • "Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'" (Matthew 20:25-28)

    • "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4)

    • "When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. 'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them. 'You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.'" (John 13:12-15)
  8. Are you listening to me? Really listening? (Matthew 11:15, The Message)