Dec4WedDecember 4, 2019
In September 2013, I began to write articles for our weekly Firstlight newsletter which Darlene, our Church Administrator, publishes each week. Since Pastor Tom joined our pastoral staff in 2017, the two of us have been alternate weeks to share what the Lord places upon our heart.
Typically, these articles are devotional in nature and highlight a few truths from Scripture. Sometimes the themes connect with the current sermon series. Sometimes the themes connect with the Scripture reading from the ‘Daily Scripture Guide.’ Less frequently, there have been updates from the Elders, from Illinois Mennonite Conference or other important information for our FMC family. This week, I am going to stray into the topic of a personal update. This is not, nor will be, the norm. However, I believe that this information will be most helpful, especially for those of you who have been following the needs of our family lately.
Luke, our youngest son, has had a series of testing and hospitalizations in the past few weeks. Throughout these tests, we have learned that Luke has a distended bowel and an unhealthy colon. Thus far, he has not been responding to traditional treatments. His pediatric gastrointestinal physician is also unsure of what other treatments to recommend. Therefore, Luke will be undergoing a full-body MRI this month (now set for Thurs, Dec. 19th) in order for the doctors to look for any signs of neurological issues connected with his GI tract. If these tests come back positive, then we’ll likely have a new course of treatment. However, if these tests come back negative, he will likely be referred to an out-of-state children’s hospital to further explore treatment possibilities. Janice has already been in contact with one hospital and is preparing for a week-long hospitalized evaluation for Luke, possibly within the next six weeks. Thank you all for your ongoing prayer support – especially for Luke and for Janice. As we learn definitive answers, I will share those with our congregation for prayer.
In addition, I will be taking a spiritual retreat in the next few days. Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus would often “withdraw to desolate places to pray.” I am so thankful that the Elders over the years have encouraged Pastor Tom and I to follow the example our Lord by taking days each year to individually withdraw for the sake of prayer, Scripture study and spiritual renewal. On Friday morning (6th), I will be flying to Florida and staying at Shell Point – a Christian retirement village by Fort Myers which is connected with the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination. I regret that I will be missing the children’s program and delicious Christmas meal on Sunday. However, my wife is very encouraging regarding the timing of this retreat and the Elders have given their unified support.
While there, I will be taking extended time to pray and fast for each person connected to FMC, to seek the Lord’s direction for the teaching ministry for 2020, and asking the Lord to show me ways I need to grow to be a more faithful and effective servant of His church. Relatives are providing me with lodging and the grounds are excellent for finding true solitude. Throughout this time, I will be disconnected from email and phone. If a need arises, please contact any of our Elders. I am planning to return on Wednesday (11th) in time for CHOW. If you have a specific need you’d like for me to pray for, please let me know ASAP.
May our Lord Jesus Christ continue to offer His joy, healing and steadfast love to all who need His supernatural touch this holiday season!