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Since you asked, the header photos are ones I've taken from around the world. There's no specific meaning to size or placement; I just like them.

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Tuesday
Jul232013

Watch for my update later this afternoon.

We weren't able to read the scans with our doctor but I got a disc of the MRI images that we can read when we get home in a few hours.

Chris

Monday
Jul222013

More scans tomorrow...

Tomorrow I go to Swedish Hospital in Seattle for two more brain scans, a MRI and a CT scan. These are 'mapping' scans in preparation for the Cyberknife procedure coming up soon. We're praying for a clean scan, of course, so nothing further will need to be done, however... if the Cyberknife is necessary we're very thankful for the skilled doctors we're surrounded by and the amazing 'tools' available now.

Here is the last scan. The area circled in red is the area they're concerned about.

Thank you again for your prayers for my family. As you can imagine, each scan is a nervous time for them and I would give anything for this to be over so they never have to worry about me again.

To God be the glory for the great things He has done, the great things He is doing, and the great things He will do!

Tuesday
Jul092013

True Apostles

The older I get the more I'm aware of the lack of respect for the 'elders' in our society, and civilization as a whole. I guess this begs the question: "Who really deserves respect in the first place?"

I respect people who have their lives established on firm foundations, proven principles that never fail. I respect people that respect others. I respect humble people. I respect people who have paid a price, those who bear the 'stripes' and have earned the right to speak, speak with authority. I respect anyone that has lived one day longer than I have. I respect anyone that has paid the price to selflessly love others. I respect those who love God, and I show respect to those whom God has told me to respect.

I respect every person I meet simply because Jesus died for them. He loves them. He has given them worth and I respect the worth that He has bestowed upon them.

I must admit, however, that there are those I do not respect, but love nonetheless. I will speak directly to the spiritual side of life. I do not respect self-appointed, self-anointed, so called prophets and apostles who set themselves up and expect people to follow them. These people are dangerous and folks should flee from them as fast as they can.

It takes discernment from God to really know who these folks are, for they come as wolves disguised as sheep. They appear as angels of light, and immature, good natured servants of God, are easily drawn to them. They appeal to the fleshly instincts of humans and deceive others because they themselves are deceived. Instead of pointing people to Jesus Christ they attempt to draw people to themselves.

The real power they have are the spirits that go with them, and use them to do their bidding. The very fact that the person has become a 'carrier' already speaks to their innate weakness. Rather than doing the clear will of God, the spirits have found a way to use them to do their bidding.

When the disciples asked Jesus, "What will be the sign of your coming?", Jesus said, "Watch that no man deceives you." That statement should drive all of us to our knees, and to His Word. We should humble ourselves and listen to those who have paid the price and gone before us; those who have fought the battles, who know the lay of the land, who understand the schemes of the enemy, and those who truly do have a mature relationship with God Himself, those who hear His voice and can speak forth with real power and authority. These are those worthy of respect.

Even so, as Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." No one is to be followed who does not follow Jesus Christ. Apostles know who their 'Head' is, they know His voice and they speak as He speaks. They have the heart of God for the body of Christ, and they have God's heart for the lost. As they go forth Jesus is with them to perform His Word, to establish His promises, to heal, to deliver, to lay the foundations of His Kingdom, to bring forth the Good News, to save the lost, to heal the broken hearted, to release those in bondage, to bring them into the true freedom found only in the Holy Spirit.

The true apostle is not interested in establishing his own 'kingdom' but laying the foundations of His Kingdom. The true apostle is looking for the moment when the Kingdom may go forth and hell can't stop it. The true apostle will give up any earthly thing to gain the true reward. The true apostle runs from the approval of man and runs straight into the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

The true apostle will be steadfast in the midst of great trial and suffering. The true apostle does not find it necessary to tickle the ears of his 'hearers'. The true apostle preaches the Word as God leads Him and prays it will find receptive 'soil'. But, even if it does not, He will preach and preach and preach until he has no breath in him.

The true apostle will not seek, or listen to, the accolades of men. Period.

There is only One, True Apostle: the Lord Jesus Christ. He decides who His apostles are, and He Himself will make it clear to others just who these apostles are.

Listen to Jesus... follow Him. Find those who know Him. Listen to them until you can 'hear' for yourself. Then listen to Him, and them, more. And more. And more. There will always be someone wiser than you. Always.

Wednesday
Jul032013

Results of our conference call

Yesterday afternoon we had a conference call with my radiosurgery specialist to determine the best course of action. His recommendation is the CyberKnife with no chemotherapy.

The CyberKnife is a remarkable way to perform radiation with precision and without damaging neighboring tissue. The painless procedure takes about an hour and then I would go home.

With every treatment option there are possible side effects and long range concerns. The tumor site is on the brain stem so the precision of the CyberKnife is comforting. Radiation can cause swelling which can have various ramifications such as headache and possible seizures and they've assured me that if that happened they can help me through it. There is also the possibility of other problems that happen to approximately one in twenty patients. 

We're praying, as a family, whether this is best way to go right now. God is my Primary Care Physician and we take all the opinions and lay them at His feet. We have a couple of weeks before we must make a decision.

Once again, thank you all for your prayers for my family and me. I'll do my best to keep you all up to date.

God bless!

Saturday
Jun292013

Dr. Greg Foltz has passed away...

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2013/06/reverd-brain-surgeon-greg-foltz.html

It is with great sadness that I share the news that my neurosurgeon, Dr. Greg Foltz, passed away Thursday night, surrounded by his family. As many of you know, Dr. Foltz had been battling Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Foltz, who was 50 years old, had spent the last 20 years as a pioneer and champion for advancing brain cancer research in the hope of one day finding a cure. His compassion and dedication to his patients was, and is, an inspiration to us all. The Swedish Foundation has been working with Dr. Foltz and his wife, Luba, on a celebration of his life, which is scheduled for July 15 at Benaroya Hall. Please access the link below for more information on this event. We welcome your attendance in support of Dr. Foltz and his family.

http://www.swedishfoundation.org/foltz-event

Tuesday
Jun042013

A quick vacation recap

Sandy and I just returned from 15 days of vacation and conference in Florida. We stayed in five or six places and thoroughly enjoyed our time away.

We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and attended our annual Foursquare International Conference. Seems like an odd mix but it worked.

I needed to get some answers on this trip, especially at the conference. God was so gracious to answer my questions and, in doing so, start a whole new list of questions moving forward.

We came home with a load of new books to read, web sites to visit, new friends to follow up with, and, of course, old friends to finish new conversations with. It was a rich time.

Sandy was able to show me all the places she fell in love with during her previous visits. We also ate at her favorite restaurant three times. And even though we ate without conscience, we only gained a few pounds. :)

I'll share more on Sunday (at church) and add some deeper insights in a few days.

Tuesday
May142013

Fear is your friend

Normal SnowbridgeWhen I was sixteen I approached the edge of a deep crevasse, trying to decide if the collapsed snow bridge inside it would be strong enough for our team to cross so we could get on with our climb. It was 4:30am and everything on the mountain was frozen solid. The full moon was all the light we needed.

I asked for a belay from one of the climbers. He chuckled, a serious violation of the rules. (If a climber asks for a belay there is no question about it, no reaction other than to set the belay.) The belay was set and as I approached the edge of the crevasse a crack formed the size of a box car, completely encircling me. The entire thing could go at any moment, or it was no big deal. My heart beat was telling me it was a big deal. A really big deal. And my buddy that set the belay wasn't chuckling any more.

After a few minutes it appeared that the ice was stable, so the next thing I had to do was cut steps down the inside wall of the crevasse. This way I could use the steps to get to where I could jump over to the collapsed snow bridge and test it to see if it would hold our weight. (People were always asking me why I did this stuff; unless you do it there's no way to explain it.)

After climbing to the bottom step I took a deep breath and jumped over to the snow bridge. I looked down into the blackness of the crevasse and the only way to guess the depth of it was to listen to the ice falling into it and see if you could hear it hit the bottom. I never heard anything hit the bottom.

I jumped up and down on the snow bridge and it was rock solid. Everyone was able to cross with no problems. There was no guarantee, of course, that when we came back down the mountain, and the sun had been on it for a few hours, that it would still hold our weight. We might need to find another route later. Another rule broken. The fact that I'm writing this is a good indicator that we found another route.

I'm writing about this to talk about fear. Did I have to deal with fear during this little episode? Sure. Did I let fear defeat me? It's not that simple. I've read many so called experts write about fear but their words leave me wondering if they've ever felt fear, real fear, cold, numbing fear.

Fear isn't something you conquer... it's something you learn to work with. Conquering fear is a trap. It sounds so macho, but fear is like a friend. You learn to trust and respect fear. Fear is always with you and it's there to watch over you. If you 'conquer' fear and you ignore it you usually wind up getting hurt.

Cops, firefighters and mountain climbers, and anyone else that's extended beyond their comfort zone, learn to appreciate fear. They train and work with it, and exercise courage so they can do what they do in spite of it. Fear is ever present, and it should be while your training eventually builds confidence and your friend fear steps aside, or at the very least it stops talking.

Training and experience teach you not only how to use your equipment, but that you can trust your equipment. And, beyond that, you learn that you can trust the guy next to you. When a team knows their job, trusts their equipment, and trusts one another, they're in a good place to get the job done, or the mountain climbed, safely. Trust helps your friend fear to relax and know it's all going to be OK. And, at the end of the day, everyone goes home to their loved ones in one piece.

There's a difference, of course, between fear and risk. I'll talk about that next time.

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