This summer Erin and I were blessed to have a weekly Bible Study in our home for the student athletes at Eastern Kentucky University. We got off to a slow start with a lot of the athletes going home for the first month of the summer. However, by July many were back and for the rest of the summer out living room was overflowing with students.
Each week we would dive into one of the devotions is the “True Competitor” devotional that FCA puts out. The lessons in the study are designed to help us realize where we are in our walk with Christ and also what needs to happen for us to grow closer and fully committed to Him. What I have loved about the study is that while it is very simple and easy to understand, no matter how long you have been a Christ-follower, it goes deep and really makes you think about what areas of your life need work and to be fully surrendered. I also love the fact that it really did foster some great discussion with our EKU athletes. Getting to hear what God was/is teaching them and their hearts for Christ was truly awesome.
Last night, we actually wrapped up our summer Bible study and I have to admit that I am a little sad as I will miss the weekly deep dive with the students. However, we are getting ready to launch our weekly meetings on campus and I can’t wait to see how they take what we studied this summer and really apply it through out the school year. Please keep praying for our students and also I highly recommend you check out “True Competitor” for yourself.
My wife says that I have a problem. That problem is that I love collecting and reading different Bibles. She has threatened to hurt me if I buy any more. While not prone to violence, I think I may believe her! Just kidding.
Anyway, earlier this year I made the switch to the Christian Standard Bible for my main personal Bible. I really like the fact that it is a great mixture of accuracy and easy to read. Falling right in the middle of most of the very literal and easy to read versions. I even got my daughter the CSB kids version because it’s easy to read to her and I know the truth of the Word is not compromised in anyway. I highly recommend the CSB to anyone looking for a great modern translation.
A few weeks ago, I saw that CSB has released their new study Bible. It’s a beautifully done Bible that has very detailed notes and study helps. Not only that, but the color pictures, maps, and design are awesome. After looking at the Bible I knew that I needed one, but didn’t want to risk my life.
I happened to be on Facebook and one of those ads where they offer you a deal on something you were googling popped up for the CSB Study Bible. It was to click here to get a free CSB Bible. I clicked on the link to a Lifeway page and saw that the deal was for people who work in churches, mainly pastors, to get a copy of a regular CSB reference Bible. However, there was a link to contact Lifeway if I had any questions. I figured what could it hurt to send a note to Lifeway so I clicked the message link. There I informed Lifeway that I am in Full Time ministry with FCA and was wondering if I could get a free promotional copy of the CSB Study Bible. I figured the worst they could tell me is no, so what did I have to lose? Lifeway responded pretty quickly and informed me that they didn’t normally give away promotional copies of the Study Bible, but would be happy to send me one!
Within a week I had my free hardback copy of the the CSB Study Bible! And I have to tell you that I love it. The pages are thick, glossy, and high quality. The amount of work and detail in the notes is awesome and I know that this is going to aid me both in personal study and preparation for Bible studies and speaking opportunities that I may have in the future. The only negative with this Bible that I may have is just that it is large and heavy. So while great for personal home and office study, I wouldn’t want to pack it to church and other places very often. Hopefully they will come out with a more personal size version in the future. That being said, I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a great study Bible. And a big thanks to Lifeway for the gift of this amazing study tool for sharing God’s Word!
The past week and a half has definitely not gone the way that I had envisioned it would. I hoped that I would be in the middle of a whirlwind of ministry, traveling to various schools training students and coaches to do FCA, and leading Bible studies. However, that has not been the case and I have pretty much been confined to my house, the doctors office of the hospital.
For about two weeks I have been having a lot of pain that gradually got worse and worse. Pain when I sat and pain when I moved. Friday night a week ago I was in bad enough pain that went to urgent care. Unfortunately they misdiagnosed and the meds they gave me did nothing to help me. By Sunday, a week ago today, I was in such bad pain that I had my wife take me to the emergency room where I spent most of the day. While the ER was not able to totally fix me up they were able to give me pain meds and make it a lot easier for me to deal. Finally, on Tuesday I met with a surgeon who diagnosed my issue and set up surgery on Wednesday. It turns out I had a problem called a fistula. I’ll let you google that and find out what all that means, but I warn you not to look at the pictures. So Wednesday, I had outpatient surgery which went well, but now I have to go back and meet with the surgeon again, set up a time for a colonoscopy, and make a plan for what comes next.
Since Wednesday evening, I have been at home on bedrest. The good news is that I am slowly starting to feel a little better and move around some. While there is still pain, I am in nowhere near the amount of pain that I was in before the surgery. And hopefully this week I will be able to get out among the living and while not at 100% at least be able to do some things.
The good thing to come out of this is first of all that I have been forced to get some rest. When you are stuck in bed and on pain meds that make you sleepy, you sleep. So for the first time in awhile I feel refreshed as far as sleep goes. The second good thing that has actually been the best thing is once again being forced to rely more on God. This first came into play with just being in pain and having to pray and pray and pray to be delivered from the pain I was in. Then more prayer for doctors, surgery, healing and everything going on in my body that I don’t fully understand right now.
I have also been forced to depend on God through all the worry, discouragement, and depression that Satan has been throwing at me. Worries such as worry about how I am going to pay for all these medical bills and what am I going to do about our family’s financial support for ministry which is not at 100%. Worries about important meetings and Bible studies that I am missing while being stuck at home. In times when I should be encouraged by the awesome friends that God has given me me that have called and texted to check on me, I’ve found Satan trying to discourage me with the fact that I am stuck inside and had no friends visit. Depressed that I just haven’t been able to be up interacting and enjoying my family. I don’t list these things to be whiney or to elicit sympathy, but to be honest about lots of the things going on in my mind right now. And then to also let you know that my God is bigger than all these issues. He will meet all my medical and financial needs. He has given me great friends and will give me more. God will take care of all my meetings and Bible studies. Whether that being letting them go on without me or rescheduling them. He will allow me to be a good Dad and Husband to my family. Instead of letting the stillness and forced time of rest drive me nuts with discouragement from Satan, I have to remind myself that God says I need to be still and know He is is God. Nothing is to big or small for Him. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
So please pray for me that I will seek God deeper each day, even when this health issue is over. Pray that I will get healthy soon and get back to just being able to do and enjoy life without pain. Pray for the issues that Satan has thrown at me to worry about, that God would meet those needs and I would continue to trust He will do so. And lastly that even though it’s hard I would enjoy being able to rest!
I know, I know, I know that New Year’s resolutions are usually those things that we say we are going to to do and then we never keep up with them. If we are good we keep them for a week and if we are lucky sometimes maybe a month. And yet we still keep trying to do them. That’s where I find myself this year, back at trying to keep resolutions.
The first resolution that I wanted to do this year was to find a devotional that I could work through during my quiet time throughout the year. Thankfully for Christmas I was given a copy of New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. It’s a year long devotional that has a new thought for you to read each morning, then expands on that thought, and then sends you to scripture to reflect on what God says. This devotional has been a huge blessing in my walk with Christ and is something that I honestly can’t wait to jump into each morning. If you are looking for a good devotional to work through this year I highly recommend this one.
As always, my second resolution is to start taking better care of myself physically. Erin and I were blessed with a gift at Christmas that allowed us to join our local YMCA. We have been trying to do things as a family there to be healthy like swimming, but I’m also trying to get up early enough to go workout and get myself to a healthier weight and state of mind. So far things are going well, and I am committed to really taking the necessary steps. For some reason going to the gym isn’t as daunting when you don’t work there all the time!
There are many days left in 2017, but I am committed to becoming both spiritually and physically fit in the days, weeks, and months ahead!
Tonight I start a 4 week study at my Dad’s church on Kyle Idelman’s book study “Not a Fan.” I have had the pleasure of leading this study several times for teens, but this will be the first time I have led it for adults. Please be praying for me as I challenge this group to move from being fans of Christ to true devoted followers of Christ. It’s a message that has impacted me on a personal level and so many of the teens my wife and I work with. Pray that God will use this study and give me words that come from Him to have maximum impact for His Kingdom. I am excited to see where God is going to lead and what He is going to do, so please please pray!
A couple of weeks ago we started back to school with our weekly FCA Huddles at Lee County High School and Middle School. It’s been great getting back to seeing our students each week and being able to share with them from God’s word in their schools. The exciting thing to report has been the growth in our Middle School FCA Huddle. This year we are averaging over 40 students a week and they are not only excited to be there, but they are bringing their friends. Our Huddle at the high school is doing well in that we have a faithful core group of students who are coming and we are really enjoying getting to know better. However, we have lost a lot of students who came last year. Please pray for us that we will be able to get these students to come back and participate. Also, be praying for my wife Erin as she is hoping to start a Bible study with some of our older FCA students and even one or two of our former students. We are excited to see God do something great this year through our FCA Huddles and as you to pray for us and our students each day!