Its now been four months since my prostate surgery. I went in to see my Urologist and he said I was doing fine. The real indicator of how successful they were with the cancer is in the PSA test, however. Cancer is the most likely culprit for an elevated PSA level, which is under 4.0 in a healthy male. After six years of tests and biopsies, my PSA level was up to nearly 12.0 when they finally found the cancer.
When the PSA follow-up test came back last week it was at .04, or what they call undetectable. I’m sure it will be zero by the next time they test it. So I am cancer-free and a cancer survivor! Although there is still some nerve trauma from the surgery to recover from, it is getting better every day.
I am reminded of the awesome promise God gave to the Israelites in Exodus 15:26: “I am the Lord that heals thee.”
Today marks the four week period since my surgery and I’m doing well enough to report back to work tomorrow. My first speaking engagement is this Wednesday night when I’m preaching a Thanksgiving message. I hope you’ll make a special effort to make this one-hour time a part of your Thanksgiving holiday plans. I will be sharing some things to be thankful for that the economy cannot take from us.
This is my final entry in the Casting Out Cancer category of my blog. But, I can see that this blog has connected us in the body in a new way, and I think I may continue it. I might continue to develop a daily blog devotional idea to keep us connected.
I am claiming Isaiah 50:4: “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the Lord that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”
I will ask God to give me a word for the body of Christ every day. Would that be a waste of time? What do you think?
This morning we went to church with Jenny and Josh down in Cool Springs (Brentwood), a southern suburp of Nashville. This church is a part of the Foursquare denomination and meets in an industrial office park in a warehouse, using several surrounding buildings for childcare, etc. Its name is New Song Christian Fellowship and attendance runs about 775 in two Sunday morning services. It is contemporary in its worship. Here are some observations:
- Early service started at 8:45 AM and ran a full two hours (worship 40 minutes).
- They have children’s ministry during the service up through grade 6. 7th grade and up are in the service with the adults. They do have occasional or seasonal morning worship times for youth that opens up the sanctuary for more adults.
- Attendance in early service was about 400 and it was 95% full. Age span was equally spread from 20-60, although I saw about 15 folks older than me who all sat in the front 4 rows (great examples). A small number of teens sat with their parents, not off in a back row.
- Although Nashville is a multi-racial city, the church was mostly white. In a downtown store you might see 50% whites, but this church was clearly white, located in an affluent area.
- The volume was cranked up much louder than New Hope. You felt like the praises you were singing filled the room.
- Color was a big thing in the front compared the plain white we have at New Hope.
- They celebrated a new church plant that started the previous week in a theater in Murfreesboro.
- This church made good use of video testimonies on the topic of thanksgiving. Good job.
- The pastor, Dale Evrist, did a good job with the word, although a little different from my expositional style. I’m more of a teacher, and he’s very motivational and builds community well.
- We saw some folks we knew there: Kevin Rowe, formerly from Angola, and Sue (Graber) Dettwiler, formerly from Auburn, who, along with her husband, is on staff there. The Dettwilers have just adopted two boys from Brazil.
In all, we enjoyed the service and will attend again when we’re down here again. We would consider making this our church home if we lived down here. But, we look forward to be back at New Hope this week. What are your observations of a church you visited?
While I spent time developing a sermon series for January, Anita, Jenny and Lauren set up a Christmas tree in the living room yesterday. Its a little early, but we’ve brought Christmas gifts along and will be opening them before we leave.
My granddaughter Lauren is now a 5-year old dishwater blonde who attends pre-school at a Baptist Church two days a week. She has a daily chore list posted on the pantry door and appears to be very responsible. As a typical little girl, she learns from every thing she sees. While setting up Christmas decorations, we heard her exclaim, “Oh, how romantic!” We wondered how a 5-year old picked a phrase like that up.
Later she wanted us to watch a DVD with her on the cartoon story of The Twelve Princesses. In that story we heard one of the 12 princesses say, “Oh, how romantic!” That illustrates the importance of the influence of TV on impressionable little kids, and how important it is for parents to screen what they see and hear.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? Why or why not?
Last night we drove to Opry Mills Mall and ate at the Rainforest Restaurant, a treat for the kids. This restaurant is like a rainforest version of Chuck E. Cheese, with robotic (but realistic) Gorillas and elephants that came alive every 15 minutes. A thunderstorm occured every half hour that including flashing lights, rolling thunder, and terrified animals. Lauren loved it, but it scared Reuben. We then drove to the huge Opryland Hotel, where we took a loooong walk to see all the lights and Christmas decorations. After that walk I understood that that problem with the incision wasn’t my belt, but was just irritated from doing too much. Healed on the outside, it still is sensitive on the inside. Boy, that really stings.
This morning Josh (my son-in-law) and I drove downtown to Gruhn Guitars with my Dad’s classic guitar. George Gruhn is the nation’s foremost authority on Gibson Les Paul guitars. He went over that guitar with a fine tooth comb, listed every possible blemish, and appraised it at $25,000. Not a bad investment seeing he paid $200 for it new back in 1953.
My 17-month old grandson, Reuben, is an active tow head and looks just like his Uncle Nathan when he was that age. But Nathan was very compliant, and Reuben wants to be in charge, just like his mother at that age. I’ve been very blessed to watch his Mom deal with this strong willed guy. She keeps a wooden spoon handy and will not allow him to throw a fit, which he tries to do quite often. But he doesn’t want the spoon so is learning to control his anger. I’m proud of them both.
Do you have experience dealing with a strong-willed child?
Yesterday, with a funeral and church, I wore a belt all day for the first time since surgery. By the time I got home, one of my incisions was really sore (right under the belt). So I was glad to go back to the sweat pants today.
We left at 9AM to drive to Nashville and arrived about 4:30PM Indiana time. We didn’t see any sunshine until we got into Nashville. Its 50° today, a big change from the 37 you all experienced. We saw light traffic and no accidents. At least I think so, as I slept while Anita drove this time. Its more comfortable for me to recline the seat back.
The first thing my 5-year old granddaughter wanted to do was color with me, so I tried my best to stay within the lines, until my 17-month old grandson wanted to do the same thing, and he scribbled all over my fine artwork. I’m sure glad I didn’t get a grade on that final artwork.
What memories do you have of Nashville, Tennessee?
Today I did ministry for the first time since surgery as I preached Max Shumaker’s funeral. It was good to see some of Max’s friends that don’t attend church here anymore. And I’m glad I was able to share words of comfort with the family.
Tomorrow Anita and I leave for Nashville, Tennessee. We put this off to the very end of my medical leave to make sure I was up to it, and I think I am now.
I’ve finished reading David Barton’s book The Bullet-Proof George Washington. David Barton is a Christian historian who writes books on early American history with an emphasis upon the Christian roots of the founding fathers. The problem is, he sometimes tries to rewrite the story by leaving out or adding to the story a bit. For example, in this book he tells the story of how, early in the French and Indian War, George Washington led a group of colonists to try to take prisoner some French diplomats, but it turned sour and some Fenchmen were killed. In reality, George and the colonists thought they spotted a French raiding party, but ambushed a French peacemaking force, and killed the diplomat carrying peace papers. It was an international scandal and George Washington was blamed for it.
Some people think that we have to make heroes perfect people. George Washington was a genuine hero, but he made a major blunder early on that taught him a life-long lesson. I don’t think there are great heroes that haven’t failed along the way. What do you think?