Monday, February 28, 2011

A Bright Future!?

Often, reading the newspaper and watching the news can be pretty depressing. Turmoil, unrest, and hate seem to consume our world. As a youth pastor, I sometimes wonder if our young people even stand a chance in today's culture. However, then I remember that with God all things are possible. God's power and goodness endures forever...that includes today and tomorrow.

As Christians, we always see the future through the lens of hope. We are always excited and passionate about the future and what it holds. Our excitement is not due to us being na├»ve about humanity. The future is not promising because people are innately getting better…we’re not. The future is promising because through Christ “the light is already shining and the darkness will soon disappear.” The future is promising because God is “making all things new.” Our task is to have a relationship with the One who controls every future. Listen to the words God gave to the Israelites:

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your children might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

The people were given a promise and a warning. If they would center their lives on God and his mission, the future would be good. However, if they chose to live apart from him and his purposes, their future would become bleak. The same is true for us; no one can hinder God’s future for us except ourselves.

Let us strive to be a people who “love God and are committed to him, because he is our life.” Rejoice in this hope! He is our future!

Monday, February 14, 2011

When You're in Love...

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
–Jesus (Matthew 13)

Suppose you found out about a piece of land that had large amounts of gold buried in it. The gold was worth millions of dollars. However, in order to buy the land you would have to sell your house and cars. Of course this would be an easy decision for most. Who cares what you have to give up…here is real treasure! The amount you would gain would outweigh what you lost.

In Philippians chapter 3, Paul is talking about everything he had before he began following Christ. He was from a great family, had a good education, and he was a member of the most popular group in town the Pharisees. He had it all…he had the “good life.” Yet, look at what he says about these things: “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).

Paul says that all his stuff and all his achievements are insignificant when compared to the value of knowing Christ. Indeed, he would endure any persecution and any trial because he had found this treasure. He had found Christ and nothing was going to keep him from being his disciple.

I remember when Kelli and I were about to get married, my single guy friends made comments like: “What are you doing? Are you sure? One woman for life? You sure you don’t want to date around some more?” Yet, what my friends couldn’t understand (and what I couldn’t explain) is that when you’re in love—really in love—the other “options” don’t even exist. You are not even aware of them because you’ve found this treasure and so nothing else’s all garbage.

It is the same with our relationship with Christ…our journey with him will include trials and tribulations. Following him is not always easy and there is a cost involved. But none of those things really matter because we’ve found this treasure…it’s all worthless in comparison to knowing Christ and following him.  We have found something greater…something better.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keeping Up With Kenzie

Yesterday we had a doctor's appointment for Kenzie. She was sent home with an EEG machine attached to her head...which monitored her brain the entire night. We took her back today to see the results. The doctor gave us really good news...they have ruled out Infantile Spasms. They now believe she is having partial-complex seizures. This is good news because seizures are easier to treat and typically do not cause developmental problems. She is now beginning a new medicine to treat the seizures. She will also have an MRI done in about 2 weeks. We will keep you updated on her progress. Thanks again for your prayers!
-Brandon and Kelli

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kenzie Update

As many of you already know, Sunday our daughter Kenzie was diagnosed with Infantile Massive Spasms (IMS), a rare disorder in the Epilepsy family. The prognosis is not great with a high probability of seizure problems throughout life as well as mental developmental problems. The doctors are aggressively treating her with a steroid in hope the IMS-related seizures will decrease.

The spasms do not cause Kenzie pain and her physical health is not in jeopardy. We took her back to the neurologist yesterday and received some good news. Her EEG looked much better than the one she took Sunday. The doctor was surprised and excited by this development. This is a sign that the medicine (and your prayers) are working. He has increased the dosage and we will go back to him next Thursday. Thank you very much for your prayers. We feel blessed to have so much love and support. The Lord has really given us both a peace about the whole situation. Please continue to pray: (1) Healing for Kenzie, (2) Wisdom for the doctors, and (3) Strength for us. -Brandon and Kelli

"God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in times of trouble." -Psalm 46:1