From the monthly archives:

October 2009

Fair Haven

October 24, 2009

Acts 27:4-7 … “the winds were contrary… we sailed slowly… with difficulty we came to Fair Havens.”

Fair Havens.  In the midst of a difficult crossing, the sailor long for a place called Fair Havens.

Paul knew that Fair Havens was not the end of his journey.  He was on his way to Rome and would not be stopped by violent opposition, unscrupulous kings, prisons, chains or any other “contrary wind” that cut across his sail.  Fair Havens welcomed him for a brief time before the dangerous crossing to his providential destination.

We have reached Fair Havens.  This next Wednesday, October 28 at 9 am, Jan and I will teleconference with an Administrative Law Judge in Miami.  Our lawyer, Valerie Eastwood, along with Jan’s transplant specialist, Dr. Uday Popat, will also participate from Washington, D.C. and Houston.  The “contrary winds” will also be represented to defend their decision to deny Jan’s coverage for the stem cell transplant.

These last weeks have been spent in discussions, research, and planning our defense which we are convinced, both legally and ethically, is correct and will prevail.  Our lawyer is also convinced that we are correct in pushing against these winds that are keeping us from our ultimate destination.

We need your help.  Over these next days, please pray for our planning and preparation.  On Wednesday at 9 am, pray that the Lord would give great peace and bring His order to the day.

We have now been in this journey since last June when I talked to Jan on the telephone while in India and she told me about the real potential for healing through the stem cell transplant.  It was the first night in sixteen years that I went to bed hopeful that this long trial could end.  Since that day, we have experienced the contrary winds that would suggest that we should give up the journey.  Yet, God in His mercy has encouraged us time and again that we are centered in His will.

Now we are looking towards Fair Havens.  We believe that the judge will rule in our favor and then we will prepare for the difficult passage of the stem cell transplant.  It will be several days to weeks before the judge gives his ruling but we will rest, knowing that our Father has us in the palm of His hand.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11



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I Must See Rome

October 15, 2009

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People who do extraordinary things are ordinary people who do what other people will not.

Talk to those who experience life to the fullest and you will find  they are both infectiously fascinating and rather ordinary in talent and temper.  God has called the ordinary to do the extraordinary.  He has equipped his normal (some say boring) children with the extraordinary riches of heaven.  So why don’t more experience the extraordinary life?  It is because our eyes are not open and often intentionally shut.  It is the reason Paul prayed,

…that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those He called.  I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance He has given to his people.

Well said, Brother Paul.

Eyes tightly shut keep us from the hope He has for us and the riches of our heavenly inheritance.  There has always been the false sense in the church that troubles and trials limit our ability to serve or receive.  That is why the most common prayers in the midst of troubles are the prayer for deliverance and preferably a miracle.  After all, to see the miracle would certainly draw the unbeliever to Him, don’t you think?

The “Contending for the Blessing”, the “Give in Order to Get” and my personal favorite, the “Let Me Win the Lottery and I’ll REALLY Bless the Church” prayers are some of the most heartfelt and misguided prayers heard.  It is no wonder that many get discouraged early and leave the “answered prayers” to those whose connection to God seems more blessed.

Jerusalem was on Paul’s mind.  Having studied for years in the Temple and loving his heritage, Jerusalem held his heart throughout the years of missionary travel in Asia, Macedonia, and Greece.  Beyond hometown Jerusalem though was another city where his heart was drawn.  Rome was the center of the world.  It was Rome where all roads met and Rome where the Emperor, the ruler of the world system, was center stage.  If “all roads led to Rome” then all roads ended at Caesar’s throne.

Paul saw beyond Jerusalem, beyond the places that were familiar.  He was an ordinary man who dreamed about the extraordinary.  After determining to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem (the opposite direction of Rome, mind you) he makes this declarative statement,
“I must also see Rome.”

How satisfied are you with the accomplishments for the Gospel your life has wrought? God gives a “Rome” to every heart… a dream, often in the opposite direction from what is familiar and already accomplished, that can either empower the extraordinary or be put on a shelf to gather dust.  Paul’s declaration galvanized his heart, set his course and won the day.

Time does not allow the history lesson of the seven to ten years of struggle that lay ahead of the man who would see Rome.  But before he would reach Caesar’s palace,

  • The church begged him to forgo his plans. Acts 21:12
  • The Jews in Jerusalem beat him and tried to kill him.  Acts 21:31
  • He was imprisoned for over two years before being heard by the local fop of a king. Acts 24:27
  • When allowed to speak, was told he was simply crazy. Acts 26:24
  • Finally sent to Rome, he was caught in a terrible storm for over two weeks and shipwrecked, one of three times in his life, on the island of Malta. Acts 27
  • After swimming to the land, he was immediately bit by a poisonous viper. Acts 28:3
  • After another 4 months, Paul walks through the gates of Rome in chains, a prisoner who had come to preach.  Acts 28

“I must see Rome,” was his ultimate call and passion.  He did not know why or how God would use him, he only knew that God had called an ordinary man to do the extraordinary things of the Kingdom.  The Book of Acts does not end with the death of Paul but with the completion of his mission.  Though miracles abounded along the way, it was the tenacity and dogged commitment of the little Jew from Taurus that won the day.  We leave him,

…preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.  Acts 28:31

Rome would hear from the one whose mission was to see.

In Eternity, I am convinced that a painful moment will occur as I observe the dusty dreams that I ignored in order to pursue the common, tried and true.  Therefore, I am determined to pursue the uncut jewels of promise that remain on my shelf.  You should consider the same.   Like Paul who would not be deterred from the Voice he had come to know, other ordinary saints like you are needed to complete the task of preaching our Lord’s Kingdom.

Open your eyes, friend. Pursue big dreams and He will use you, an ordinary saint, to do the extraordinary work of His Kingdom.  As one friend often says, “be ruined for the ordinary.”

After all, Rome awaits!

Maranatha.



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The Prodigal Son

October 9, 2009

When he left, he hoped that he would never again have to see the hill that hid the valley where his father’s house lay. Many times he had stood at the foot of the hill and dreamed of the day that he would never again have to walk it. But that was before. That was […]

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