Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gov. Palin and A Child with Down Syndrome in the Vice Presidential House


I received a question: How good was it to have a Child with Down Syndrome on the Stage at Gov. Sarah Palin's announcement that Senator John McCain asked her to run as his Vice President?

Here is my take on it: Every child is unique. Our Matthew will be 5 on September 17th. He had open heart surgery at 14 days old along with a staph infection and has had several issues of pneumonia over his short life....Large crowds of people and a great deal of love and energy thrills him and always has from the very beginning. I remember after the heart surgery and he had a staph infection. The doctors could not tell us if he would survive. He was in medication induced coma while the infection was being sucked from the tissues in his body. All we had for four days was monitors.

His numbers would go down when it was still. He would often not respond as well to pain meds when Karen and I or other family was away from him. So, we stepped into action. We had family there around the clock. Karen would read scripture and we would pray together aloud. We played praise music and a personalized CD with songs that Granny brought. I even read out loud the entire book of Charlie and Chocolate Factory to Matthew. What was supposed to be a week long procedure was over in four days. When Matthew returned from surgery, the infection was gone and he was alert. It was awesome to see those blue eyes again.

Since then, Matthew has become even more social and LARGE event oriented. He loves church, he loves school, he loves Walmart, and he loves people. In fact, Mike and Cathy Canny invited us to a Beetles Impersonators concert last night at the Conner Prairie with almost 9000 people on lawn chairs and blankets and Matthew soaked up every minute. Thus, Matthew is our official Walmart Greeter....this could be his life goal....he is definitely gifted at it.

I am not saying every child with Down Syndrome is the same...I do think it would be prudent to cut the parents some slack and let them know what is best for Trig. Most children take after their parents and Matthew has talkative parents, so it seems is you know Karen and I, Matthew did not have a chance in the lack of talkative genes (or chromosomes).

I still am excited with the advocacy we might all share with a Child with Down Syndrome in the Vice Presidential Mansion. Isn't it exciting to see the prospect that the world might see the value in every life.

Comments always welcome...Have a great Labor Day!
Don

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Down Syndrome - An Extra Chromosome of Cute-ness!

Our son, Matthew, has down syndrome. He will be five on September 17th and very much knows his age. There are great resources out there for parents. Some of my favorite websites are NDSC, NDSS or IDSF, or DADS. We are members of all these organizations. Another is the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped or CCFH. Jim Pierson is president of CCFH and we were talking a few months back about Matthew and that He is so cute. We agreed that it is true that Matthew has an extra chromosome of cute, yet he is more typical that disabled.

Here is a little story of typical, yet cute in a typical down syndrome way. Our family room and kitchen are connected by a window. On the family room side under the window sits the couch. On the kitchen sides sits the sink. On Monday, Matthew has speech therapy so we are all getting up and moving. Karen and Alice are up stairs so, I get Matthew ready and he is down stairs with his cheerios (dry of course) and watching Arthur. So, I go upstairs to get Alice.

I come back down with Alice and Matthew is standing on the back of the couch half through the window and has the water on and has the sprayer out and is watering the kitchen down. It seemed like there was an INCH of water everywhere! Our spray works well, it shot across the kitchen into the dinner room. Of course, I am shocked and ask what is going on....Matthew said nothing, just got down with a huge smile on his face and went in and sat in the naughty chair...I can't read minds, but I know from the look and grin on his face....He was thinking that was fantastic and I would do it again. (and will probably try...I have already disconnected the sprayer.)

Needless to say, we will laugh and remember that moment forever. Down Syndrome is more alike than different. As a friend of mine in Richmond, George Williams, said to me..."the innocence just lasts longer...like forever." Another great website is Down Syndrome Association of Richmond (DSAGR).

Feel free to share the story and watch the sprayers. I would also love to hear about your funny stories of children and water in the comments area.

You know we love ya,
Don

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Power of the Holy Spirit

James MacDonald states it this way in his book, Downpour, “The Holy Spirit want to be continually filling you, empowering you with all the intensity and life and joy that is His to Give. It’s like putting your hand under a stream of water rushing out of a faucet. We have to be willing to reach out and surrender our hands to the water.”

There is a story of a group of preachers that were looking to hold a preaching revival and they wanted to get the great revival preacher, D.L. Moody to come. One of the younger preachers stood up and said, “Why do we need to get Moody? Does Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” One of the other preachers, stood up and said, “I’ve seen and heard and even shared a meal with D.L. Moody. It is not that D.L. Moody has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D.L. Moody.”

My friends, by surrendering our will to God is how we lean over talk with Jesus. In our surrender we share in the comfort, the promise, the assistance and the power of the Holy Spirit. You and I must surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to have a monopoly on our lives. It is through that release we will truly live.

Releasing to His Power,
Don

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Politics - Republican - Democrat - Does it change things?

There is a lot of talk about the up and coming presidential election. Today the democrats are talking a great deal about their VP choice and next week the Republicans will talk a great deal about their choice...I heard Rick Warren interview both candidates this afternoon. To see the report go to CBN.com Then after Rick Warren was asked, "Would you consider being a politician?"

His statement sparked my thoughts. Rick stated, that if he felt the best way to change the world is to be a minister/preacher. If he felt the best way to change the world was through politics, then he would be a politician, both men need God in order to change people's future eternally..." Wow! What a statement!

We are believers in Christ. We are also Americans. Let us never confuse the reality that Christ gives us our eternal destination, thus Christ is our eternal priority...even the Great UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will have an end. I want to make an eternal difference, thus I believe and strive to tell others that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

You know I love ya,
Don

Thursday, August 21, 2008

King David

In Psalm 22 we are privy to King David’s deeply intimate thoughts. Reading those haunting verses is like looking over his shoulder while he makes an entry in his personal journal. It’s obvious that David is in much distress and oppression. As far as he is concerned, God is on vacation. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” he cries.
But when we look again, we see an even deeper realization that God’s mercies are faithful and true. Even though David feels forsaken by God, he expresses his doubts in prayer. This psalm is a prayer to God. Wouldn’t you think that if David really felt God was nowhere to be found he wouldn’t waste his breath complaining? Not so. There is something in David that causes him to believe that God is still within earshot, even if it seems as though He’s gone for good.
The reality is that God views the entire picture and we see through a glass dimly. David understood that, even though his emotions did not. David had been in a tight spot or two before and the Lord has always come though for him. God and David had a relationship that has reaped a harvest of fruit through the years because they had walked together.
The early Christians persevered through some very difficult times as well. Yet, they knew they could not deny the truth they had seen and experienced. We worship a God that allows persecution and oppression to unleash his power through His people. The Lord is our God as He was to David and the early believers. He can handle our honest doubts and fears. Our response is to be faithful to Him and release our prayers so that He can unleash them into power.

“For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” – Psalm 22:24 NIV

Monday, August 18, 2008

God of Wonders Beyond our Imaginations!

Remarking on His complete sovereignty over His entire creation, the Lord says: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." - (Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV))

If all of this seems incredible for us today, imagine how awesome the power of God must have seemed to the people that lived thousands of years ago, without the scientific knowledge that we possess today. This in itself, I believe, makes a strong case for the God of the Bible to be the One and only God - the true God. Polytheism was the general religious persuasion of that time. For the Hebrew people to have simply concocted such an omnipotent Being seems highly unlikely. It is understandable that creative storytellers of old could conjure up ancient tales of great wars between the gods, and gods engaged in titanic battles with colossal monsters of the sea. But how could any ancient author or authors possibly contrive a divine Being Whose very words - indeed, Whose very thoughts - are truth itself? This impossibility strongly suggests that the Scriptures are not merely the product of imaginative storytellers, but rather the inspired word of God.

I pray that as we walk into a new week, everyone that reads my words will turn their hearts to God's words and declare His Worth in their lives. For more GREAT information on Scientific Proofs of God check out: "Answers in Genesis."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some Family Photos - Enjoy!

See my cool shades!









Down Syndrome Fly-in at Indianapolis Executive Airport...sitting the Helicopter.








Alice Watching Matthew on the Horse....she also loves Horsie day.





Matthew at Hippotherapy (helps to strengthen his muscles). He is a natural with the animals. Children's Theraplay










Dad's Birthday Present was a great hit!

Friday, August 15, 2008

$10 is $10

Every year, Smitty and his wife Martha went to the State Fair. And every year, Smitty would say, "Martha, I'd like to ride in that there airplane." And every year, Martha would reply, "I know, Smitty, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars we don’t have."

This one-year Smitty and Martha went to the fair and Smitty said, "Martha, I'm 71 years old. If I don't ride that airplane this year I may never get another chance. "

Martha replied, "Smitty, that there airplane ride costs ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars."

The pilot overheard them and said, "Folks, I'll make you a deal. I'll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won't charge you, but if you say one word it's ten dollars." Smitty and Martha agreed, and up they went.

The pilot performed all kinds of twists and turns, rolls and dives, but not a word is heard. He even does a nosedive, pulling up 15 feet above the ground, but still not a word. They land and the pilot turns to Smitty, "By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn't."

Smitty replied, "Well, I was gonna say something when Martha fell out, ...but ten dollars is ten dollars!"


Feel free to share the story ...you can always change who fell out. Laughter is good for the soul and great for a Friday! (Oh by the way, Karen said she wanted to take us to the state fair this evening....hummmmm.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

God's Reputation


MATTHEW AND ALICE IN APRIL
I LOVE THIS PICTURE!

Psalm 31:1-3
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.


I love this passage. I think it is becoming my life verse....at least for now. I love that I can take refuge in God. It also amazes me that God's reputation is at stake on my behalf. As a Christ follower, I have committed to submitting my will to God's direction and ultimate plan. In return He is willing to allow me to take refuge, to seek rescue, and to stand on His promises like they are solid ground that will never quake. It is through my faith that I will be faithful because I would not want God's name to have a tarnished reputation BUT ALSO God will never back out because His name and reputation are put on the line for me....WOW! that is a little heavier than I thought it would turn out to be.


God put His reputation on the wooden line or should I say on the cross beam at Calvary. It is imperative that I (we) never take advantage of that reputation and cling to His mercies that are new every morning. In order to find comfort in the task before us, I cling to the closing line of Jude (another favorite verse) Now to Him who is able to keep me from falling and to present me without blemish goes all the glory and honor. He can keep me from tarnishing His name....another promise that brings comfort. Thank You, Lord.


You know we love ya, Don

Friday, August 8, 2008

Trouble, Who Needs it?

Peter Marshall wrote, "God will not permit any trouble to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing will come out of the difficulty." As I reflect, I think this is true. All the troubles in my life have always been a shared experience. I have a loving family and they have always been there to share in the trouble and encourage me along. I have great friendships and relationships that have been awesome and supportive on this journey toward heaven.

Yet, it is my relationship with Jesus Christ that holds me together and keeps my from drowning in all the "trouble" this life brings. In fact, I can testify that in every valley (surgeries, death of a parent, college pressures, my ambitions & arrogance, just to name a few) God has consistently proven His love and that His mercies are new each and every morning. It is true that the valley is the place that fruit trees grow. I have learned the most while traveling in the valley.

I guess it is the trouble in our life that defines "who" we are. Thus, I need more trouble to grow...did I actually write that? I am NOT looking for more trouble, struggles, or stress but I suppose it is to be expected because I also am praying for God to strengthen, stretch, and bring me wisdom. Trouble, who needs it? I guess I do...and maybe you too.

Take Care, Don

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Couldn't live without it!

- Updated picture of Matthew and Alice....we were at Shriner's Hospital to get Matthew a new pair of shoes.

Last night we had our Fresh touch prayer service at Park Chapel. (Fresh Touch Prayer service is the first Tuesday of the Month at 7 PM and we gather just to pray and seek God's direction.)David had us walk around the church parking lot and in the building praying for the up coming season and those in leadership and in attendance. He read scripture, we sang a song, and then we prayed. It was a great service.

It made me think of this quote from William Lyon Phelps, "I believe a knowledge of the Bible without a college course is more valuable than a college course without a Bible." The Bible is God's revealed word of Himself and His love for us. It applies to every aspect of our lives and when we dedicate ourselves to its words we live in abundance. I know I couldn't live without it. (As a matter of fact...last time I counted, I had over 10 copies and Karen has just a many....)

You know we love ya, Don

Monday, August 4, 2008

Doing Church or Being Church?

Yesterday in our Solid Ground venue at Park Chapel Christian Church, we are still trying to take the load off of the rented equipment since the lightning strike in June. I think we may have progress this week. Mike Canny and I have been working overtime on "fretting" about it. Well, anyway I digress...in the services we presented all Gospel music. Tricia (piano) and Chris (keyboard/organ) played and the people sang with a mighty sound. The song list was simple but very powerful. I was overcome with emotion at several points. I remembered great worship services at the church where we were members and I gave my heart to Jesus, Church of the Cross.

Afterwards, even though it was a great service and enthusiasm was high. God was glorified and the morning was everything we hoped it would be...I found myself slipping into a depression in the afternoon. I think it was because I missed the people. So many have gone on to be with the Lord. I also was grieving...the church I fondly recall as a child and youth does not exist anymore. The style, people, and the moment all evolved into something new. I also think the church as a whole has forgotten what it was like to "be" the church instead of "doing" church. These three things hurt and I found my self in a depression (unfortunately so Karen and the children).

Col. 1:8-9 tells us that Paul had been informed of the love the Colossian church had shared with their community. The more I think about it, the more I realized that is what I missed. We shared a great deal of love....it was not about music style...or what the preacher was preaching...or what time of year it was...or if the coffee bar was going to have donuts...it was all about the love of God and loving each other.

Today, I am visiting a mother of a new set of twins, a young man that is incarcerated, and two widows in nursing homes. The love is still there, it is just different. Lord help me to see it and to live in the now so that I express your love to others.

You know we love ya,
Don

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thankful to Ones defending our Freedom!

Diane Ware sent me this story, we are not sure if it is true, but it makes a great parable.

“Some people!” snorted a man standing behind me in the Long line at the grocery store. I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.

“It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else,” said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment. “It was me. ” he said, pointing to himself.

The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. Never looking back, she got in and drove away.

Another woman in line looked a the rude man and said, "After developing cancer in 1977 and having had to use food stamps; I had learned never to judge anyone, without knowing the circumstances of their life. This turned out to be the case today."

Several minutes later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if she had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away. “Why would she do that?” asked the man. Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the statement. “I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using. Something I shouldn't have said. I'm sorry.” said the man.

“Well, that's bad, real bad, in fact. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She's twenty years old, single, and now has three children to support,' he said in a very firm voice.

“I'm really truly sorry. I didn't know.” he replied,

The man asked, “Are these paid for?” pointing to the shopping cart full of groceries. “It wouldn't take her card.”, the clerk told him. “Do you know where she lives?” asked the man who had made the comment. “Yes, she goes to our church.”

“Excuse me!” he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, “Please use my card.” The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman's groceries.

“Hold on.” said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included. “Come on people. We got three kids to help raise.” he told everyone in line.

Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt. A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts. "Go back and get Two big turkeys.” yelled a heavyset woman, as she looked at the man. “NO!” yelled the man. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds. 'Four turkeys,' yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work.

When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,646.57 for the groceries. He then walked over to the side, pulled out his check book, and began writing a check. He turned around and handed the check to the young man. “She will need a freezer and a few other things as well.” he told the man.

The young man looked at the check and said, “This is really very generous of you.” “No,” said the man, “Her brother was the generous one.”

We live in the Land of the free, because of the brave!!!


I wonder how much we truly appreciate the freedoms we share as Americans. It is arrogant to say we live in the greatest country on the planet, yet we live and squander those freedoms everyday because WE LIVE IN THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET.

Something to think about.
Don