Preparation for Service – Part 1

This past Sunday, I was able to get back into the pulpit. We returned to our study in Mark’s gospel. We looked at part one of a two part message on “Preparation for Ministry.” Jesus was first of all prepared for ministry through Obedience. We examined His Affirmation of the act of baptism. Why was Jesus, the sinless Son of God baptized? We then saw His Anointing by the Holy Spirit and His Acceptance by the Father. We don’t believe that baptism saves us. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works. Because we are not saved by baptism, there is a tendency to pass baptism off as just some kind of religious ritual that really isn’t that important. Jesus, by His example at the Jordan, affirms the importance of baptism. This is a practical message that encourages each one of us to first of all obey God, but to specifically obey God in baptism. You can listen to this message by following this link or visit our sermons page.

Update on Eye Surgery

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted. I’m doing well following the PRK laser surgery from a couple of weeks ago. The recovery was a little more difficult than I would have liked. I was never in any real pain, just a lot of irritation in my eyes. I had surgery on Thursday and went back to the doctor on Friday. My vision was 20-15 which is better than normal. They said that my vision would actually get worse and then get better as the eye healed. On Saturday I was very blurry and almost seeing double. That gave me a little bit of nausea and I slept a lot on Saturday. Pastor Mike, our youth pastor, preached for me during both services on Sunday. Again, I slept most of the day. I was encouraged to be able to participate in the worship service on Sunday morning from home. Our church broadcasts live over a local AM radio station. This was the first time I listened to a service from our church over the radio. Pastor Mike did an excellent job preaching a relevant message on the book of Ecclesiastes. On Monday, I went back to the doctor and they removed the contact lens bandages. On Tuesday, I was back in the office and made a couple of visits. My eyes were tired so I took a little nap that afternoon. When I awoke, I was in misery with my left eye watering. I felt like I had an eye lash in my eye that I could not remove. We called the doctor and he said it sounded like I had a slough in my eye. I went back to the doctor on Wednesday and he confirmed that the the tissue in the epithelium had sloughed off and it had left a little filament or a little piece of tissue that was flapping on the cornea. He put some drops in my eye to numb the eye and then trimmed off that tissue. He then placed another contact lens bandage on my eye. I immediately felt relief. I preached on Wednesday night, but near the end of my message I saw a couple of people cringe in the back of the church. Apparently, I had rubbed my right eye. A couple of minutes later my right eye started watering just like my left eye had the day before. I just knew I had the same problem with a slough now in my right eye. I went back to the doctor on Thursday. My left eye was healing well enough to remove the contact lens bandage. The doctor said I was right about my right eye. He said it looked like a “knuckle shot.” Apparently I had pushed on my right eye with my knuckle and cracked the healing epithelium. There was no filament or anything like that so he encouraged me to use the artificial tears every half hour. Ever since last Thursday, I have done much better. My vision was 20-40 and it appears to be getting better. I preached both messages on Sunday and I am now functioning as normal. I’m still using the tears regularly. If you are reading this please pray that I’ll continue to heal. The doctors actually said that I am healing quicker than most people.

Improving Our Vision

For several year I have considered having laser surgery on my eyes to correct my nearsightedness. Yesterday morning Joanna and I traveled over to Raleigh, NC, about 45 minutes away to LasikPlus. I had gone for a preliminary appointment a couple of weeks ago that determined I was a good candidate for laser surgery. I had planned on having Lasik, but the surgeon said there was a danger for my eyes of complications so instead I had PRK. This surgery is also done with a laser, but it is a little more invasive and requires a little more time for healing. After the surgery which only took about five minutes per eye, I could see 20/20. I’m using four different eye drops four times a day. I’m also taking Motrim to help with inflamation. They recommend 1000 mg. of Vitamin C each day also. I was given a prescription for pain pill which I took yesterday to help me relax. Pray that the healing will take place quickly and that there will be no complications. I am scheduled for a day after appointment this morning and then on Monday I’ll go back again for the doctor to remove the contact lens bandage.

The Beginning of the Gospel

Yesterday morning we began our expository journey through the gospel of Mark. This is going to be an exciting series. Mark’s gospel is the shortest of all of the gospels, but it packs a mighty punch. More miracles are recorded in Mark than in Matthew, Luke, and John, even though Mark is a much shorter book. Jesus is all action in Mark’s gospel. Yesterday, we looked at verses 1-8, a message entitled: “The Beginning of the Gospel.” You can listen to this message by following this link, or visit our sermons page.

Caleb Basketball

Caleb has been having a good season as the starting point guard for the Wilson Christian Academy Chargers. He is in the tenth grade this year. He and his teammates seem to be getting better each game. Tonight was Homecoming. We beat Greenville Christian in a hard fought game. Caleb had a good game with several assists and 13 points. He hit another buzzer beating three pointer at the end of the first quarter. He has had several of those last second shots this year. He has a great bunch of guys on the team. Malcolm Deans is their coach and does a tremendous job teaching these young men. I found a couple of picture albums on the Raleigh Christian Academy website from their past couple of games against us. I’ve compiled a little photo collage of Caleb below. For some great action shots. You can visit these albums by clicking on the following links. Caleb is #11. Be sure to click through the different pages.

calebcollage2.jpg

Vision Day 2008

I think that I shall never see, a church that’s all it ought to be;
A church whose members never stray, beyond the straight and narrow way;
A church that has no empty pews; whose pastor never has the blues…
A church whose deacons always “deak,” and none are proud and all are meek;
Where gossips never peddle lies, or make complaints or criticize;
Where all are always sweet and kind, and all to other’s faults are blind.
Such perfect churches there may be, but none of them are known to me.
But still I’ll work and pray and plan, to make our own the best we can.

Yesterday was Vision Day at Tabernacle Baptist Church. You can listen to the message by clicking on this link: Vision Day 2008, or visit our sermons page.

Update on Reagan

reagan.jpgWe have been praying as a church for David and Sophia Herndon. Their daughter Reagan has Rett’s Syndrome. They are going through a difficult trial. I told David earlier today in an email that I wouldn’t wish their trial on anyone, but at the same time they were learning lessons that could not be learned any other way. Paul said that he would glory in his infirmities. It is our prayer that the Lord will do a wonderful work in the lives of this dear family and use Reagan’s situation to bring glory to His name.
Below is an email update from David about their recent trip to John Hopkin’s.

Hello everyone.
Sophia, Reagan and I want to thank each of you for your prayers.  We also want to give a quick summary of our trip to Johns Hopkins and communicate to you how your prayers were answered.  One thing that was very apparent to us was the direction God has given for months now. 
This was actually the 3rd time this year that Reagan was scheduled for an MRI.  For various reasons, the first 2 MRIs could not taken place.  On the first day at Johns Hopkins the original research study that we were scheduled to take part in was changed to a new drug research study which did not require an MRI.  Sophia and I were very excited not to have to place Reagan under sedation and at the end of the first day, Sophia just looked at me and said, ‘you know David, God just doesn’t want Reagan to have an MRI.’  How awesome it is to see how God directed our paths even when things did not make sense to us.  Bottom line:  God answered your prayers we requested regarding the MRI.
The flying experience went better than we expected.  She was content listening to her Baby Einstein music, watching her movies and eating every peanut we placed in front of her……again, answered prayer.  The last minute research study schedule change did negatively impact our return trip Wednesday night and after various delays we finally arrived home at 2am.
The testing performed was exhausting for Reagan and us.  However, she was very brave and did well for the most part.  The swallowing test/tube in stomach went much smoother than we could have hoped as well.….again, answered prayer.
Being at Johns Hopkins was also a constant reminder of why we were there.  Living/breathing Rett’s Syndrome for 3 solid days was emotionally exhausting.  It was disappointing to see just how little is still known about this rare disease, even by those who have studied it for so many years.  However, God understands it fully and as He sees fit, will allow us to as well.  I was reminded often that God is at work, in every circumstance of our life, building our faith.
The drug study that she is now taking part of is in no way a cure.  It is only attempting to decrease a specific enzyme that seems to be high(almost to toxic levels) in girls with Rett’s Syndrome.  The current theory is that these levels are at their peak in these girls between the ages of 2-4 years old.  We pray that Reagan will benefit from this drug with little/no side affects.  We also pray that this will unlock even more doors for help to Reagan and other girls with this disease.  We will have to return to Baltimore now in 6 months instead of 2-4 years for a follow up.  We do not look forward to having to repeat many of the tests that she has just now gone through but we trust that you will hold her up in your prayers then as you did last week.
Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
thanks again!
David, Sophia & Reagan