When Cancer Visited our Family
On the evening of May 20, still basking in the glow of a graduation celebration we decided to go to a movie. I was planning to go to a Yankees/Cubs game with my Dad and brother the following day. We arrived home to a message from my sister Lisa, indicating that she had been diagnosed with melanoma, or skin cancer. We were shaken. This was my little sister, ten years younger than me. It was the first time that cancer had visited our immediate family. We went from the highest high of my graduation to the lowest low.
The following days we talked of a “heavy heart”, as we prayed for Lisa, who clung to her faith during this very difficult time. Facing an upcoming trip to Spain to visit her daughter who is studying there this summer, Lisa worked hard to get appointments set up with the oncologist and surgeon. In God’s providence, she was able to have surgery to remove the malignant melanoma on June 2, less than two weeks after being diagnosed. We were blessed to hear on June 6 that the lymph nodes removed during surgery came back free and clear and there were clear margins around the melanoma. We are thankful for the mercy the Lord showed Lisa.
Thank you to so many of you who prayed for Lisa and our family during this time.
Developing a “Best List”
On May 21 my Dad, brother and I went on our annual Peoria Charter bus trip to Wrigley Field to celebrate Father’s Day. On the bus ride to the game, I was talking to my Dad about my “bucket list”. I asked him what he had on his list. He really didn’t have a lot of items, though we both have attending the Masters golf tournament on our lists. What Dad suggested instead was making a list of those things or places we’ve been that most impacted us, or we most enjoyed. I thought that was a great idea. I thought of special vacations, concerts or sporting events that made the top of my list, and those folks that I shared those experiences with. What would be on your list?
Here are a few of the favorite things that I’ve done to start my list:
- Paul McCartney at Soldier Field in June 1990. It was the final show of the tour, a beautiful night and we were there with Tammy’s sisters and husbands. It is my favorite of the eight (and counting) McCartney shows that I’ve seen.
- Billy Joel and Elton John at the Allstate Arena several years ago. They played nothing but hits for about three hours.
- Bruce Springsteen. I’ve seen him several times and he never fails to amaze.
- U2. I’ve seen them several times, and my favorite was their October, 2001 concert in Chicago on the Elevation tour, just after the September 11 tragedy. There was an intensity that wasn’t there during the Chicago stop in May
- We’ve been traveling to Orlando in February or March almost every year since 1997. During this particular week we attended the Ligonier Ministries National Conference, a Disney theme park, Arnold Palmer’s golf tournament, the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival and a Cardinals/Braves Spring Training baseball game.
- As a family we took several trips up to Hayward, Wisconsin, staying in a nice home on Clear Lake. I have wonderful memories of the weeks we spent there fishing, golfing, etc.
- In the years before my Mom died in 1996, Tammy, Mom, Dad and I took several trips to Eagle Ridge in Galena, Illinois. We enjoyed golf and several special dinners.
- Since we’ve been married, almost every year we’ve taken an extended family vacation with Tammy’s family. This usually includes her sister, husband, their children and also a niece. It now includes some of the children’s spouses and will soon include a new granddaughter. We enjoyed vacationing at Turkey Creek Ranch in Theodosia, Missouri on Bull Shoals Lake for several years and have also enjoyed Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for several years.
- In 1998 Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were chasing Roger Maris’ all-time home run record of 61. In the first inning in St. Louis, McGwire hit a towering home run down the left field line. I was so excited I just started pounding my brother’s arm!
- In June 1998, Michael Jordan’s last year with the Bulls, the Bulls were playing game 6 against Utah in Utah. The Bulls opened up the United Center for fans to watch the game on the video screen. The Bulls won the game on Jordan’s dramatic shot and the place went crazy. I’ll never forget heading home on Damon Avenue with horns going off, slapping “high fives” with people walking alongside the car.
- I grew up going to Illinois State University games at Horton Fieldhouse. I attended so many great games there, that I can’t pick just one, though watching Doug Collins play was certainly special. Going to a game at Horton was a great experience.
- Growing up, Mickey Mantle was my favorite baseball player. My Dad would take us up to old White Sox Park to see Mantle and the Yankees, but it seems that he was always injured and didn’t play. Finally, toward the end of his career he not only played, but hit a home run into the upper deck in right field. I’ll never forget as the entire crowd stood as the Mick rounded the bases.
~ THIS AND THAT ~
- Here are recommended books for the graduate in your life from Todd Pruitt: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/great-books-for-the-graduate-i.php
- The ESV Reader’s Bible was created for those who want to read Scripture precisely as it was originally written–namely, as an unbroken narrative. Verse numbers, chapter and section headings, and translation footnotes are helpful navigational and interpretive tools, but they are also relatively recent conventions. In the ESV Reader’s Bible they have been removed from the Bible text. The result is a new kind of Bible-reading experience in a volume that presents Scripture as one extended story line. The ESV Reader’s Bible will be released June 30. Find out more about it here: http://www.crossway.org/bibles/esv-readers-bible-none-tru/
- Christianaudio’s Twice Yearly Sale, in which nearly all of their digital downloads are just $7.49, is going on now through June 20. I always look forward to this sale to stock up on some good Christian audiobooks. Find out more here.
- Youth athletics has changed a lot since I was growing up, with travelling teams being common these days. Read this interesting article and related Theology Refresh podcast entitled “The Peril and Potential of Youth Athletics” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-peril-and-potential-of-youth-athletics
- The golfer Payne Stewart, who became a believer late in his short life, died 15 years ago. Read this story entitled “Payne Stewart, In Their Words” from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/longform/sports/golf/pga/2014/06/08/payne-stewart-us-open-pinehurst-plane-crash-phil-mickelson/10198455/
- And speaking of Payne, the Golf Channel has produced a new one-hour documentary Payne, which debuted on NBC on June 8, and on the Golf Channel on June 9. Read the article here: http://www.golfchannel.com/news/press-releases/payne-one-hour-special-commemorating-life-payne-stewart-premiere-nbc-and-golf-channel/
- Crowder sightings. Crowder will be in concert at Joyfest at Six Flags in St. Louis this Saturday and also at the House of Blues in Chicago (with All Sons and Daughters and Capital Kings) on October 1.
- Speaking of upcoming concerts, check out the AudioFeed Music Festival at the Champaign County Fairgrounds July 3-6. Appearing on Saturday July 5, will be Steve Taylor, Peter Furler and Propaganda.
- I grew up being a huge Beatles fan, and still am. I saw George Harrison on his only tour, and have seen Paul McCartney eight times, and will see him again in Chicago later this year. Regrettably, I never saw John Lennon in concert. On my bucket list is to see Ringo Starr in concert. It may just happen, as he has announced an October 3 concert in St. Louis at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis. Now….to get someone to go with me, that’s a completely different challenge (smile).
ARTICLES and OTHER STUFF:
- I’m not very good at Wheel of Fortune puzzles, but I think even I would have gotten this one: http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/05/showbiz/wheel-of-fortune-gaffe/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
- The reign of the winningest female contestant in Jeopardy! history has come to an end. The game show says that Chicago area resident Julia Collins lost during her 21st appearance on the pre-taped episode that aired June 2. Read the story here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/06/02/julia-collins-jeopardy-streak-ends/9888975/
- Popular painter Thomas Kinkade’s death shocked his fans, not only because he died at 54, but also because the cause was alcohol and Valium. Read this story entitled: “The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America’s Favorite Painter”: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/08/the-drunken-downfall-of-evangelical-america-s-favorite-painter.html
- Do you think time is catching up with you? Perhaps it’s already overtaken you and left you in the dust? Do the years seem to be going ridiculously quickly now? Here’s an interesting website – It’s called “You’re Getting Old”. Check it out: http://you.regettingold.com/
- I subscribe to the Lead like Jesus email devotional, which is mailed out each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can sign up to receive this free resource at https://otm86890.infusionsoft.com/app/form/default-campaign-form
- Here is an article from Christianity Today, with the top ten video clips from the Exchange, including one from Lecrae, one of my favorite music artists and Francis Chan.
- On May 4, Mark Driscoll preached on Acts 6:1-7. When the sermon was posted on the Mars Hill Church website, nearly six minutes had been edited from the sermon. In those six minutes Driscoll states that Jesus made mistakes. Read the story here.
- Albert Mohler writes “But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test” Read his article There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptists Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you)” here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/06/02/there-is-no-third-way-southern-baptists-face-a-moment-of-decision-and-so-will-you/
- David Murray writes: “Many of us have a tendency to over-promise. Over-promising is produced by being over-optimistic about our abilities and under-pessimistic about the possible difficulties and problems we are likely to meet along the way.” Read his article entitled “10 Cures for Over-Promising” here.
- Check out this article on how to share your faith at work from Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger’s new book, The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Lives: http://thegospelcoalition.org//article/how-to-share-your-faith-at-work
- Here is Kevin DeYoung’s next micro-interview, this time with Carl Trueman. I had the pleasure to have a class with him at Covenant Seminary on B.B. Warfield a few years ago. Here’s the interview: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/06/06/bio-books-and-such-carl-trueman/
- Ian Murray recently wrote about the 2014 Together for the Gospel Conference. Read his article here: http://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2014/thoughts-together-gospel-conference-2014/
- David Mathis writes that “Fasting has fallen on hard times — at least, it seems, among our overstuffed bellies in the American church.” Read his article entitled “Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/sharpen-your-affections-with-fasting
- The speaking line-up for the 2015 Liberate Conference has been finalized. In addition to Tullian Tchivijian, speakers include Scotty Smith, Eric Metaxas, Steve Brown, Paul Tripp, Elyse Fitzpatrick, JD Greear and many more. The conference will be held February 19-22 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- I enjoyed this church sign as posted on Christianity Today’s site:
~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~
Book Reviews –
The Closer: My Story by Mariano Rivera
A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You by John Piper
Movie Reviews –
Edge of Tomorrow
The Fault in Our Stars
Music Review –Below Paradise by Tedashii
I enjoyed this quote from Albert Mohler’s “Sexual Devolution” message at Ligonier Ministries West Coast Conference:
Quotable ~ Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian. -Sinclair Ferguson