“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, March 21, 2019

STREET INVADERS FOR CHRIST!

I believe there is a Christian revolution that will be led by our young people. They are shining the light of Christ into the darkness of our secular culture. I have become aware of an exciting Youth Missions ministry called Street InvadersMy teenage grandson and granddaughter are active with it.

Street Invaders teaches young Christian how to make their faith real within themselves and to the world around them.  They begin with bootcamp. What is bootcamp? According to their website, it is where
young Christians "learn practical skills to help you share your faith with other people. You’ll also meet
and get to know your teammates and leaders who will be with you on your mission."
[1]
 It doesn't stop there. They continue:


"You will experience transforming worship and life-changing messages, classes to help you learn more about the life of Jesus, what it means to be a Christian, and how to live that out."


Young Christians learn how to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in new ways, to a lost and hurting
generation. 
They begin in the darkest places: Inner cities. My grandson and granddaughter have gone
twice, spending two weeks evangelizing in the inner city of Vancouver, Canada. They went with Street Invaders Youth Missions. 

These young people are following our Lord's instructions to take the Gospel to people and make disciples of all nations. Their exuberance for this task puts many of their Christian elders to shame. 

At the conclusion of their successful 2018 missions
My grandson address
Street Invaders in Vancouver
trip, my grandson addressed the final praise and worship service to encourage the Street Invaders to continue their active evangelism when they return home to their own communities. Please pray for Street Invaders and all those people who came to—or will come to—a personal encounter with Jesus Christ as a result of this vital and effective youth ministry. (Also pray for Street Invaders 2019!)


MDP
______________
Notes
[1] http://www.streetinvaders.ca/programs   

Thursday, March 14, 2019

CHILDREN PAY THE HIGHEST PRICE

There are many reasons that proper marriage is between a man and woman. It was this way for centuries before progressives with political agendas decided it can be otherwise. It is the children who will pay the highest price for this social engineering and experimentation based on ideology. But then, it's always the children who pay for their elders' societal tinkering.* 

I fail to see why children do not need a mother and a father. Would someone please explain it to me?

MDP
*Abortion is the most striking and tragic example.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

LOVE THAT OVERCOMES

I wrote a film script I called Journey Toward Love. It chronicles the odyssey of love that my wife, LaRee, and I have experienced covering half a century in our journey toward the radical love of God. It is a radical love because it involves faith and surrender, and love of neighbor, even if they spitefully use us. It has involved the glory of life and the darkness of death. It has involved the anguish and chains of physical disability and the transcendence of love above it all.  Great is the love that overcomes. 

Saint John of the Cross compared faith to feet by which we journey toward God, and love is our guide. It is ironic that during the years that I could not actually use my feet because of disease, I continued to walk spiritually toward God. And yes, love was my guide. Now as an old man, I am discovering that the whole of my life — even in its darkest times — has been a journey toward love in its various forms: 


LaRee and I are acutely aware that we are being led
rather than leading. Our journey toward the love of God has an intimate connection to our love for each other. We are startled at the sudden change of direction in our journey of and toward love. 

Over the past few months, I have discovered there is
something that needs to heal and something that needs to die, something that needs to be rejected and something that needs to be embraced, There is something that needs to stop and something that must begin, something that needs to be changed and something that needs to be celebrated.

I think LaRee and I are getting to the heart of what matters in life and love. The purpose of life is to grow in love without strings attached. Trust that is broken must be forgiven. We must trust again without fear of whether it is wise or not. Our example is Christ. He forgave me when I thought I was unforgivable. He loves me though I may seem unlovable. 

Christ loved those who hurt him—he is God-made-man [1] and God is love.[2] The journey toward the source of love (personified with the Incarnation) is the whole purpose for my time on earth. And I suspect that in your heart of hearts you will discover the same is true for you. 

MDP
___________
[1] John 1.9, 14, 1John 4.2., Luke 1.35., 14.9, Romans 1.4., Colossians.1.15. Hebrews. 1.2-3.
[2] 1John 4.8.

Monday, January 21, 2019

UPDATE: WALKING AFTER YEARS IN AN ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR

After 35 years with multiple sclerosis — much of it as
triplegic and in a wheelchair — I began to recover function. It left my physicians and family with their mouths agape! I wrote about this in a previous blog post. 


See http://www.humanlifematters.org/2019/01/im-walking.html

Here's an update: The video below was taken on 20 January 2019. I've graduated from the walker to canes. Although I'm crooked because decades of severe back spasms twisted my spine, I am walking better and better. It's not supposed to happen with end-stage aggressive MS.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

MARRIAGE AND A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES

Our 1st dance on
our wedding day
1973
My wife, LaRee, and I were lying in bed talking. We started to reminisce about our life together spanning nearly 50 years. There are so many beautiful, intimate memories—happy tender moments only we know. There were sorrows when all we had was each other, ecstatic joys we shared when our children and grandchildren were born. The reminiscing continued into the night; there is a long, deep river of shared mutual and exclusive memories. We held each other in that deep soul-bond only time can build.

At one point, LaRee wondered why couples separate and divorce after decades together? There was no judgment, only curious sadness. (We're both are sadly aware of tragic marital situations involving abuse, addictions and infidelity. She's very understanding in those circumstances. Our early years of marriage did involve alcoholism.)

After long-term marriages end, where do their histories go? Who do they share their exclusive and most intimate memories with that were accumulated over many years? If their love for each other has cooled or died ... isn't it worth trying to revive?

Somebody might say that I don't understand their circumstances. They are right. All I have to go on is my own experience of a love affair with LaRee that began when we were teenagers. If she was to leave
me now, she would take away the very heart of me (to borrow a line of Peter Cetera's song "If You Leave Me Now").

When you meet someone what has been left (either by divorce or death) be tender and kind. Their heart has been broken at some point and their dreams of a previous time were dashed and died. They need your love and understanding.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

I'M WALKING!

I have had multiple sclerosis (MS) for thirty-five years. It’s a horrible disease. Multiple sclerosis has dragged me through many frightening disabilities (each one terrifying). It hasn’t been just me who has lived through terrifying symptoms of a serious neurological disease, my family was dragged along too. My wife once said, “It is harder to watch than to be” — and perhaps she is correct. To watch a loved-one suffer can be worse than being the one suffering.  To think of things being turned around is too difficult for me to contemplate. My mind simply refuses to think of my wife bound to a wheelchair, sinking more with each attack of MS.  We have lived through a long and painful journey spanning decades!

My grandson comforting me
during a low point
Things got so serious at one point in time, I was threatened with the prospect of quadriplegia. I needed help getting dressed and even tying my shoes. Someone else had to cut my meat at mealtime. I went into a full electric wheelchair equipped with side-braces to keep me from sagging sideways, and tying my legs to the leg rests to keep my feet from falling off the footrests. I couldn’t hold a pencil and write my own name. My bedroom was outfitted with a hoist to get me out of bed. Plans were being made to put a hoist in my bathroom to lift me into the bathtub.  We drove a wheelchair accessible van. We built a barrier-free house to accommodate my disability.  I am now at what is considered end-stage MS.  The expected course is steady deterioration, a nursing home, or round-the-clock home care. That’s how bad things get, or at least that's how things are expected to go.

A few years ago, I began to notice subtle changes. At first, they were so small (almost indiscernible) I did not mention them. Sometimes I thought wishful thinking might have merely created a perception of change. Then one night I woke from a deep sleep. He was there and He made me aware. But aware of what? I was told (not in words) to try to make my thumb touch my little finger. It had been years since I had the use of my right hand.

I did it! I could make my thumb touch my pinky finger! It stunned me. It was not fleeting like so many neurological improvements. It stayed.  Eventually, I could hold a spoon, a pencil, a cup, and use my right index finger to type on my computer keyboard. (For years, I typed with just my left hand's thumb, index and third finger.) It was as though my plaque-ridden brain was beginning to find new signal pathways. I could write again with my right hand! (I hadn't been able to do that for twenty years!) I showed this to my wife but she was cautious; she had become excited so many times throughout the years only to have her hopes dashed as new MS attacks stripped more physical function from me and the slightest improvement was lost.

One morning when I awoke from sleep I was able to struggle to sit up without using the hoist above my bed.  I did it and continued to do it, refusing to use the hoist. I used this window of opportunity for exercise to strengthen my trunk muscles. Eventually, we took the hoist down from above my bed.   

My mother-in-law died at the end of 2013 at the age of 82, after a long time in a nursing home.  My wife brought her walker home after the funeral. One morning in the winter of 2014 I was sitting in my electric wheelchair at the kitchen table having morning coffee. The walker was folded in a corner of the kitchen. He spoke to me again: “Get out of your wheelchair and walk with the walker.” What? I hadn’t walked in years!  But the message was emphatic and clear. Shaky and tentative, I stood and slowly, fearfully took my first steps in over a decade.  My legs were atrophied and weak but I took about five unsteady steps, ... then ten ... then I walked slowly with the walker down a hallway.  It exhausted me but I did it! My wife and I were ecstatic! After I rested she taped me doing it. Sadly, the improvement was short-lived and I lost the ability to walk again—but it returned in 2016.  I could walk short distances with a walker or two canes. 

This time the ability seemed to hold and I showed my doctor. She was incredulous. As I walked for her I remember her exclaiming “No! It’s not possible!” And she was right. People with late-stage MS don’t improve, they sink. It was so incredible that another doctor came out of his office with his jaw on his chest to see for himself.

I was sent to my neurologist for an explanation.  He didn’t have one.

By late 2018, I was using a walker for extended periods around the house—only using my wheelchair at the end of the day when I was tired or lazy.  As we begin 2019, I am hopeful — perhaps too hopeful.  My New Year’s resolution is to get in as good a shape as possible, continue to strengthen my legs, trunk and back with a goal to walk with one cane by the end of the year.  Will it happen? I don’t know. Multiple sclerosis is a cruel teasing disease.  It often returns function and raises hopes only to take it away.


I have to accept whatever happens and rest in the providence of God, trusting there is a reason for this unexpected but thrilling development. If I can walk I will use it as part of my Christian witness. 

If I lose the ability to walk and return to my wheelchair, I will use the experience as part of my Christian witness. Either way, I will praise God. He has been with me, and sustained me, throughout this long 35-year journey.

But today, I think I'll saunter down the hallway again.