Home Makeover – Northway Style

So this past Saturday I woke up to my kids being way too loud and Leah getting ready to walk out the door.  Normal Saturday at our house.  Then I heard banging on my front door.  At first I thought it was Andrew…he’s always banging on something.  But to my surprise, it was coming from my front door.  There were at least 20 people standing in my front yard.  No, it wasn’t Jehovah’s Witnesses or Christmas carolers, it was people from my church.  I reluctantly opened the door…bed head and all…and they said, “Surprise”  we’re here for a work day.  I first thought that they were picking me up to go work somewhere….but then someone said, “Give us a list!”  I was shocked.  They were there to makeover my house.

They raked my yard in 20 minutes…then my neighbors yard.  They painted the window trim, painted the bay doors to the basement, replaced my broken gate to the back yard, trimmed the bushes and trees, installed much needed gutters and installed a new storm door for my front entrance.  It would have taken me all summer to do all of that work…if I would have ever mustered the motivation to do it.

I can’t say thank you enough.  Not only do I go to the best church on the planet, but our church has the best people on the planet.  Thank you to all of you who blessed me and my family…it means so much to us!

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04 2009

Picture time

Some family time with the kids…Andrew insisted he wasn’t tired!

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04 2009

Easter’s Here!

I can’t believe it.  Easter is this coming weekend.  So stinkin’ busy around NC…getting ready for the greatest event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Don’t miss one of our 7 services and make sure you invite your friends.

easter

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04 2009

Holy Busy Batman!

These past couple of weeks have been so busy.  Easter is right around the corner and we’re getting ready to take the Berkshires by storm.  I’m so excited, as this is the first time in a long time that we at Northway have celebrated Easter somewhere other than home…of course we’ll have our normal services on Saturday and Sunday at both of our locations, but Good Friday we’ll be at the Colonial Theatre.

At one of my many meetings this past week, my pastor asked me a sobering question…”What if this were your last chance to share the Good News?”  I of course thought the normal pastoral answer…”wow, how deep.”  But then he said, “if it were, it would change how you live and work.”  That hit me.

I have to admit, sometimes my job feels like a job, not a calling.  It’s stinkin’ hard to separate.  How do I categorize my personal and professional life with Jesus.  I battle that a lot…I bet most pastors do.

These last couple of weeks have been so busy.  I feel like everything I do, everyone I talk to, everything I plan…all of it is for the eternal investment in the lives of the people that will visit our church next weekend.  This is one of those times throughout the year that people who don’t normally go to church…will.  I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do next weekend.

What if it were your last chance to tell someone your story…the story of how Jesus changed your life?

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04 2009

Monumental Moment – PS:

Emily wore the clothes we laid out…still the parent.

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03 2009

Monumental Moment

Yesterday was a pretty busy day.  Started out like normal…rushing around the morning trying to get the kids ready for school in time.  I’m pretty sure that every parent deals with clothes wars with their kids.  Your kids want to wear one thing, yet you’ve already set something else out for them.  By the time they get around to putting them on and realize that they don’t want what you set out, it’s time to go.  Does anyone feel my pain?

Yesterday was no different.  5 minutes before departure, Emily had a meltdown.  I have to admit, she did well to obey…even though she wanted nothing to do with what Leah set out for her, she put it on…mumbling under her breath the whole time.  We’re firm believers that we’re the parents…not puppets.  Our kids do what we ask…they obey.  Most of the time, our kids will fight it, we hear what they have to say, then stay on mission…”mom and dad said this…that’s what you need to do…please obey.”

So Emily put up her normal fight, we held our ground…”put the clothes on Emily.”  Then she changed everything.  She came into the kitchen reluctantly with the clothes on…finally we thought.  Then she dropped to her knees and started crying.  “What’s wrong Emi?”

I don’t like these clothes…I don’t feel like me!

I didn’t put up my normal parental front…”stop crying, you’re not getting your way.”  We stopped, wrapped our arms around her and just let her get it out.  Lately she’s been asking me if she’s as pretty as girls/women on TV.  Of course I gave the standard answer…”of course you are, you’re beautiful!”  But yesterday was different.  I looked her in the eyes and told her she was beautiful…no matter what she was wearing.  It was a great moment for us.  I sat down…late for school…and took the time to let her talk it out.  It was important to her.  It made my day that she opened up.

Sometimes I get mixed up on what I should be doing as a parent.  “Don’t! Stop! Quit! Do this! Do that!  Obey!” are my normal mantras.  I can’t forget that my real job is to teach.  Yesterday was a teachable moment.  To give her the tools to handle life…that’s my calling.  If I don’t, someone/something else will.

Holy responsibility batman!  That moment was huge because it had nothing to do with clothes…it was all about inner beauty.  That was just one monumental moment…that started with clothes.  What’s the one about God going to start with?  Scares me…I want to get it right!

21

03 2009

Honor Up

Honor is a lost art.  Especially in honoring those above us…the people we answer to.  Why?  Because if we’re  being honest…we all have authority issues.  This past weekend at Northway was off the chain!  Our Colonie Campus Pastor, Brian Howe brought it.  God has appointed and annointed the senior pastor of our church…it’s time to Speak UP…Honor UP…or shut up!  Check out his message here:  Honor Up!

18

03 2009

“A Pleasant Surprise”

“A pleasant surprise”, Dr. Spooner said as we sat in the room listening to the results of Eliana’s latest echo cardiogram.  Since Eliana’s release from the hospital, the pressure gradient of her aortic valve has been doubling each visit to the doctors.  Not good.  Normal levels would be around 4, but Eliana’s number trend went all the way up to 57 six weeks ago.  The doc not only expected it to continue to increase, but pretty much said that these trends never change…maybe taper off, but following Eli’s trend, she’ll reach 70 and then internention would be needed.  We fully expected him to say that that was the case…but a “pleasant surprise” was not what we expected.

For the past 6 weeks we have prayed over her and spoke God’s power into her heart.  And low and behold, the pressure that usually doubles only increased by one point.  Bringing the gradient to 58…“a pleasant surprise.” While she is not healed of the problem, she won’t have to be checked again for 3 months.  This gives her time to gain more weight.  Which will help her when she does need the “intervention”…if she’ll need it.  Once again, the doc said that the trend should continue and we’ll be in the cath lab within her first year.

So the doc called this a, “pleasant surprise”, but I call it God’s hand working a masterpiece in my baby girl, building my faith day by day.  Its hard for me to express how I feel.  God is making his presence known in my life through my children.  I’m all choked up as I write this, because only a few days ago, I doubted.  “Did I pray enough?”  “Did I spend enough time with her?”  “Have I given enough attention to my little girl?”  “Could I/Should I have done more?”  I would have never chosen this path for my family.  But one day at a time, I know God has his hand on us.

Through all of this, I’ve met the most amazing medical staff.  Every visit brings back so many memories…so much gratitude.  I think I’ve left part of my heart at Albany Medical Center.  Every time we visit the cardiologist, we take the time to visit the NICU and  PICU. We love those nurses and doctors.  They’ve made such an investment in our family that we can never repay.

For the next 3 months I’ll enjoy each day with Eliana, Andrew & Emily.  We’ll finish up preschool, pick up their rooms countless times, change dirty diapers, ride bikes and hopefully take a trip to Alabama to visit Chad’s family.  I know that another echo cardiogram is just 3 months away, but for now I can relax because God has given us time.  My prayer is complete healing for Eliana.  And if not, I’m confident that God will walk us through whatever, “pleasant surprise” is next.

13

03 2009

Drew and Eli Update

Well the good news is Andrew’s eye is doing well and he did well on the hearing test at the ENT doc yesterday.  He does have scar tissue in one of his ears that will eventually cause hearing loss and of course will have to be surgically removed…that’s how we roll.  And he doesn’t go to the cardiologist for a couple of weeks…so nothing to worry about yet.

Tomorrow at 2:30pm is the appointment we’ve been dreading for awhile.  We go to the cardiologist for Eliana’s tests on her heart.  According to the doc, if nothing has changed and the trend of the pressure gradient for her aortic valve is the same…intervention is needed. First it would be balloon valvoplasty, then monitor it.  If that doesn’t work right then it’s on to valve replacement, which means open heart surgery every 1-2 years until she’s fully grown.

Please pray with us that God has changed her valve and made it grow…made it whole and complete. Looking at Eli, you’d never believe that she has heart issues.  We just don’t want her to go through this.  And selfishly, we don’t want the pain of it either.

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03 2009

The Office

What does a pastor do during the week?  The only thing people really see is what happens on the weekends, but by far the most strenuous work is done from Monday thru Friday.  All of the planning, effort, research, studying, scheduling, programming and practice happens when no one else is watching.  On a typical day, we may get visitors that want to see the church, ask questions or try and sell us something.  The same thing happens on the phones…questions about the church or again trying to sell the latest and greatest church resource.   Bottom line, it’s a pretty busy work environment.

Most of the time, when people call or visit that need help or have a question – although it’s never easy to break concentration on what you’re working on – it’s an honor and privlege to help when you can.  But, on occasion we get someone who simply wants to pick a fight under the guise of innocent questions.  You can always tell because they always preface their question or comments by this phrase, “I’d like to get your opinion on something”, or “What does your church believe about…?”  Although these conversations are so distracting, I have to be honest and say that I really like them.  I like the challenge of answering hard biblical or theological questions…ok, that was too nice, I just like having fun with people.  I was the lucky one that answered the phone and got the million dollar question this week.  Here’s how that conversation went:

“Are you a pastor?”  “Yes I am”, I answered.  Oh goody, I passed the credential test.  “What version do you use?”  I answered, “which one would you like to use?”  Nice one Chad, empower his question.   Then he asked me if John, when writing Revelation, only had the use of common language of the time in which he wrote it.  My answer, “great question, not a clue, I would assume so.  I wasn’t alive back then.”  Sweet…act dumb.  Now at this point, he really believed that he had me, he said, “Chad, I think I’m on to something here and I need your oppinion.  “Of course”, I said.  “Do you think that John, even though limited in his language back then to describe what he was seeing, was describing cloning in Revelation 13:15?”  “What do you think?”  I answered.  Nice…answer a question with a question.

Now at this point, I figured that I had spent enough time with this guy and asked what his name was and where he went to church.  He told me his name and then said that he doesn’t go to any church…not into the religion thing, just into Bible prophecy.  What a waste of brain power and time.  The longer I do this, the more I understand how mid-week distractions are one of the enemy’s best weapon.

 1 Timothy 6:20-21 says, “And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.”

 2 Timothy 2:23-24 says, “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”

 Titus 3:9 says, “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

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03 2009