An Uber driver and riders via dashcam sing "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd. Love this song and love the big smile I got from this video to start my Weeknd. Now download the song, because good pop music is good.
Another year, another first day of school! Love these growing and maturing and beautiful children. As a case study, you might want to note Elijah's slow growth compared to the other kids. Elijah was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in early 2015, which is the cause of his delayed growth.
First we (me, Molly, Elijah, and Danny) met with Elijah's rheumatologist on Tuesday at Shriner's Hospital in Oak Park. E had received some physical therapy for arthritis at her request and he's done well with it. No need to continue, though he is still a little tight. E has morning soreness, but mostly can do whatever he likes, so we feel this area of his health is better.
We went to the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago (RMHC) after for our overnight, but had most of the day to play around. So we grabbed some Shake Shack for lunch, which is Elijah's absolute favorite place to eat in the city. Then we headed to Millennium Park, which was a favorite place to visit when our kiddos were smaller. Haven't been there in years. It was a wonderful, relaxing time and the boys had a blast.
Then back to the room to relax, then some dinner as provided at the RMHC...italian beef, chips, fruit, and root beer floats. After dark we decide to head back out and walk down to Navy Pier. Not to do anything, but just enjoying a gorgeous evening in Chicago.
Wednesday Elijah had 9am Remicade infusion at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. He was upbeat and happy the whole time, which has not been his experience in previous treatments. He's not a fan of the way Benadryl makes him feel. But this was the best he's felt during treatment, which was a real blessing since we didn't go home right after like usual.
At 3:10pm, and after lunch at Blaze Pizza, we had an appointment with Dr. Brown, E's gastroenterologist. This is the first time we have met with his doctor since his diagnosis. That was the plan from the beginning. They like at least 4 treatments before a follow-up.
A little background: As of the 4th treatment, we were concerned that E wasn't growing enough, or fast enough. We felt there may be a significant growth spurt, so the worry was that the Remicade wasn't working, maybe that his body was developing antibodies for it. Two different tests in the last several weeks seemed to show that the Remicade was working well, but we wanted to hear the doc's explanation.
Here's doc Brown's analysis.
1. Elijah is a healthy boy. There is no evidence of Crohn's sores in his body. Everything from previous tests as well as blood taken Wednesday showed every level of every area of possible concern shows nothing to be concerned about. Everything in his body and blood looks fantastic and the Remicade is doing the job.
2. Elijah is growing better than ever. His growth chart before diagnosis showed plateaued growth. Really bad. Really skinny. Really small. His growth chart since Remicade treatments have started is nearly straight up. It's not explosive growth, but it's solid and continual growth.
We learned months ago that Elijah's bone age was that of a 10-11 year old though he's 14. The doc said that's a good indicator that all the growing that he hasn't done isn't a closed door to future growth. If his bone age was of a 14 year old, he may never get too big. But his body is still ready for explosive growth and we are very thankful for that.
3. Elijah's way forward is patience and calories. With everything headed in the right direction for him, the goal now is getting him good calories. He's eating fairly well, though not eating everything in site like kids often do when growing rapidly. So we are going to start supplementing his diet more with something like Carnation Breakfast Essentials which isn't cheap but helps him add good calories in a simple way. The doctor said to think of how we can do things daily that add up over time to get him the stuff his body needs to grow.
We don't know if he will take off quick with more growth or just keep going slow and steady. Either way, the doctor is convinced it's going very well and we can be happy he's a healthy, growing boy. While Remicade treatments will continue every 8 weeks, we won't see the doctor again until mid-winter since all is going so well.
Thanks, as always, for the many who have been praying for Elijah and our family. Thanks for your expressions of love and concern. I get asked so often about his health, and just in the asking we feel well loved. We've even received some gifts from some of you to help and they have been a tremendous help to us. We love you and thank you so much.
This is my favorite song right now. It on repeat. It's a new song from Jason Isbell's new album Something More Than Free called "24 Frames."
You thought God was an architect, now you know
He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow
And everything you built that’s all for show goes up in flames
In 24 frames
"...between...times of devotion, labor to be much in ejaculatory prayer. While your hands are busy with the world, let your hearts still talk with God; not in twenty sentences at a time, for such an interval might be inconsistent with your calling, but in broken sentences and interjections. It is always wrong to present one duty to God stained with the blood of another, and that we should do if we spoiled study or labor by running away to pray at all hours; but we may, without this, let short sentences go up to heaven, ay, and we may shoot upwards cries, and single words, such as an "Ah," an "Oh," an "O that;" or, without words we may pray in the upward glancing of the eye or the sigh of the heart. He who prays without ceasing uses many little darts and hand-grenades of godly desire, which he casts forth at every available interval. Sometimes he will blow the furnace of his desires to a great heat in regular prayer, and as a consequence at other times, the sparks will continue to rise up to heaven in the form of brief words, and looks, and desires."
From Charles Spurgeon's sermon "Pray Without Ceasing."
This is great whether you like Father John Misty, Arcade Fire, or just good music.
Heard a great discussion with Sam Allberry yesterday about his book Is God Anti-Gay? (Kindle only $5.99). Once again The Good Book Company is showing that they are serious about publishing important (and often wonderfully succinct!) books for our time.
I also discovered this talk Sam gave at the ERLC national conference in 2014 which I remember hearing about but until now hadn't heard. Good stuff.
This is maybe the first time Fox News seemed interesting to me. #Genius
Some supercheap gems...
NAC Studies in NT Theology
- Believer's Baptism by Tom Schreiner & Shawn Wright ($0.99)
- The End of the Law by Jason Meyer ($0.99)
- God's Indwelling Presence by Jim Hamilton ($0.99)
Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" mashed up with "Bad Blood." Maybe you thought her music sounded a bit recycled?? You were right.
- Leon Bridges - Coming Home | soulful throwback goodness
- Wolf Alice - My Love Is Cool | fun, summery indie pop
- Son Lux - Bones |
- Meg Baird - Don't Weigh Down the Light | formerly of Espers. Beautiful
BURNING UP MY iPOD (yes, I still use my iPod)
From Crossway, on The Prodigal Church...
"This is my manifesto. I'm not angry about it. I'm not throwing stones. I just want to raise the banner for the gospel. I want it to fly high over all of our churches. Because in the end, they're not our churches, but Christ's.."
So everyone thinks my baby girl, Sarah (who graduated high school on Saturday!), looks like Emma Stone. Whaddaya think?
What Small Churches Can Do by Joe Thorn | 3 articles so far...
My Sermon Planning Worksheet by Chad Brooks | I'd do this a little different, but I'm sure many will find it helpful. Chad writes...
I really prefer having a physical document to orient my sermon preparation. I have found beginning a sermon on this sheet and letting it be for a couple of weeks is a great jump start to my weekly preparation.
The brass barrel of the Retro 51 Homerun is wrapped with a lacquer finish that has slightly raised red markings that do a great job of simulating not only the look but also the feel of actual stitches on a baseball. The main body of the pen isn’t pure white, but more of an antique white which matches nicely with the antique brass looking finish of the clip and other accents on the knob and nose cone of the pen.
New Jazz: The Epic by Kamasi Washington | I've turned to this nearly every day since I bought it for new and interesting jazz that both grabs my attention and yet doesn't break my focus on reading, writing, and general work that takes concentration.
The White Horse Inn is one of my favorite podcasts. The newest episode of WHI is a discussion between Michael Horton and Scot McKnight on The Church & The Kingdom of God. Scot's recent book, Kingdom Conspiracy, is in focus.
I've been able to spend some time with Scot and I always love hearing his perspective. I encourage you to listen to this one.
This book is for you--the normal, unimpressive, everyday person, young or old, male or female--because Jesus means to carry out his mission of filling the world with his presence through you. You are meant to do this.
The mission of Jesus is yours to participate in. It has always been God's intention to choose normal, everyday people, and to show his amazing power and glory through them. He's not looking for the most impressive person because he already is that person.
For the last day of National Poetry Month, I give you Billy Collins' "animated poetry." I've posted these before and will probably post them again in the future. He is one of the most accessible of our living poets and this animated poetry is fantastic and perfect for introducing folks to poetry who think it's over their head.
New Music - Out Today
Recent Noteworthy Books
Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt -- I've been able to spend some time with Jeff the last few years at conferences and Soma School. Remarkable guy with a remarkable (and simple) vision for the church being the church. And the vision, as I have experienced it first hand, is being realized. A book I wish I could gift to every one of my pastor friends.
Blind Spots by Collin Hansen -- "It's easier to associate only with our own. But anyone in the world can have that kind of community....True community results only from a miracle." Hansen explains and why the Church is are divided into three groups and how all three are important and should unite us.
The Reformation Study Bible (ESV) ed. R.C. Sproul -- Gorgeous and very useful. I use the ESV Study Bible every week, almost daily, and the RSB will now be used weekly as well.
Mea Culpa by Kyle McClellan -- I served in a volunteer capacity with Kyle as he pastored a church in Lexington, Kentucky over a decade ago. This is a book about his service as a young pastor who made some mistakes.
Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision by Paul House -- As a guy who juuust missed having Paul House as a seminary professor (he left SBTS just as I arrived), I always look for chances to learn from him. Here's another opportunity specifically concerning theological education.
17 Bucket List Fried Chicken Restaurants -- Steve is getting HUUUNGRY!
5 Solutions for Churches that are Stalled -- "It's one thing to spout off statistics about stagnant churches, but it's a whole different sack of potatoes to acknowledge that your church has stalled. So I won't tell anyone that you're reading this. Our little secret. Here are five things you do when your church stalls."