Have you every experienced really intense pain? I'm sure all of us have. Perhaps slamming your finger in a car door, falling hard on the payment (I can't count the number of times this has happened to me!), experiencing a cut, or a bad scrape. Several times in life I have stepped on a nail. Once I stepped on a broken sea shell that embedded itself in my foot and sent me to to the hospital. One of the worst pains I experienced was shots in my back. I was on my stomach on a table while the Doctor injected shots near my vertebrae. I gripped the edge of the table and tears welled up in my eyes. Sometimes we call pain "excruciating". Surely you can identify with that!

Every wonder what "excruciate" means? Origin: 1560-70; < Latin excruciātus, past participle of excruciāre to torment, torture, crucify (derivative of crux cross).

See that "cross"! Jesus experienced the cross for sinners. He experienced "excruciating" pain at the hands of wicked men.

This Easter weekend ignore the Peeps, the bunnies, the eggs and the candy and think about this:

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
Comment: See On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ. Image source.


Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" John 11:25

On her 94th birthday in 2014

B. May 9th, 1920
D. March 19th, 2016 (4:46 pm)


Seven things Never heard at a Church Missions Conference

  1. The mission field ... it is here! (It's there too ... but it is a gross error to ignore the next door!) There seems to be a overvaluing of the souls' saved in the far away places and an general resignation that the local sinners are to be avoided (best to isolate oneself from them lest they pollute us!). 
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (John 4:35)

The mission field is:
Your family and extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, et cetera). Image source.
 Suburbia (if that's where you live). Source

Where you work! (There's a pagan at the water cooler!)

(Comment on the top image - from the very funny film  Krippendorf's Tribe - Scheduled to lecture at a college and fearful of being charged with misuse of grant funds, James concocts an imaginary tribe, the Shelmikedmu, using the names of his children as a basis. He later fakes a 16 mm "documentary" film, casting his children as tribe members)

  1. Look in the mirror - you are the missionary! (Image Source)

Jesus gave the Great Commission to you too!

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

  1. Every Christian is a minister! (Image Source)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
There is far too much emphasis on the special clergy class verses the common laity class. This is gross error and not Biblical. If you are a Christian you've been called! If you are redeemed you are a minister. Use the above link to buy yourself a robe, if it will make you feel better! As for me I wear khakis and polo shirts!

  1. The construct of the itinerant professional evangelist is false. Every Christian is an evangelist! (Image source)
The following should be obvious but just to cover all the bases!
  • I'm not saying that every itinerant minister is an "Elmer Gantry"!
  • But I am saying that the modus operandi of:
    • Having a special meeting with ...
    • A high-octane speaker ...
    • To preach the gospel to ...
    • Invitees ...
    • Is not a pattern found in the New Testament!
  • Some will be more effective in evangelism because God has gifted some in this way! But every Christian who can open his mouth and form words as method of communication is to do so!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so (Psalm 107:2)
  1. Evangelism: It's not salesmanship! (Image source of door-to-door salesman)
I'm amazed by how some believers get hyped about multi-level marketing and how they can become so obsessed and evangelistic about these schemes. I grant that this is their business and their liberty. 

My point is to be amped about Jesus! 

I used to be a salesman. I've sold newspapers, candy bars door to door, women's shoes at the mall, and computers (my largest one time sale was $ 1.8 Million ... and that was in 1977 ... over $ 7 million in 2016 dollars)

When I say that evangelism is not salesmanship, I mean that God is sovereign over the results. God opens hearts - not us!
Acts 16:14, "Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."

I Corinthians 2:4, "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,"
  1. Evangelism is hard: Expect these results:
Acts 17:32-24, "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” .... However, some men joined him and believed,
    Some will (as illustrated from the above verse - or all of the book of Acts):
    • Mock, reject, react negatively
    • Have some interest - may consider the Gospel
    • Believe
It should be obvious that our efforts must be bathed in prayer and we must be patient!
Ephesians 6:12-18, " For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ... praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints "
  1. It takes money to evangelize! Invest in your own mission!
We are often reminded and exhorted to invest in missions and this is certainly a truism. My point here is that one's own ministry must be funded (and really self-funded!). Buy and give Bibles! Buy and give Gospels of Johns (we buy these by the hundreds and always have a short stack by the front door). Buy and give good books (examples here). Each of my 4 doctors from my recent surgery will be receiving a Bible from me this week. God in His sovereignty allowed my cancer trial, and God has put me in places (where I really did not want to be). I see myself as a missionary to these with whom I've come into contact.


Pathology, Certainty and Uncertainty

Today is 8 days past surgery: I saw the surgeon and had the loathsome catheter removed! I am feeling less connected and more human.

I'm not going to do many (and perhaps not another) blog posts on prostate cancer, but this is what is ahead for me:
  • Recovering urinary continence &
  • Recovery of sexual function.
The first is a virtual certainty and the second is a probability. Both will take time. For the second, I am to see a sex specialist in about 3 months (not a woman of the night!)

We received the pathology report today and it was good and not so good: The good: No evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes  or seminal vesicles. The not so good is that there was evidence of cancer on the surface of the prostate and that the cancer was more aggressive (Gleason score of 9) than first thought.

The marker for spread of the cancer is the PSA score. I am to have lab work in 3 months and see the surgeon. If there is cancer, radiation is the future course.

On the certainties of life: I am reminded of all the death in the book of Genesis (form of "So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died." - Genesis 5:17). Someday my story will be "So all the days of Jim were ???? years; and he died. " Thanks Adam ("For as in Adam all die!" - 1 Corinthians 15:22)

On life's uncertainties: when will I die? how will I die? (My choice is to be the second recorded man to die of a meteor strike! Or the first as the former is now disputed!)

On certainties: I know these things:

  • God is eternal: I Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever"
  • Jesus is God: John 10:30, "I and My Father are one"
  • He rose from the grave: Matthew 28:6, "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said"
  • And as Adam brought death, Christ brings life! 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" and 1 John 5:11, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" and Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"
Some Minnesotans (and many other people of the North) participate in ice plunges (something on my bucket list!). I liken receiving a cancer diagnosis (as I did 2 months ago) to an ice plunge: Wow that focused my attention! Cancer = BAD NEWS!

Being "preachy" now: Men are sinners and sin leads to death! Sin & Death = BAD NEWS! Good news is the Gospel (the word itself [εὐαγγέλιον] literally means "good news"). Concluding with my key verse: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15)

Image source

Update on 1/24/2017: Prostate cancer strikes many, kills few
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men: Incidence: One in seven men will be diagnosed with the cancer in their lifetimes, with the average age of diagnosis being 66. For 2017, officials estimate that 161,360 new cases will be diagnosed.

Death rate: Survival rates are relatively high: 26,730 deaths from prostate cancer are predicted in the U.S. in 2017. Nearly 3 million U.S. men diagnosed with prostate cancer are living today.

Treatment: Standard treatments include prostate removal surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Elderly men with Stage One cancers might opt to do nothing because the risks of treatment can outweigh the risks of a slow-growing cancer. Mayo Clinic is among the centers nationally testing proton beam therapy.

Survival: The relative survival rate from prostate cancer is almost 100 percent five years after diagnosis, and 95 percent 15 years after diagnosis — meaning that men with the cancer are almost as likely to live for those durations as men without the cancer. Survival declines with severity. A Stage Four cancer, which has spread to other organs, comes with a relative five-year survival rate of 28 percent.

Survivors: Former senator and presidential candidate Robert Dole, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, actor Robert De Niro, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre.


The Bull at Seven

Why this is the most untrusted bull market ever

 Excerpt (some nice charts in this article): (basically the S&P 500 has tripled!)

The bull market rally in the S&P 500 (^GSPC) that began on March 9, 2009 (when it touched the ominous 666) turned seven today, making it the second longest bull market since World War II.
Comment: Image source.

  • While we had been investing in our 401Ks, it was in 2008 or 2009 that we began investing extra in a brokerage account. One trade was 1000 shares of FITB at about $ 1, Later sold for $ 14. It was $ 1.24 on March 9th, 2009
  • I bought 100 shares of Ford on 7/15/09 for $ 6.92. Still have 80 of the 100.
  • In the Fall of 2008 or 2009,  we paid off our mortgage. That's when we began regularly buying stock outside of our retirement accounts.
  • Our retirement target was to be debt free, the S&P at 1500, and have a million invested. It did not work out exactly like that, but we are debt free with investments.


No Donuts in Heaven?

Child: "Is it true that Jesus died and went to heaven?"

Mother: "Yes"

Child: "Well I don't want to go there!"

Mother: "Why?"

Child: "Because there are no donuts in heaven"
Comments: Image source.

  • Conversation between my grand-niece and her mother
  • As related to me by my sister
  • We do (at least Christians do) wonder about heaven. So my grand-niece is wondering theologically!
  • My mother (almost 96) talks quite a bit about heaven: "I'm ready to go there". Just before my surgery she said perhaps I would be there soon with her! (It's my destiny but I prefer to stay with my wife for a bit!). 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, "So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."
  • Donuts in heaven sounds delightful! I enjoy a donut every now and then myself (Don't think I've had one yet so far in '16)
  • The key thing is that Jesus is in heaven! And that it will be joyous to see Him face to face!
  • (When I think of donuts in heaven ... the feeding of the 5,000 comes to mind!)
  • God giveth good gifts to His children. And we can count on that!


Harpooned - Surgery update

Note: This posts automatically to Facebook, and I basically provided this same update there. So F/B friends ... double post!

I have 5 holes in my abdomen ... but I am more "whale-like" than this image (source), hence the Moby Dick imagery above.

Thanks all who have prayed for me. My surgery was Wednesday and I came home yesterday. I have 5 holes in my abdomen but I am not in pain. I am a bit uncomfortable coughing, getting up, rolling over (in bed last night). 

I am moving but slowly. I am looking forward to Thursday as the catheter will be removed and I will no longer be tethered to a bag with a long tube. 

I had very good care at Methodist Hospital (Saint Louis Park). I am amazed by the passion for care that nurses and nurses’ aids have. Additionally, there are a myriad of other volunteers (like a person who brought a warm washcloth every morning and the food staff) who are incredible. 

I have an amazing wife who loves and cares for me! 

If you have read this far here is what I hope be be a funny thing and an interesting thing: 

Funny thing: In post-op (where one comes out of anesthesia). I kept repeating “I’m going to have surgery in two weeks”. Nurse: “You had surgery”. Me: “It’s in two weeks”. I’m not sure how long this went on but it seemed to be 5 or 10 times. Finally me: “I had surgery?”. Nurse: “Yes”. Me: “Am I dreaming?” Nurse: “No!” 

Interesting thing: I had IV’s in both hands. Yesterday as I was preparing to leave both were removed. Now detached from everything and getting dressed, blood spirted from where the IV was in my right hand. Kathee was helping me get dressed and my hand was near my crotch. There was a lot of blood on the floor and the bed and I thought it was coming from my private parts. Nurse Sean came to the rescue. The floor looked like a crime scene.

Thanks all for your prayers!


"In Surgery" Entertainment

Some surgery entertainment

 Comment: prepared pre-surgery (I am likely in a hospital bed as this posts)


Operation - Today is the day

My surgery (blog post)

Interesting background:

‘Operation’ Inventor, 77, Can’t Afford Real Life Operation


In an ironic twist of fate, the inventor of the famous board game Operation is in need of money to pay for an operation. In 1964, John Spinello invented the classic children’s game, in which players attempt to perform “surgery” without tripping a buzzer, and sold it to a toy invention firm for just $500. In spite of its great success, that’s the only money he ever received for the game. Now 77, Spinello can’t afford to pay $25,000 for an oral surgery.

 Comment: Hope to be home on Friday