What should I have done?

On August 27, 2009, I will celebrate my NINTH anniversary of being a "Chicagoan." It has been quite the ride...to say the least. It has been an education--that I would have not acquired any other way....

It is just a "normal day's routine" to pass five, ten, twenty people who are asking for money, making claims of being homeless or hungry or both. I usually just walk on by.....and have done so for many years....with a few nonmemorable exceptions.

However, last Sunday evening, I was in Millenium Park for the FREE concert by the United States Coast Guard. I had stopped by the local SUBWAY sandwich shop, and taken advantage of the $5.00 footlongs (love those things!) so I could have something to eat before the concert.

I only ate half of my sandwich, putting the remaining half in the backpack...fully intending to take it home, and eat it for breakfast Monday morning.

As I was leaving the concert, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk, holding a sign saying he was hungry. This time, completely out of character for me, I stopped, and gave him the half sandwich. I told him that it was good, that it was somewhat fresh, and that if he were really hungry that he should eat it.

I'm wondering what he did with the other half of that sandwich. I'm wondering if he really ate it, or just throw it away as soon as I got out of eye sight.

I've bought people food before, and watched them throw it in the garbage can as soon as I got out of eye-sight from them. Most of them never knew I was watching them...until I confronted them.

I know what Jesus said about feeding the poor, and clothing the naked, and tending to prisoners....but what about the "abuses"? That part still bothers me...

Confession time: All I ever wanted to do

I have two "dreams" in my life...and sometimes, I am near tears wondering if these things will ever come to pass..again.

First, I love to sing. Nothing stirs my soul, and causes me to praise God like good singing. I've been privileged to sing all over the world...and I thank both the Lord and the United States Air Force (in that exact order) for giving me that privilege. I am fully convinced the Lord can use the words and music to good singing to powerfully reach someone's heart...because He has done that just for me. As one great gospel song from my childhood says, 'I was there when it happened and I guess I ought to know.' My absolute favorite devotional/worship tool is my worn-out Nazarene hymnal that someone gave me about 22 years ago when I was worshipping at Denver First Church. That hymnal goes just about everywhere with me.

Second, I love to encourage people through preaching and teaching. I've not done nearly enough of that for a very, very long time. Somehow, I got sidetracked...or more accurately, "off track" with these things, and have never 'found my way' back to using these desires and gifts. I love to see the transformation that God works in someone's thinking and life through the power of His Spirit and His Word.

If I had the opportunity to go into full-time "Christian ministry" right now, I'd go...without a second thought. But, alas, now I want to make sure the Lord Himself has opened the door...and sometimes while we wait for the "assurance" of open doors, we miss the door altogether.

I'll confess more later....I promise.

One more small detail....

and I will be cleared to give a kidney to my precious friend, Dr Bill George. I found out today that my 24 Hour Urine/Creatinine Clearance test was perfectly normal...Praise the Lord....I have, personally, botched the last three of those myself---I simply overhydrated. This time I followed the "letter of the law" to the nth degree. It came out as it should.

I take my last round of shots tomorrow morning, early...very early. My doctor will send a professional statement/opinion to the Surgical Team at University of Alabama Renal Transplant Center before 3 p.m. and we should have a final decision sometime on Thursday morning.

I am getting more excited about this now. I am convinced that I heard from God back in early April...even though this entire process has been frustrating to no end. If you want hear the testimony of how God spoke to me, follow this link:

Scroll down to June 10th, and listen to my conversation with Chris Fabry for the first 10-12 minutes of the broadcast. (That very afternoon I flew to Birmingham, and underwent RIGOROUS medical procedures the next day to determine my suitability to be a kidney donor).

Now, we are seeing the "all clear sign"---almost....please continue praying over this situation. I want to make sure that I'm doing exactly what I need to be doing to be obedient.

This has been a real learning experience...and a great education for me. It has been a learning experience in that I've had to rely on the wisdom that comes only from God....and to follow His leading....however imperfect my following has been.

I am getting excited again.

Whatever happened to:

1) Professional courtesy? When you call an office, or a place of business, you should ALWAYS identify yourself. NO ONE should ever have to ask your name before you start into your "35 questions". If you aren't willing to "identify" yourself...then don't use the telephone. It's that simple.

2) Being Punctual? Your appointment is for 10 a.m. You show up at 10:15, with no real reason for doing so. You have a cell phone, but you didn't bother calling to inform the person WAITING FOR YOU that they must wait a little while longer. The "10:20" appointment has just shown up, and so did you. Should the "10:20" appointment wait because you were late? Not in my office. You were late....I'll get to you as soon as I can.

3) Using decent English? "Naw" and "Yeah" are not acceptable in my office. "No" and "Yes" are perfectly acceptable and expected. I keep reminding students, who come in my office, that we are professionals, and that we will comport ourselves as professionals. "Gnaw" is what a rat does...and I don't keep cheese in my work space.

4) Turning your iPod down? If I wanted to hear your music, I'd let you know. There are reasons these gadgets have headphones, and you plug them in YOUR ears. Not mine. I don't want to hear your music....so turn it down. And do it now!

5) Keeping your eyes and attention on the road? I was absolutely horrified to see some young female riding her bicycle down one of Chicago's busiest streets, with no helmet, had an iPod plugged in her skull, and then talking on a telephone as well...ON A BICYCLE, no less.
Where were the Chicago Police when this was happening? This person should have been arrested...yes, ARRESTED, for reckless endangerment.

more later.

Why we MUST have healthcare reform!

My friend Joe Misek (www.joemisek.blogspot.com) tells me that I am very passionate about some things.

Joe is right. Health care reform is one of them. While I may not agree with a lot that is in the current plan making its way through Congress, we have ignored this problem long enough.

Of course, there are so many angles to real, effective Health Care Reform. Everyone must be involved:

1) First and foremost, the American populace. How does the "public" get involved?
We start with preventative measures: Leading healthier lifestyles, watching our over-consumption of just about everything, exercising, etc. NO amount of medical care in the world (free or otherwise--and someone will be paying for it ALWAYS) will take the place of good health habits.

2) The Medical Access Act of 1981 has turned on us. When I was a teenager, one dared not go to the Emergency Room unless said person had adequate health insurance, or adequate cash. While it wasn't always fair (and I almost died of an illness when I was 15 years old), hospitals and doctors' offices were not overwhelemed with "non-payers." Thanks to President Reagan--who meant well--every Emergency Room in the country must now treat whomever presents themselves to an emergency "facility." With or without insurance. With or without the means to pay for services rendered.

Unfortunately, far too many people living here in these United States have seriously ABUSED this well-intentioned law. Now, instead of going to their regular family physician, many just show up at the ER for whatever happens to be ailing them at the time. With or without ability/means to pay for services rendered. The Emergency Room is the least effective and most expensive form of medical care, on a long-term basis. The Emergency Room is meant for EMERGENCIES only. Aunt Sally's runny nose is NOT an emergency. Neither is the headache that you've had for the last 4 days....in most instances.

3) Physicians must be encouraged AND allowed to be the "caregivers" and "healers" for whence they have trained for many years. NOT just a paper-pusher, or a servant to the insurance bureaucracies. Too many insurance companies are calling the medical shots...and they are NOT QUALIFIED TO DO SO.

more on this later.

The Kidney Transplant Donor Update...

I'm hoping that I can see the "end" or the "clearance" from here...I'm taking shots for an infection that I had a LONG TIME ago, but that still shows up as "reactive" when a blood strain is done.

I'm very grateful for the wonderful medical staff at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Renal Transplant Center. These men and women are being SUPER CAUTIOUS, and I'm thankful for this---as tedious and wearing as it is. If I were the one "receiving" the kidney, I would certainly want this same type of caution.

As of right now, it looks like the transplant will be in Mid-late August at the very earliest. God is in control of all these things, and I'm going to trust it into His loving, careful hands. (At this point, I really don't have a choice anyway....not that I ever did).

But please keep praying over this situation. I am still excited...I just need to stay that way. I need to keep trusting that the Lord will bring it all to pass...

Jesus, The Healer!


My great friend, (now-retired General Superintendent, the International Church of the Nazarene), Dr Jim Diehl preached this wonderful message on "Jesus, The Healer" about 10 days ago at the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene, which convened in Orlando, Florida.

Go to the link, and scroll over to the 1:22 (one hour, 22 minutes) segment, and listen to one of the most powerful messages you will ever hear on healing.

Praise the Lord for His healing power!