… is what the Doctor told me.

At that moment, I don’t think I had the “correct” reaction. I’m not an argumentative person, but clearly, these health professionals were wrong. I grew up watching Redd Foxx have “The Big One” en route to joining Elizabeth, so I knew what a heart attack looks like. I actually laughed out.

She didn’t flinch, and stood her ground. “We’ve already got an ambulance dispatched. This is not a joke; if we do not handle this with seriousness, you could die.”

Alrighty then.

The saga started the night before. I felt, well, weird. Hard to explain; I just couldn’t sleep. Babetta asked me to check my blood pressure using the home cuff she recently purchased. The numbers were scarily high.

“You need to go to the hospital,” she counseled. I scoffed at this. I was not going to pay for that. Costs for emergency room — after insurance — would kill me anyway, I argued. She was not happy. “We need to go now.”

I should point out that I’m not an argumentative person, but she wouldn’t drop it. It’s not like I don’t value my well-being, but to go to the emergency room at 2 AM meant waking up the kids. And did I mention emergency room fees? Finally, I gave in told her if the numbers were still high in the morning, we’d go to a Walk In Clinic after the kids got to school.

They were high. Higher.

So we headed to the clinic. I mentally patted my back for avoiding the needless medical fees of the emergency room. They checked me in, took a blood pressure reading, and then it was ON. The look in the NP’s eye first indicated to me that something was seriously wrong. Before I could say “jump” I was manhandled, stripped topless and subjected to icy cold EKG pads.

And then it was really on. That’s when the doctor walked in and gave me some scary, scary news.

It did not sink in immediately. It did not register for a few seconds. I explained that I knew what heart attacks looked like. I had watched a few episodes of ER, House, and I had even mimicked Fred Sanford as a kid. I was not having a heart attack!

An ambulance? Seriously? I can see the emergency room from here?

I have a soccer practice to run later!

It didn’t register till I heard my wife quietly crying beside me. My wife doesn’t cry. The psychopath gave birth to three kids without medication. Seeing her tears brought the situation home. Then EMTs burst in with the grim faces and the blighted gurney.

Was I dying?

So here I was, working hard to avoid the emergency room, and I ended up being transported 200-some yards to the emergency room across the street. By ambulance, no less. While I allowed the nitro pill to marinate into a good headache, I couldn’t help but grouse about this type of nonsense only happening to me. Whatever.

I thought of crazy things. I rued not teaching m kids to eat Urhobo starch. Not getting to take my wife to Spain. Not building my parents a house. Not getting six-pack I knew was in there somewhere. Not “polishing” the devotional I had been writing. Not getting to see MIB 3. And, for a shamefully brief time, not being all I can be for God.

Not making enough of a difference.

I didn’t die. That might be a bit of melodramatic, but I do believe it is important to emphasize. I got through that day. The following fortnight was full of stress tests, radioactive substances and echocardiograms. I did wake up, though. The initial experience, a mere few weeks ago, changed me. Fear is a good motivator. And, while I don’t like to argue, I do believe there is quite a lot of things I still need to argue for. Too many people that need a voice, and just a little bit of hope.

 

$35.97

July 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

Reserving this space for a future testimony.

Some cool stuff from Kevin D Hendricks at Church Marketing Sucks that underscores how great it is to see churches help other churches.

From the blog post:

All of those things are great, but I love seeing churches giving back to other churches. We’re not in competition. We’ve all got the same goal. Why not help each other out?

Exactly. We all act sometimes like getting to heaven entails climbing on the prone bodies of vanquished brethren. No LOL.

As one who benefited from free youth ministry from Lifechurch.tv as a cash-strapped youth pastor, I have a special place in my heart for churches and organizations that are able to get beyond factionism and HELP others.

The Urhobos are a proud people that inhabit the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. Compared to other ethnic groups in the country, it would not be considered one of the biggest.

I’m a little biased, but few peoples come close to matching the Urhobo propensity for hard work and resourcefulness. Some of my happiest memories as a boy are of splitting time between Warri and Ethiope LG areas. Memories of the palm fruit bushels, green forest and rubber plantations still warm my heart to this day. Fresh fish for DAYS. Starch and ogwho soup. Ukhodo. Pepper soup. Oh my…

As with just about every tribal group in Africa, the Urhobos have intricate mores that match the language. From the unique foods, to the attire, to familial restrictions… all the way to the mode of greeting elders. When greeting an elder, most people of Urhobo heritage will perform a subtle bend of the knee while standing and utter “Miguo” as a sign of respect. “Miguo” is also is spoken as a form of gratitude as well.

What the term truly means (and what was lost on me till I was a teen) is something that opens up a whole lot of thought for me. During truly intricate events, when a person of Urhobo heritage is paying homage to an elder, they will kneel as a form of respect while saying the word. And that gives an idea of the true meaning of the word.

It means ”I’m on my knees.”

Taking this further, I am working on applying this to my personal walk with God. How cool would it be if, in EVERYTHING I do, I approach it with a spirit of Miguo? In His service. In supplication. In my actions as a husband, and father, and pastor, and coach. On my knees in COMPLETE worship, less of self and more of GOD. Reflecting the love of Jesus.

How awesome it would be.

Urhobo Waado!

 

[Image courtesy of cliff1066 via Wikimedia Commons]

The funny thing about preparation is that even when we do all that we are supposed to do, the unexpected can still happen. It’s why we have safety nets in circuses, guard rails on the highway and expensive insurance premiums.

And even then, things can still go wrong.

Check out Illinois Eisenhower Junior High’s Andrew Pawelczyk. He’s playing cymbals, and is able to get a couple strokes in prior to an equipment malfunction.

The strap came off, causing a funny extra and off-beat clash with the floor.

I’m no saint, I literally hollered with mirth at seeing the shock and consternation on his face when the mishap occurred. But I was also inspired by the way he gathered his composure, and his ad-hoc show of respect. Simply awesome. I don’t know that I’d be as composed as Andrew now. I absolutely love how he picked himself up, faced the flag, and showed everyone how to deal with adversity.

You gotta love the other elements of the video: the uncanny focusing right before the mishap, the unsubtle giggling of the bass drummer, the smile from the director. They all highlight the overall coolness of the clip.

Yes, I know… there are worse things that can happen than a dropped cymbal at junior high concert. Still, I’d like to point out that in that moment of time, there probably wasn’t anything worse than dropping a cymbal at a junior high concert for a cymbalist at a junior high concert.

Hats off to young Mr Pawelczyk for showing us that in the right hands, lemons ALWAYS become lemonade. Can’t stand this kid for being truly, truly awesome.

 

Watch out… being diverse and more welcoming to all people in US churches is seemingly becoming the norm — whether we like it or not.

DJ Chuang, who is about as attuned to matters such as these as anyone in the church, does a quick blurb to highlight this based on information posted by Dr Scott Thumma on HuffPo.

Cool stuff. Numbers are not everything, but on the optimistic side, I do believe attitudes are changing. We attend a church that is fairly multiracial, but one thing I do appreciate is that it feels natural. I am always cynical of forced behavior. Church diversity is a noble goal, but when we focus on loving God, and loving people, most things should fall in place.

I do understand that comfort sometimes a dictates a different reality, and forced assimilation ends up being mostly empty. Still, I believe that nothing is more beautiful than a body of believers that are open to blessing and being blessed by others regardless of exterior.

 

[Featured image courtesy of DryHundredFear via Flickr Creative Commons]

Why?

April 16, 2013 — Leave a comment

Sometimes, I don’t know what to say. Praying for all those affected by the events in Boston.

I am a Commonwealth baby.

Every now and then, I’ll catch myself telling people about stuff stored in my “boot” or asking people to open my “bonnet.” In public, too.

Gas is for cooking, while petrol is what you want for your car. I never drove LHD, but accelerators mostly trump gas pedals. And kids shouldn’t be lacing up cleats on the field to play soccer. Rubbish. They should be dusting off their boots to play football on the pitch.

Subtle differences, but enough to cause confusion. Communicating effectively can be a difficult endeavor.

When we design our church programs, it helps to have a focus, or the outreach may fall flat. With so much attention attached to experiences, we live in times were people don’t even try to sit through music they don’t like; they poke their heads in, turn around and walk out.

As much as it helps to be fluent in many types of communicative methods, I sometimes wonder if tacit specialization is not more profitable. Specific to churches and the people we are trying to reach… should church leaders fish with large nets (with potentially large holes) or use smaller, tighter nets, while graciously extending help to other fishers?

I don’t think is nothing wrong with focusing on a diverse, all-encompassing demographic; some churches do it very well, and nothing is cooler than seeing a diverse body in worship. But for many ministry teams, there is an opportunity cost associated with limited resources.

Here are some interesting thoughts from Gabe Taviano with regards to diversity in the church.

 

[Image courtesy of Sammis Reachers via realworhip.com]

Tough talk from my favorite blogger in the whole wide world.

Excerpt:

 

With so much wrong in the world, why do we have so much time to criticize each other for such simple things?  It’s not to say that Christians are always above reproach, but we spend the majority of our time trying to tear one another down, if not with politics then by denominational discord.

 

Word…

Encouragement

March 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

Just a quick note for anyone who may be going through something right now:

Psalm 37:23-24.

We might stumble; we might get tripped up. But God is always there.

What a promise…

“Lord, let me be the type of man You delight in.”