Monday, August 29, 2005


Just spoke with Mom (Monday afternoon):
Sisters, if you're reading this, don't tell her I told. After two weeks, Dad goes back to his physician, but if things aren't progressing well, he'll go to a pulmonologist. That's all to be expected. What disturbs Mom, however, is that pneumonia has been so quickly found. In her experience, it is always very difficult to find it. It doesn't just show up the size of a baseball on an X-Ray. So, she's still uneasy...and worried.

Dad's going home this afternoon and they believe it truly is pneumonia! There will be a follow-up X-Ray in two weeks to confirm and monitor, but for now, that's it. Antibiotics and no chemotherapy.... Thanks for praying!

They want to keep Dad until Monday, at least, so the radiologists can look at him. There's a spot on his lung the size of a baseball. It might not be pneumonia... Mom's having a hard time talking about it. Please pray for my family.

Dad was doing better today. The initial tests for tuberculosis were negative and no one has mentioned a stroke. They had a scare this morning when he started shaking pretty significantly and the doctors ignored Mom about it at first. Later, she pointed out that they had been failing to give him Morphine, to which he is necessarily addicted. They had sent him into withdrawal and later apologized.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


My Dad fell down this morning and is in a hospital in East Tennessee tonight. Mom awoke at 6:47 to find him with his feet still inside the house, but his body sprawled onto the concrete slab, one step below their back door. He hadn't even called for her--he just lay there until she got up. Remarkably, he didn't break any bones, but he's not well. He has pneumonia and they await the results of today's CT scan to see if a stroke was involved.

Dad's been struggling with a range of ailments these last few years and an event like this makes us all really nervous. In honesty, there have been weeks where I was amazed he was still walking. Certainly, the lack of broken bones reminds us that he is still a bit tougher than we thought--at least on the outside. His insides are a mess, but there's more to this.

On the inside, Dad has been softening. It must have been over a decade ago when I explained that I wasn't going to be an engineer and was moving toward full time ministry. He was disappointed and it hurt, but I only hold onto that memory for one reason: he's not disappointed anymore. I don't remember exactly when the changes started. After his first heart attack, our relationship began to shift. By the time Grandaddy died, we would have regular conversations about the Bible and God's goodness. A trip to Virginia about three years ago was the clincher. Something happened on that trip.

Dad has always believed, but I'm not so sure he used to believe that the forgiveness God offers really applied to him personally, and I don't think he really believed it was free. He does now. Don't read ahead--those of you who know Rex Pruitt wouldn't really call him tender. But if you know him well, you know that he sits by the beds of those who are dying, and he does the laundry on Mondays and he teaches the Bible to his class every Sunday. There are hints of Galatians 5:22-23 on the insides.

Daddy's proud that I am in ministry now--he tells me whenever he sees me. I'm proud of him too. Please pray for him to heal. We want him to see me graduate from seminary. And pray for mom too--she found her husband lying in a doorway this morning. I'm sure we can imagine what her fears must have been. And pray for my sister, who is taking care of them.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gorillas in the Midst

Tonight was the first official practice for the Rowlett Gorillas--my very own soccer team! Actually, they're the Green Gorillas, or just the Girl-illas, but we stick with Gorillas to keep it simple. I know what you're thinking; "Doesn't work and seminary already make it hard for Steve to save time for his own kids?" Well, yes, but this is also Madison's team and Megan is my assistant. Madison got sick and couldn't make practice, but Megan did a great job setting up the field!

Truth be told, I know very little about soccer. But I know a lot about kids, and even more about parents. We told the parents that one of our primary goals was to teach each of the girls what her value was to the team. Granted, 5-year-olds don't play like Beckham, but some are fast, some are brave, some are clever and some are intimidating. In the end, we want these little girls to believe they are special--not because everyone is special, but because we've been able to encourage very specific things in each of them through the season. But the best part is the parents.

Wendy is awesome. For the parent meeting, where the coach tells the parents what's going on and how much they owe, most coaches meet at the practice field and roll through the material. Wendy had them all over for tea and cookies and we sat in our living room with a group of strangers and we got to know every parent and where they work. One mom even told Wendy about the custody issue they were struggling with. For those of us who work in the church, you cannot imagine how good that felt and how good it is for my family. We have a group of people who are trusting us with their children and allowing us to enter their lives and we have no idea where they are with Christ. Pray for us. Sometimes the best thing in the world for an overwhelmed family is to add one more thing--one thing that keeps everyone focused on why we're here in the first place.

Laptops for the Lawless

This is pretty sad. I'm especially disturbed by the way people blamed the county for poor management. They should have known that people would trample old folks who got in their way. As if...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bear Essentials

Last week, Wendy's dad noticed an especially large dog outside his Tennessee home. When his wife looked out the window, they realized it wasn't a dog--it was a bear. Wendy's parents live inside a city of about 60,000 people. There aren't supposed to be bears there. Animal Control assured them it was being tracked and would be returned to the mountains. So much for the bear.

The next day, Wendy's mom saw the neighbors outside and went to the rescue. She informed them of the bear story and proceeded to bang two pots together to keep the bear at bay. Anyone who has seen the Discovery Channel knows that was a good plan, but there probably wasn't a bear within miles by that point. There's a lesson in here.

Many of us live in fear of bears we have never seen. We convince ourselves that they're real and then when trouble comes, no matter how small, we panic because we have already taught ourselves that it must be a bear. Jack Groppel calls these "boars in the woods" and says they derail us from our mission (Jack doesn't know about the bear, but he actually tests this on people using a fake boar).

If you ever see a bear out your window, then grab some pots and make some noise. But most of us have never seen a bear anywhere near our windows. As believers, we don't have to be derailed by fear of things that aren't there. Quit being afraid of them. Do not conform any longer to the [fears] of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Made in China

Wendy's doing much better--the stone seemed to pass sometime Friday evening. When you live as far away from your church as we do, it's pretty surprising to watch people step into your lives. Wendy called me at work on Thursday; Allie immediately offered to come keep the kids so we could go to the hospital. Friday evening, Amy called and ordered supper for us at Chilis. Sunday afternoon, Stephanie handed me a meal for the night. And, of course, the Riot of Passage at Six Flags went well without me, even with a thunderstorm in the middle of the day (I have a wonderful team and a great boss).

The church is an amazing thing, really. Sometimes you wonder why we bother; other times you wonder what you would do without it. Moving to a metroplex is no easy task. We often wonder about those who do it completely alone. We were lonely, but we do have the church and we too easily take it for granted. God provides through the church.

I've been troubled lately by the famine in Africa. Do Christians ever starve to death? I mean, Paul had times where he was in hunger. Certainly Christians die in persecution. Mr. Abassi told me of some students at his seminary who had recently witnessed a beheading by their captors and began to pray they would be shot instead of beheaded. Somehow they escaped. Here's my real question: Who's responsibility is it to make sure no Christians ever starve to death? In the New Testament, it was the church. Paul collected from the wealthier churches to provide for the poor ones--the ones who were hungry because they were persecuted and couldn't find jobs.

Our church has adopted a people group in India. The Marathi people. Sometime in the next six months, we want to send a team to India to make a DVD for our body so they can meet the Marathis and learn to love them--so a wealthy church can care for a poor one, a persecuted one. I might actually get to go. When Megan looked it up on the globe, she said, "Why don't you go to China and then you can see how everything is made."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Riots of "Passage"

Wendy is doing much better...after we learned she has a kidney stone at the emergency room last night! I've never seen anything that hurts so badly--the pain honestly causes vomiting (not the stone, just the pain). She's medicated now and resting and we await the passing of the stone!

In the meantime, Wildlife is at Six Flags for the Riot of Passage--a key moment for the entry of the new seventh graders. It represents a defining moment for our students--a day when they truly become part of Wildlife. They'll spend the first half of the day (11-3) on a 150 task scavenger hunt that spans the park and pulls from multiple gifts on each team and requires the use of a backpack, a Polaroid, a calculator, a stopwatch and a flashlight! The teams allow you to keep one friend and then force you to meet and work with 6-7 other students. At supper, the winning team gets a gift bag with a $15 movie card for each member--not too shabby!

As Wendy sleeps, I'm listening to myself preach at Bent Tree last weekend. I confess that's strange, but it's valuable for me to critique and learn from the experience. If you're interested, or morbidly curious, you can listen here. I'm kind of excited about it--I get to teach again on Nov. 20!