Thursday, March 29, 2007

Surgery, traffic ticket and sermon

Ok, so I am trying to set up a time to get together with a guy, Steve, who plants churches in downtown San Diego. In trying to find a day to get together, I told him that I had surgery tomorrow and next week needed to work on my Easter sermon as well as defend a friend in a traffic trial. He replied, "In my world, surgery, speeding tickets and sermons make for a good blog." So, here goes.

The surgery was just canceled, which is a good thing. A wonderful and gracious woman has volunteered to donate one of her kidney's to me! I convinced my doctors to allow me to continue dialysis through my "tubes" and we would fast track the testing and reconsider the surgery if something doesn't work out. Today's dialysis was fairly non-eventful.

I have another friend, I will call him Bill to avoid any embarrassment. "Bill" has a mess of speeding tickets (and other varieties as well). He had let them all slide for a while and was going to show up at court and just say "what do I owe." I told him that this approach, while good with one ticket, can get you in jail when you have many and many of those are old. I also thought it would be a hoot to fight one of them -- which I thought winnable. The trial is next Friday. Should be fun, but have to study speed trap radar law. And, then on Sunday, I preach at the joint service of the San Diego Taiwanese Presbyterian church -- it will be a blast.

Hmmm. I guess it doesn't make such an interesting blog after all. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Food to the Poor and Preaching to the Ears

Just got back from our monthly food distribution at the Silverwood Apartments. Located in a multi-square block area that has the fastest growing poverty rate int the state of California. Last year, our missional community of teen-agers adopted this complex -- at least to the extent that once a month we buy a car load of food at the San Diego food bank and then provide a box full of food to our "neighbors." We don't actively evangelize, no tracks or requirement to listen to us to get food (evangelize is our ultimate purpose, not our ulterior motive). Today a man asked, "why are you doing this?" "We love Jesus," I said, "Jesus said to love our neighbors, and you are our neighbors." It's fun -- even causes some of the kids to dance. After we are done, we take the kids to Dairy Queen for a nice soft serve cone. It's all a good time.

On another front, we are finally up and running, on the internet thanks to my friend Tu Nguyen. I preach each Sunday at a congregation called The Underground. It's the English speaking congregation of a Taiwanese church. My goal, to help them (and me) to realize the Kingdom of God as a reality here and now; as an already and not yet reality. And then, to help them discover what the ramifications of that are in every area of their life. Right now we are in a series called Journeying With Jesus from the book of Luke. Give a listen if you like.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bad Dialysis Day

Ok, so many people ask what dialysis is like (some ask what it is). So, I decided I would give a quick description. I have tubes that were surgically tunneled through my skin for about 8 inches and come out my chest (with an in and an out). The other end goes into my carotid artery. The nice folks at the dialysis unit hook a tube (in and out) to me and then start a pump which pumps out 500ml per minute of my blood. The tubing takes my blood to a filter which is about two or three inches wide and 15 inches long. And for 3 hours my blood is cleaned as it flows through the filter and mixes with a chemical water. And since my kidneys don't work, I can't expel liquids in the "natural" way, so any quantity of liquid I drank over the past several days is somehow leached from my cells in the process. Ok, that is the how.

Today was a really bad day on dialysis. I was going to write something else (I thought about it earlier in the day but cannot remember it now). My blood pressure crashed 86/59 and I passed out for a moment, covered in sweat. But the worst was the cramping -- always a possibility at dialysis. First my big toe turned awkwardly away from my foot -- all of it's own accord. Then the entire foot and calf on my left leg cramped up. Then the middle of my back. The nurse had to pump saline into my body, which meant that I did not get off enough water weight, and will have to take more off next time. It was no fun. All but the cramping and blood pressure crash are three time a week experiences.

Hope I don't sound grumpy -- you asked.

Now, as I sit here, two hours later, my ears are ringing, my thoughts not clear, I'm light headed and dizzy. I'm also very grumpy -- I seem to be that way after each treatment until I go to bed.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Put Away Anger

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”(Col 3:8)

First off, by and large, I did not experience the feeling of indwelling anger today: Lord I'm not angry, help me to be not angry.

So, I'm at the gym (which I used to love, but on dialysis its not much fun) which I now force myself to do three times a week, and as usual listening to a sermon. Who to choose: Rob Bell, Francis Chan, Erwin McManus, and a bunch of others. I picked a favorite who had been out of the playlist for a while, the ever reliable John Piper. He talked on bitterness and putting aside anger.

I know God doesn't want me angry and I know I don't like being angry. I actually don't mind being angry when something makes me angry -- no, I don't like the state of being, where my being is angry. Piper challenged that it is a lack of faith, a lack of belief in God's promises. Yeah, that seems true. So, I determined to wake each day with the first words off my lips a request that God take away my anger and replace it with his peace.

And similar to the dad in John's gospel, I will each morning say I'm not angry -- help me to not be angry.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Back

Ok, so I have not been posting -- last post New Years Eve. So, I am going to post once a day for a week and see if I develop better habits.

So, since the last post, I have gone on dialysis, which I must do every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Frankly, it sucks. But, there are people out there that have it far worse than me to be sure. I have found that during this season, I have been angry. I walk around at about a 7 on the scale of 1-10. I don't think about being angry - in fact most often I don't feel angry. But, if 10 is blow-up, then I know I'm at 7 or so because I can get really ticked off at really small things. I think the anger is caused by the lack of control that I feel having to be on dialysis. Today, during church, before I got up to preach, while I prayed for those there to participate I thought "I'm also mad that i don't think it's fair that I'm on dialysis again, that my kidneys failed for a third time. And I think that's right -- I don't think it's fair.

And that kind of freaks me out because I am the first guy to counsel people that fairness is not really up for argument. We all really deserve instant destruction, but by God's grace we have life and breath and everything else. Also, as I said above, lots of people are worse off. So, intellectually, it doesn't make sense with what I believe, or what I say I believe.

Yeah, I think I am angry because I don't think it's fair for me to be on dialysis again. Wow, who would have thought. Something to think, and pray, about.