Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All Kinds of Stuff

There has been quite a bit going on lately, so I thought I'd do my best to catch you up on a few events, happenings, and things that are unrelated to each other.  So here it goes!

Medical Update Today was my 4th treatment (ideally the halfway point for the chemotherapy) and tomorrow I will go in for a CAT scan to see how much I have progressed.  I know what I want to hear, but we'll leave that up to God.  We had a potentially very discouraging situation on our hands today.  When the nurses went to put the IV in, my veins "blew" four times, as they were unable to hold the medicine without leaking it out into my arms.  Since the chemo can burn and potentially cause skin grafts, it was no good.  So before my next treatment, I am going to need a procedure to install a mediport in my chest that will make this all much easier.  But for today, they were able to run a big old PIC line into my upper arm and keep me on my treatment schedule.  Unfortunately, today was a rough one as I didn't handle all of that well and had my fair share of vomiting.  I'm just trying to be thankful for the good days and asking for grace for the tough ones.

Furm's TakeI few weeks back, Cory Furman and I sat down for a chat.  Here's what came out of it... http://www.messiah.edu/athletics/articles/furm/61011-alleyesonhoj.html.  

Team Hoj Shirts and Bracelets:  TEAM HOJ t-shirts are in. We have all sizes in the regular t-shirts ($20) and adult sizes to XL in the dri fit performance t-shirts in dark gray cotton feel or sport gray performance feel ($30). Please email Coach Brunk at bbrunk@messiah.edu to arrange individual or mass orders. Bracelets are still available for $2.  The proceeds will be split between the Team Hoj members who are racing in the Nation's Triathalon in Washington, D.C. and my fund raising efforts for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  If you would like to become more extensively involved with Team Hoj, please contact my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Karen at TEAMHOJ@gmail.com or find us on Facebook!

Team Hoj Fundraiser:  Keep an eye out for a Team Hoj Dessert Fund Raiser and Auction in August.  There is also a potential golf outing in the works.  More details coming ASAP!  

I'd just like to re-iterate a special thank you to all of you who have been covering me and my family in prayer, as well as supporting us financially through Team Hoj.  June has been a trying month (more to come on that soon), but the load has been made a bit lighter through the support of all my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Can't say it enough, but thank you.




Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Real Deal

At some point in my high school experience, I developed a strange fascination with awkward infomercials such as The Magic Bullet and P90X.  I now own The Magic Bullet and will personally vouch that it is one of the coolest and greatest kitchen appliances ever, but it is the fitness program P90X that really fascinates me.  Regardless of what you think about infomercials or all the lame gimmicks out there trying to pass as fitness programs, you can't argue with the results, the facts.  Before and after pictures pour across the TV screen displaying drastic body transformations.  Testimony after testimony recounts the change that took place in just 90 days.  No doubt about it, this thing is the real deal!  But these results were not without cost (the combined price of the DVD's and shipping were the least of them).  Time, energy, ridiculous amounts of sweat, fatigue, strict dieting, and a host of other things that are enough to throw most brave souls off course.  But whoever can stick it out til the end is left with results that do not disappoint.

I read a passage recently that follows the same line of thinking, although on a much larger and more important scale than mere body image.  In Romans 5:1-5, Paul says:

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."       

Before I draw a personal parallel, I want to remind you who is talking.  This is the Apostle Paul.  This man has been imprisoned, flogged, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, starved, left for dead, taxed emotionally, physically, and spiritually, among a host of other things.  And what does he tell us to do?  He says to rejoice in our sufferings.  I feel that my present circumstance is a bit much at times, but when I look at what Paul endured, my complaining stops real quick.  Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, says something to this effect of Paul:

"I have never met a man that is as free as Paul is.  You can't touch him!  If you want to kill him, he says 'Alright! It's time to go home!' If you let him live, Paul says 'Alright, to live is Christ.'  If you beat him, he responds 'Great! That's sharing in the suffering of Christ.  I welcome that!' If you put him in prison, he says 'Well okay, I'll convert all of your guards and most of your prisoners.'  I mean this is just an untouchable man!  How do you get untouchable like that?"

How do you get untouchable like that?  Sometimes, it is difficult for me to believe that a man like this actually walked the earth.  Honestly, all of that "rejoicing in suffering" stuff is nice in theory, but I feel that such a perspective is unattainable and unrealistic for those of us normal folk.  But as I read Romans 5, it hit me that we can have that same attitude, not because it is something inherent about us, but because the same spirit that filled Paul is the same one that fills us this very day!  The hope of heaven and the glory of God put suffering into perspective.  It pulls us back from our pinhole sized view of life and helps us step back to get a look at the big picture.  This gives us the attitude to rejoice in any given circumstance with the knowledge that our character is being forged in the fires of hardship.  And this character yields a hope that is unlike anything this world has ever seen before.  It is a hope that transcends anything this life could possibly throw at us and points us toward a perfect eternity in heaven.  It is the hope that gave Jesus the strength to say "Yet not what I will..." in the Garden of Gethsemane just hours before He was led away to the cross.  It is the hope that gave Paul the authority to declare "To live is Christ and to die is gain."  And it is the same hope that gives Mike Hojnacki the grace to say "I have cancer, but people are drawing nearer to Jesus.  I would have it no other way."

As I continue to converse with people about the nature of God and why He might allow such an evil, I still feel inadequate to thoroughly hash it all out (despite a degree in Christian ministry).  But just like the results of a masterfully designed fitness program are not up for debate, so it is with the hope derived from suffering.  These are the facts...

I have cancer.  I should be devastated.  But I have hope.  And hope is the real deal.  Take hold of it my friends!

Not disappointed,



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Holding My World

Like I said in the "Carry Me" post, music has a way with me.  Various songs have been such a great encouragement to me in this rather difficult time and I have stumbled across another that I'd like to share with you.  Fortunately, this one speaks for itself so I'll let you decide.  The lyrics are so simple, yet so true and in rough days like today when I'm still recovering from the chemo, I find myself shutting the lights off, closing my eyes, and letting the truth in this song cover me like a blanket.  Whatever you are going through, I hope you find the same peace. 

To listen, go to... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwZeCbnlCXQ

Holding My World (by Kristian Stanfill)

And this is Your world, You made it
And all of creation is breathing because You sustain it
Jesus, by Your powerful word, You spoke out the earth and the heavens

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world in His hands

And these are your days, You give them
All for your fame and all for Your glorious kingdom
Jesus, You have ordained all things to dwell in Your purpose

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world in His hands

And I am Your child, beloved
And all of my days my future is laid in Your promise
Jesus, to the end of the age, I am not alone or forgotten

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world

In His Hands,