Monday, November 28, 2011

Big Task, Bigger God

With only 6 radiation treatments left to go, my mind has been pressed for some time now to look toward my future with FCA and start to attack the fundraising component.  But let's back it up and let me bring you up to speed with those plans.  A lot has changed...

Way back in the spring, I interviewed with FCA for an Area Representative position in Central Pennsylvania.  But shortly after that, I was diagnosed with lymphoma and my start date was pushed into the "to be determined" realm, since the duration of my treatment was unknown.  The doctor was finally able to project a completion date back in October, so we began the process of figuring out when I could come on board.  In a two week blur of decision making, phone calls, emails, and interviews, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to work with FCA in the Greater Philadelphia area.  The switch offers the same wonderful chances to minister through the medium of sports, but the most beneficial aspect is that it provides a scenario that could make my future plans with a special someone much easier.  We could both be in one location where we are being obedient to our call and doing what we love to do.  

Among so many other things, I feel that my health situation was God's hand-picked method of moving me onto His timeline.  I certainly had my ducks in a row and thought that my plans for the future were set, but He turned that upside down for something even better!  This position in Philly was not available when I first interviewed, and so He found a unique way of making me wait.  I have so much peace in my heart about this decision, despite the drastic change that it will be.  My ministry resume doesn't include extensive inner city work and, to some degree, it is intimidating.  Yet I feel such a strong leading from His spirit and I take comfort in the stories of men like King David and Moses.  The shepherd boy David was but a pre-adolescent boy when he took down a battle-tested giant with a mere stone and Moses went to Egypt kicking and screaming; yet God used both men in a mighty way for His glory.  Who am I to think that He is incapable of doing the same with my story?  Someone once told me that "God doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called."  I think there's some truth in there.  I believe that my entire athletic career and recent battle with cancer is forging a testimony that will be very useful in this particular ministry.  

Here's the thing:  my work with FCA will be entirely faith-based.  That means that I need to raise support before I can do it... $70,000 if I want to come on full-time.  That will cover a salary, benefits, insurance, etc.  Right now, the challenge seems like an immovable mountain, as I would love to start by the Summer of 2012.  Luckily, I serve a God who specializes in such tasks.  I would like to appeal for your help.  I humbly ask for your investment in me and in the work of building The Kingdom in the Greater Philly area.  The most helpful way that you could contribute would be through a monthly partnership;  such donations would be tax-deductible and would equip me with a steady income to make more informed ministry and stewardship decisions (obviously, one time gifts would also be accepted and appreciated, but monthly gifts will provide the backbone for my income).  Again, this seems like such a daunting venture, yet I don't believe that God called me out here, only to leave me hanging.  The funds will come in through His provision and timing.  Will you prayerfully consider the investment?  Will you be a part of what God is doing?  Your contributions will impact inner-city coaches, athletes, and communities in a permanent, gospel-centered way.  That is what it's all about.

If you don't need to hear any more and would like to join my "Home Team," then please contact me at and let's get started!  If you would like to hear more about the ministry, my story, or explore the best way for you to help, email me and let's grab a coffee or arrange a time to chat.  To embark on a journey like this, I realize that there needs to be some clarity about the particulars.  It would be my pleasure to do that for you!  Here are some links that might be helpful to you if you are not familiar with FCA...

Fellowship of Christian Athletes (main):
Greater Philadelphia FCA:

If you are reading this, chances are you have been following my story for some time and I truly have appreciated the never ending supply of prayer and support.  Please consider being a part of God's work as He closes one chapter and begins another... for HIS glory.    

In Faith,


***Please feel free to share this post and help me out as I set out on my fundraising journey!    

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eagle Wings

6 months, 25 days, 2 hours, 20 minutes and counting...  By my best "guesstimation," that is the amount of time that this journey has taken thus far (and there's still some left to go).  Occasionally, it feels like time has flown, but on gloomier days, the time seems to have slowed to a crawl.  The toll that it has taken exceeds the physical.  There have been vicious struggles on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual fronts as well, so describing the experience as a "roller coaster" might not do it justice.  Yesterday was one of those struggles.

Monday morning's visit to the Cleveland Clinic was a preliminary appointment to set things up for my ensuing radiation therapy.  I was informed that it would be starting a full week later than I anticipated, and the additional appointment yesterday brought all of my exhaustion and frustration to the surface.  There have been numerous points throughout my treatment where I thought I was so close to finishing, yet it just kept getting dragged out longer and longer.  This timeline of completion has caused some unwanted repercussions with the plans that I had previously made before my diagnosis.  The struggle of choosing to have confidence in God's sovereignty and timing has slowly bled me of my energy.  After several hours of frustrated venting and worrying, I had nowhere else to go but His word.  I came across this well-known passage from Isaiah 40 and in it, I found solace...          

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God?"  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (v. 27-31).

These words had been committed to memory since I was a elementary school boy, but they struck new meaning for me this time around.  You see, my subconscious desire was that the Lord would mount me up on the eagle wings and carry me far away from this desert to the lush oasis of cancer-free life.  I'd prefer to close my eyes and wake up the next morning and be free of appointments, needles, treatments, and 45 minute drives to the clinic.  Is God capable of doing that?  Absolutely.  Will He do that?  This passage suggests that He probably won't.  The precursor in these verses is that our everlasting God created the ends of the earth with a knowledge that we are hopeless to understand.  That means that my 16 years of top-flight education make me totally and utterly unqualified to question His timing and His purposes.  But He doesn't just leave it at that and tell us to simply deal with it.  To those who wait, He renews their strength... so that they can run again.  He mounts them on wings like eagles... so that they can put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.  

Maybe you're like me.  Maybe you want a quick fix to things that aren't going to well in your life.  Maybe you have prayed for the eagle wings to take you far, far away from your problems.  I hate to admit it, but we've goofed up; we're asking the wrong things.  We need to pray for the grace to acknowledge His sovereignty.  We need to pray for strength that we clearly don't have.  And we need to pray for the endurance to not just run, but run well, a race that is worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mounting up,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time Not Wasted

Just a quick thought for today...

The past few days have been jam packed with reflection over the past six months.  It really started to hit me when I went in for my radiation simulation on Monday.  As I closed my eyes and passed in and out of the big doughnut shaped CT scanner, the realization swept over me that the finish line was less than one month away.  It was surreal to comprehend how I felt at the start of it all, how I had no idea what to expect.  It was like taking a big breath before the plunge.  The process was a draining one that I just desperately wanted to get though and be done with.  But now, in retrospect, it feels like a mere blink.

Such is the reality of life and of suffering.  One phone call can instantly re-route our plans and outlook on the future.  But even though that may be the case, we cannot waste such times.  I have mistakenly told inquiring people that my life has been "put on hold" by this cancer.  It was all too easy to think that just because my plans didn't pan out that this was just a storm that I had to hunker down and wait out before I could move forward.  Then it hit me:  this period of my life was not an accident.  It didn't occur outside of God's plan, so that means that it was granted to me as yet another opportunity to be refined, to grow, and to testify to His faithfulness.  I don't need to wait until I finish treatment; I can testify right in the eye of the hurricane because I still have life, breath, and the peace that transcends all understanding.  It's easy to do it on a blog like this, but I've also come into contact with hundreds of new faces.  They are hundreds of new conversations to be had and as many opportunities to share good news.  I can only hope that I made the most of this storm and desire to do the same with the grey clouds that will surely be coming my way in the future.  Whatever happens, it is imperative that He gets the glory and that His gospel becomes more real to the world around us.    

Are you wasting your storm?