Quick Hits (11/20/08)

I’ve not posted anything for quite some time, not out of lack of interest or ammunition, but because life is very busy and complicated. Anyway, here are some odds and ends about life, food, music, church, men and women, Obama, and something funny…


I Have Met the Enemy, and It is Wheat

wheatI know that food kills people, but it usually does its work via sugar, cholesterol, or chunks of steak stuck in your windpipe. Well, my problem is wheat. Yeah, I know. Wheat. Go figure. I’ve been extremely fatigued lately, making normal life a challenge and my usual running regimen essentially impossible. I’ve wondered if I’m just lazy or something. It’s been downright depressing. Well, to make a long story short…

My wife sent me to the doctor, my doctor took my blood (repeatedly), the blood showed a severe iron deficiency, my doc sent me to a gastro doc, the gastro doc did some tests (don’t ask), and the tests reveal (as of a few hours ago) that I have Celiac Disease. CD is an autoimmune disorder that requires a gluten free diet. Gluten is in, well, everything. Or almost everything. (Actually, it just seems that way.) It’s in wheat, but also is in other things that you wouldn’t expect. So after eating like a goat my entire life, I now need to learn to avoid anything with a hint of gluten.

Now, it could be worse. The gastro doc thought it might be some internal bleeding, and even said the “cancer” word when discussing possibilities (though he said that was unlikely). So I’m grateful that it’s something manageable. And anyway, who likes pizza? Or pasta? Or chips? Or sandwiches? Or cookies? Or pie? Or cake? Or tacos? Or toast? Or pancakes? Or muffins? Or cereal? Or bagels? Or waffles? Or Cheetos? Or Kit-Kats? Or donuts? Or… :)

CD is actually quite common, and a number of friends who share the malady have provided information, encouragement, and even some food! Life goes on. Better yet, God is good…even better than food! I’m confident that looking to food for nutrition rather than entertainment will be good for me spiritually. Seriously. Life is more than food. (Matthew 6:25) And two pastor-friends have already written to encourage me that the Lord uses things like this to wean us from earth and prepare us for glory. Great thought!


A Stirring Rendition of “His Robes for Mine”

On a happier note, I was privileged to preach for a Bible Conference at Calvary Bible Church in Columbus this week. I had a delightful time, despite my aforementioned fatigue and newly restricted diet. :) We considered the 3 Marks of a Genuine Believer from 1 John in the school chapel sessions, and went over Gospel-Centered Living from Ephesians during the evening meetings. By God’s grace, I believe that He accomplished much through His Word. I pray so.

Besides being privileged to preach to a body that delights in the Word, I was overwhelmed and humbled to sing “His Robes for Mine” on Sunday evening, complete with master musician Jerry Maxwell on the piano, his daughter (and an accomplished vocalist) Jenny Whitehead singing the two middle verses, her husband Dan leading the singing, a room-shaking organ, a beautiful string ensemble, and a joyful congregation. Of course, it was part of a worship service, so it’s not a professional recording, but it was certainly moving. You can hear it here.


More Hymns Coming

Greg and I are putting the finishing touches on another hymn, and there are a couple more in the works. We’re also getting closer to launching our new resource site, which will include some excellent metrical Psalm settings by Joe Tyrpak. Stay tuned. :)


Pray for and Rejoice with Grace Church of Mentor

The Lord is doing some amazing things at Grace Church of Mentor. They’ve been blessed to see an unusual number of professions of faith this year—like 50-plus, the vast majority of whom are continuing and being discipled! They’re not numbers driven, and they’re certainly not promoting any sort of easy-believism. They’re a gospel-preaching church, and the Lord is using them to bring sinners and glory to Himself. Amen! Pray for them as they minister to these new believers, and pray that their experience would become common rather than extraordinary in the modern church.


Building Progress

Tri-County Bible Church’s building is almost in the dry, and none to soon, as winter weather has begun its annual siege of Madison, Ohio. Thank the Lord for an unusually mild start to the season and for significant progress. Please pray with us for the Lord to provide for us in an unusually generous way. We should find out in the next week or so whether we’ll be getting some significant and much-need financial assistance. Please pray!



Two Thoughts on President-Elect Obama

First, though I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, I do recognize that this is an amazing time in our nation’s history. Consider this: the first 16 Presidents of the United States could have owned Barack Obama, or at least his forefathers! Now he’s going to be the next President? That’s remarkable—in a good way—even if you disagree with his policies. (And I do.)

Second, Christians didn’t distinguish themselves with all of their Clinton jokes during his administration and scandals. The Bible commands us to give honor to our God-appointed leaders, not to ridicule or berate them. Really, that’s in the Bible, at least twice, in 1 Peter 2:17 and Romans 13:1 and 7. And as far as I can tell, those verses are as inspired and authoritative during Democratic administrations as Republican.

“Honor the President” for the sake of obedience and testimony.


Comic Relief

Though President jokes are out of bounds, this is hysterical. (HT: DJP)


7 Responses

  1. Sorry to hear about the Celiac. I am very familiar with it since my wife was diagnosed about 5 years ago. But cheer up–a pill is being tested now that may allow some eating of those lovely wheat (and barley, rye, and oats) items in a few years. There is a very good Celiac group at http://forums.delphiforums.com/celiac
    I have found a lot of useful info there.

  2. Chris, I was diagnosed with CD over 25 years ago, and have learned to live on a gluten-free diet, thanks to my dear wife. Sometimes it’s still hard to be around others eating donuts, or homemade bread, or pasta, or pizza, but you learn the penalty is not worth the short-term reward. It seems like more people are being diagnosed with CD, or doctors are becoming more aware of it, as I’d been to a number of doctors, and it took a high-priced specialist to diagnose it. I also had a very uncomfortable skin problem which some CD people have along with the intestinal problems.

    There are a lot of resources and information at http://www.celiac.org/ or http://www.celiac.com. Don’t eat the bread stuffing this year!

  3. Good thing you didn’t have to admit you were just lazy on your blog.

  4. Bro Chris, I feel your pain…tho not exactly. “Gluten intolerance” is my gig…not CD. The holidays are challenging! A fav resource is http://www.grahamsglutenfree.com –where I shop. The web master/store owner is pretty savvy with helps and resources.

    Beautiful photo. And I am heart-glad for the news regarding Mentor, and for the reverie you enjoyed in the offering of your hymn at the conference. Such gifts…God is good.

    The comic piece–I’m still smiling. So applicable to a gender study I’m doing. I’ve got a hankering for some darjeeling myself…

    Blessings upon you and your family as you faithfully serve.

  5. Thanks for the tips, all, and for the sympathy, Larry. :)

    Here’s the really big question: are Rice Krispy Squares in or out?

  6. Rice Krispies and Rice Krispy Squares are IN! and the chocolate Rice Krispy Squares are especially good. But then, most anything with chocolate, by definition, is good.

    BTW, you’ll want to shy away from “gluten-free” oatmeal from Red Mill. My wife found it at a health foods store, and it tasted great, but tore up my stomach.

  7. Check the label on your cereal. Name brand Rice Krispies have barley malt in them (both barley and malt are no-no’s). It is this ingredient that puts the “krispy” in Rice Krispies as well as corn flakes and many other cereals. Here’s a link: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

    I use EnviroKidz brand gluten free cereals. They have chocolate brown rice “krispies”. =)

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