Posted tagged ‘Prayer Request’

Join Me in Praying for Baby Hannah

March 20, 2009

About a month ago, our baby boy Nolan was terribly sick, running a fever of 104°+ for several days.  Fortunately, the bacterial virus did not stay, and Nolan has recovered well.  This past week, my good friends, Yogi and Kelli Taylor (in Mobile, AL) saw their 13 mo. old daugther Hannah come down with a similar sickness with high fever.

Yesterday, they took Hannah to the doctor due to prolonged high fever and heard possibly the worst news any parent could hear.  It was discovered that Hannah has a tumor (called neuroblastoma) around her adrenal glands that the doctors believe is cancerous.  As a result, immediate measures have been taken, including surgery on Hannah to remove this tumor that will take place within one hour of me writing this blogpost (11:00am CST).  Following the surgery, a biopsy will be done to determine the state of the tumor, and what appeared to be a in-and-out doctor’s visit will likely turn into multiple weeks in the hospital. The outcome is too early to know anything else, but when more information is available, I will pass that along.

Yogi (Hannah’s father) is a dear brother whom I known since my days at the University of Mobile, and his wife, Kelli, and I grew up together in the same church since we were little kids.  They are strong in the faith, submitting their lives to the sovereign purposes of God which are always for our good, but as you could imagine, getting the news of this and seeing your baby girl go through such a serious and life-threatening ordeal is massive.  They need our prayers, encouragement, and support.

Please join me in lifting up baby Hannah and the Taylor family during this time, especially the next couple of days, in prayer for healing, protection, and peace that only comes from our heavenly Father whose smile sweetens the most bitter providences. Thanks.

A Call for Partnership and Perseverance

September 3, 2008

Three years ago, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the campus of Lakeshore Baptist Church as well as hundreds of homes.  From the day until now, Pastor Don Elbourne and his amazing group of volunteers have been rebuilding not only the church but the homes of the entire community (some stats).

As you know, Hurricane Gustav took a similar track to Katrina’s path though a little westward.  Don has returned from evacuation and provides and update on the conditions on the ground.  Don writes:

We have returned to Lakeshore praising God for the physical safety God granted us. My family escaped harm and our house did not suffer any damage or take on any water. The church property, on the other hand, took a significant hit. The storm surge did not reach the church building and the office stayed intact, but Gustav totally destroyed our kitchen, took down our white storage tent, damaged some of the Quonset huts and basically made a mess of the camp site.

We need your help. We need folks to come down, help clean up, and put things back together. We will not have cooking facilities for a while, so you will need to bring your own food and a way to cook. We do have power, places to sleep, and shower restroom facilities. Contact us, or just come.

Please pray for the efforts that have been ongoing now for several years.  Pray for a spirit of perseverance and greater partnership in the rebuilding in this region.  Perhaps you or your church might be interested in partnering with Don and Lakeshore.  In any case, let us hearken to the call to remember those afflicted with such providences through prayer.

For the Time Being . . .

July 20, 2008

NOTE: For regular updates on Tom Ascol’s health condition, please see the comments section of this post.

For the past week or so, I have been wrestling where to go with the blog in writing series as well as keeping up with Blue Collar Theology and the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge (among other things). One of the desires I have is to share with you the journey I have been on that has taken me from a full-time seminary student/part-time 3rd shifter to full absorption into gospel ministry in the local church. All but the last two months of my blogging tenure has been spent in a seminary environment, and as a result, a considerable number of people who read my blog are fellow seminarians who will likely be serving in a ministerial context of some sort. Perhaps my journey, and retelling of some scenes along the way, could be profitable not only for the seminarians who are also making that great leap but also for the churches who would be receiving them.

But due to God’s providence, I have been led to a point where I understand that the place my blog is supposed to go is nowhere. At least not for the time being.

Many of you know already about the situation with Tom Ascol, whom I serve alongside here at Grace Baptist Church. Allow me to give another brief update on his condition. The last couple of nights have afforded Tom greater lengths of sleep time, which has been really good. However, the process has continued to be incredibly painful. The nerves in his body are beginning to regenerate at various parts of his body, and when they do, it is like great jolts of pain shooting to that area. So for instance, at one moment it could be his ankle, then later his hip, and a moment later his arm. It cannot be predicted when or where those jolts of pain come as the nerves regenerate, and so at any moment, things can turn from a moment of rest to restless pain. As I mentioned in the comments of my earlier post, the doctors are giving promising reports, expecting Tom to make a full recovery. But it will take time, and it will demand a change of pace and a season of rest. Please continue to pray for Tom and the Ascol family as I know they are really grateful for your support and prayers.

As you might imagine, Tom will not be able to receive email or phone calls for the immediate future. While I encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and prayers either in the comments here or on Tom’s blog, I do ask on behalf of Tom and the family that calls and emails be left to matters of necessity. I will be receiving all of his email, so I will be sensitive to respond to all matters that merit his (or his family’s) attention. I do ask that, given the circumstances, grace would be afforded to myself and others who will be attempting to administrate these tasks in a timely manner (he receives quite a bit more email than I do!). For all you Facebook users, you can also leave a message on his wall, or perhaps you could catch Tom twittering in the days ahead (though I would not expect him to).

Next Sunday, I will likely be preaching to our people on “God’s Providence and Our Pain” as I think it would be appropriate that we hear from Scripture on what God is doing here and how we can respond in faith to our loving and faithful Lord. If I may ask, please pray for me in the days ahead as well. I will be preaching and teaching 13 times over the next six weeks will be quite demanding, especially for a young novice like myself. 😉 Much of that will be a series on the prayers of Paul for the churches he planted–seeking to know what specifically Paul prayed and how prayer impacts church planting. Lord willing, our church will begin the early phases of planting a church about 45 minutes east of where we are located.

Lastly, we are finally at the point of closing on a home here and are expecting to moving in at the end of this week. This is a big praise, but the season of living in suitcases in homes of members has been immensely rewarding and encouraging. I know Nolan will look forward to having his own room! 🙂

As a result of all that God is doing here and the circumstances I find myself, (immediate) future blogging plans will be kept to updating you on the situation with Tom’s health and perhaps posting some stuff I have benefited from in my study. I embrace with joy the plans the Lord has for me in serving His people and look forward to allotting the overflow to spill out here. It is a privilege for me to serve God, His church, and our beloved pastor, and I thank you again for remembering us in your prayers.

Please Join Me in Praying for Tom Ascol

July 17, 2008

NOTE: For regular updates on Tom Ascol’s health condition, please see the comments section of this post.

Many of you know the influence Tom Ascol has had on my life.  For several years now he has been like a father to me in the faith, and most recently Grace Baptist Church, where Tom is senior pastor, called me to serve alongside him in gospel ministry.  Needless to say, being mentored and trained in such a position is something I am most grateful.

About three weeks ago, Tom hurt his back while exercising, which has resulted in numerous visits to the chiropractor and several days of bed rest.  The pain in his back has at times been so severe that he is not able to stand up (last Sunday he preached sitting down).  Then what happened this week is almost unbelievable.

Early Monday morning, the alarm in the Ascol’s home went off because the garage door was up.  With reasonable suspicion that burglars might be around, he called the police who came and inspected the house and property.  The officers informed Tom that a couple of cars were unlocked and advised him to go outside and lock them.  Tom and the officers proceeded out into the stormy weather, and upon reaching for the first vehicle, lightning struck Tom and the vehicle, immediately throwing him on his back.  Paramedics were called in, and all immediate tests revealed that there was no life-threatening issues as a result of the strike (you can read Tom’s recounting and reflections of the night here).

Nearly four days have passed, and I am writing this post to all of you asking for your prayers on behalf of Tom and in particular his health.  While his back is continuing to be an issue, the more eminent concern is the after-effect of the lightning strike on his nerve endings and sensory receptors.  Since Monday evening, Tom has not been able to sleep at night.  At best, he gets 1-2 hours during the day.  The slightest whisper sounds like someone screaming into his ears, and his nerve endings are so inflamed that it is giving him severe headaches and affecting even his digestive system.  Riding down the road at grandpa-like speed is like a roller-coaster ride.

Tomorrow morning (Friday morning), Tom is going to see a neurologist with the hopes of ascertaining what exactly he is experiencing and how long it will last.  A cardiologist this afternoon said that what he is experiencing is very similar to “post traumatic stress syndrome,” and that such inflammation of the nerves is expected to recede in 4-5 days.

Many of you know Tom either through Founders, his blog, or speaking at conferences.  Those of us here at Grace have the privilege of knowing him as pastor and dear friend.  I am asking that you join us in praying for Tom in the coming days and weeks as he recovers, specifically that God would heal those nerve endings, allowing him to sleep and recuperate.  Plans have already been made for August to be a mini-sabbatical for him, and we are praying that God would indeed give him rest and renew his strength.

Thank you for praying for Tom, his family, and God’s providential care during the days to come.  May the God who causes lightning to strike at his will be pleased to cause healing to come to Tom for the glory of His name, the advancement of the gospel, and the good of His people.

For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Psalm 135:5-7

This Week, and a Few Miscellanies

February 25, 2008

Stuff this week, and some stuff not this week. 🙂

2008 Puritan Reading Challenge

1. I have interviewed Dr. Stephen Yuille, author of The Inner Sanctum of Puritan Piety: John Flavel and the Doctrine of Mystical Union with Christ and plan on posting it sometime this week (a few edits need to be made). Dr. Yuille provided some great answers and commentary which I think you will enjoy listening to.

2. On Wednesday (Feb. 27) at 1:00 p.m. EST, I will again be on Calling for Truth with Paul Dean and Kevin Boling to talk about John Flavel and The Mystery of Providence. It will be a live call-in radio broadcast from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST, and you can listen two ways:

1. If you live in SC or parts of NC, GA, or TN, you can listen in at Talk 660.
2. If you are like me and live elsewhere, you can listen online by going here.

The toll-free number to call in is 1.888.660.9535. As I said last month, it would be great to have as many of you on the show as possible as I am sure there is much more to be said and discussed than I could bring to the table. Plus, I would much rather listen and hear from others than be on the mic. )

3. On Thursday, February 28, I am going to post the open thread for The Mystery of Providence where you are encouraged to share your thoughts on the book and how it has impacted your life or helped you in your relationship with God. From these responses, there will be a random drawing for the winner of the February book giveaway. So be sure to chime in and qualify for the possibility of winning some great books!

4. On Monday, March 2, the winner of the February giveaway will be announced.

2008 Band of Bloggers

After our first week of registration, we are 40% full! Needless to say, I am really jazzed about this year’s event. For those of you who are attending, I have created an attendees list as well as a Google map to see where everyone is coming from. To date, the following ministries/organizations are also represented: New Attitude, Banner of Truth, Union University, Ligonier Ministries, Founders Ministries, IX Marks Ministries, Crossway Publishers, Desiring God Ministries, HeartCry Missionary Society, Reformation Heritage Books, Midwest Center for Theological Studies, and Center for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. If you are considering attending Band of Bloggers this year, be sure register soon as we have limited seating capacity.

“Ask Anything” This Week

Anyone remember the “9th Inning Rally” from this past December? Well, this coming Sunday (March 2), Pastor Mark Driscoll is going to address my question which I asked on the “Ask Anything” deal. For those who may not know, the question is:

“Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not?”

You can find all the media (audio and video) to this entire series by going here. I am hopeful that Pastor Mark will address this issue substantively as it is particularly relevant to theological and ecclesiological discussion today.

A Few Miscellanies

Miscellany #1

Last Friday morning, on my way to the True Church Conference, a local talk radio show had a discussion on, of all things, God’s providence. The host did not know it was that, but the topic was centered on an article in The Huntsville Times entitled, “Does God ‘Protect’ Some and Not Others?” I could not believe what I was hearing, not from the host (although he is a deist, e.g. God sets things into motion and leaves everything to the sovereignty of man), but from Christians who were calling in. One after the other, they were giving the answers of Open Theists! Answers like “God isn’t control over evil because he is not that kind of God; he cannot help what wicked, evil men do. What you see today is the result of the free will of men which God cannot change.” Poor, helpless God, subject to the arbitrary whims of man!

So I pulled over on the side of this back road and decided to call in.

While on hold for 20 minutes, the host was asking, “Why should God let anyone die (as in Katrina, the tsunami, etc.)?” So when I was able to chime in, the question to ask is, “Why should God let anyone live?” We are all sinners by nature and sinners by choice. The effects of the Fall have devastated man and the creation which also groans for redemption. However, God is as sovereign over the will of Bin Laden as he is over the winds called Katrina. There are no mistakes with God’s providence which is yes mysterious but always good. Well, before I was able to finish my second sentence, he cut to a break and hung up on me. 😦

Anyway, so here I was, in my hometown in the buckle of the Bible belt, listening to a fatalist being responded to by Open Theists (though I am sure they were not aware of it) claiming to be speaking on behalf of Christians (and God!). Live-blogging from that moment on was certainly a challenge as my hands were still sore from pounding the steering wheel.

Miscellany #2

One another note, quite a different note, I want to ask that you please pray for me (and my wife) this weekend. We will be flying south in view of a call. I will be speaking several times over the weekend, including the Sunday morning service. This weekend is the fruit of over eight months of talks, prayer, and seeking God’s will for our lives after seminary. I am excited about this opportunity but am trusting that God will continue to confirm His will for us in the future as He conforms us to His good purposes. So if you think of it, I would really appreciate your prayers, for peace with an anxious heart, for strength with a weary soul, and for God’s delight and pleasure with my life and offerings.

“Truly a providential moment in history”

February 10, 2008

“The providence of God ignites praise” says Dockery

February 9, 2008

Below is an email message I received from Ben Dockery, son of President Dockery and Campus Minister at Union University. He gave me permission to share this with you. Please continue to lift up in prayer and refresh the hearts of those involved through words of encouragement and support.

My friends,

“I watched heroes do what heroes do…”

That was the name of one of the best ‘journal’ entries I have ever written. At 3:15 a.m., about 8 hours after we stormed onto campus minutes after the skipping tornado bounced through campus, I sat in bed after visiting recovered students in the hospital and thought with my keyboard. Unfortunately, my computer died forty minutes into the streaming, and I lost the entry.

But here is a brief summary:

We happened to be some of the first to land on campus, and we crashed into a light pole laying across the road as we arrived. Julie and I told each other, “I love you”, kissed, and then dodged overturned cars and splintered power lines until we reached the rubble. As we did, a frightened line of girls fled from their dorm rooms toward a standing structure across campus. Julie pealed off and joined the girls to keep them safe. Immediately, I saw about eight or ten guy students with torn shirts and bleeding faces and a look of determination. They were going to get there friends out from underneath the twisted rebar, crumbled cinder block and soaked splintered wood. For the next four hours, we made instant decisions and somehow, the students all survived. I truly did not believe that we knew where all the students were much less that they would survive.

They did. Two stud fireman, one named John – a guy I knew ten years ago and another stud who was also medically trained named Dallas. They barked out orders and pulled and pushed and cut and slipped on rocks and passed out bodies on stretchers and did not flinch. They were unorganized and acted without having all the floor plans and did
what heroes do – saved lives.

Thank you for your prayers, the clean up process is a beast, and then sometime next week, my real job starts–directing the Ministry to the Campus for the next semester. I have not let myself think about it more than ten seconds, but it looms. God has been good. Grace abounds in our mistakes. Peace rules my heart these days, and I am grateful. The providence of God ignites praise. I am so thankful for all of you, and your support. I really do tear up when I hear or read your messages – prayers. Keep them coming.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Union University on YouTube

February 7, 2008

Some video footage made available via YouTube:

Associated Press

Panoramic View of Campus

Supporting Union University

February 6, 2008

I just wanted to pass along a note from Dr. Dockery, encouraging you to please consider financially helping Union University. Current estimates are that 40% of the housing is completely destroyed with another 40% severely damaged. All buildings have received structural damage, one with the roof nearly entirely taken off. Right now, they are expecting the cost to exceed $50 million, and I simply cannot get my mind around the enormity of such a cost. Cam Tracy, who has been updating everyone on the UUEmergency blog, has also put together a collection of photos (now around 75) of the devastation. It is simply breathtaking.

However, the little that you and I can do to help is significant. Remember that we serve a God who can take a boy’s lunch to feed 5,000, so whatever little (or much) you can do to support UU is greatly appreciated. Here’s a word from Dr. Dockery:

So many of our friends have contacted us about their desire to help Union University during this most challenging time for our campus. The Board of Trustees has established a special fund to address this particular need in the life of this University. For your generosity to Union at this particular time, please know of our gratitude.

Please send designated gifts to:
Union University Disaster Relief Fund
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305

David S. Dockery

Finally, please continue to pray for Union and everyone affected by the 50+ tornadoes that passed through last night. I cannot imagine with Dr. Dockery and others are going through. Like Paul, it is “through the help of your prayers” and the help of the Spirit that our dear brothers and sisters will not only persevere through these difficult moments, but also glory in Christ who is with us always, even in the eye of the storm.

Devastated – Please Pray for Union University

February 6, 2008

UPDATE 3: Steve McCoy has a lengthy video posted from HotNewz.TV where they interview UU students.   Tim Ellsworth shares this thoughts on “the most intense day” of his life.

UPDATE 2: UUEmergency has been set up by UU for immediate communication with the UU family. Dr. Dockery has provided an update, and you can get all the up-to-date information include images from this temporary site.

UPDATE: Watch CNN video coverage of Union University (more videos are at the bottom of the CNN page). Listen to Tim Ellsworth in an interview with WKRN. Associated Press report, “University Dorms Smashed at Tenn. School“. Denny Burk has an NBC video where Dr. Dockery was interviewed early in the morning. Baptist Press is using their old blog as their center for Union updates.

Like many of you, my wife and I were hunkered down with baby Nolan last night in the bathroom with our weather radio and pillows as the tornado sirens went off. As the storm passed, I quickly came to hear the news that Jackson, Tennessee was severely hit with tornadoes. I was greatly concerned because some of the dearest people in my life, and the greatest Christian college in the United States–Union University, dwell there.

According to reports and from talking with people on the ground, UU is devastated. Over 50 students were injured, 8 with serious injuries, while 12 other students were trapped in the debris for hours. None of the injuries appear life-threatening, and there has been no loss of life. The men’s and women’s dormitories have all been destroyed, and it is already estimated that the damage is around $50 million. Dr. Dockery was interviewed by CNN earlier this morning, noting that of the 1100 cars on campus, only 100 did not receive any damage. Tim Ellsworth, a fellow blogger and UU public relations director, is disseminating information through alternative outlets since the UU website is down.

Please pray for Union and the people of Jackson. This school exists for the glory of God and to train young men and women to develop a Christian worldview bigger than any storm they could ever experience. Perhaps there will never be a greater time to apply what they have been taught than the day after their world is turned upside down. I personally do not know of another group of people better spiritually prepared to handle a crisis like this than David Dockery (president), Greg Thornbury (dean), and the entire administration of UU.

And yet selfishly my heart is heavy. Dr. Dockery has become a father to me in recent years, and he has dedicated his life to making Union the best Christian college in the world. His son Ben, and his wife Julie, are dear friends, and they recently left Louisville to work as campus ministers at Union. Please pray that God will give them wisdom, comfort, strength, and perseverance as they seek to minister to students and their families during this time.

Below are some news articles on Union and the events that have occurred since the tornado:



Mark Inman is a student of UU and is posting pictures of the Union which you can find here. Cam Tracy has also collected photos which can be found here.