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Please pray as people gather to help families experiencing disability and their churches!

I’m really excited to get on a plane tomorrow for San Diego and participate in The Elisha Foundation’s Conference on Disability. The four men who serve as plenary speakers are going deep into God’s word and I’ll have the chance to facilitate a panel discussion with them on Friday night.

They are hoping to live-stream the conference. Go to their website or Facebook page to see what the options are available beginning tomorrow night, Thursday, Nov. 6.

On Friday and Saturday in Alabama, other friends of mine are gathering for The Accessible Kingdom Disability Ministry Conference. Stephanie Hubach, author of Same Lake, Different Boat, Special Needs Ministry Director for the Presbyterian Church in America and a friend of Bethlehem’s disability ministry is a keynote speaker. The conference also includes more than 40 workshops.

May God do a mighty work through these events!

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As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. (John 9:1 ESV)

(T)he Gospels are filled with observations of Jesus looking at people. His looking was often followed by compassion and then action. Both the Good Samaritan and the father of the Prodigal Son follow this trajectory. Instead of being frozen by the unknown, we can begin by looking. Instead of a plan, we have a path. So we don’t have to figure everything out. That takes the pressure off.

Paul Miller, A Loving Life, p. 85.

Paul Miller is the father of an adult daughter with disabilities and also authored the very helpful book, A Praying Life.

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Dianne and I appreciate this young woman a great deal, who now goes by Amber Kay Satterfield as she married Eric since she gave this testimony! She has suffered much, and God is her treasure.

You can find other really helpful chapel talks and testimonies from Bethlehem College and Seminary here.

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After my Paul was born I concluded that God was powerful but not good. I was really, really wrong.

In less than a minute Pastor Jason describes the two ways Satan tries to use our circumstances to define God as less than who he really is. And then Pastor Jason closes with a great reminder!

You can hear, watch or read all of Pastor Jason’s sermon, Adult Discipleship, here, delivered on March 8, 2014.

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Sometimes I read things that just make me want to stand and cheer at their insight and clarity on hard issues. Tim Challies, discussing a new technology designed to eliminate genetic abnormalities, does that by reminding us that God has a perspective on this issue – and it is glorious and good!

We do well to end suffering when we are able to. We do well to cure disease and eliminate curable pain. But we dare not step into God’s place as those who will design babies according to our plan rather than his. We dare not trust our goodness ahead of his goodness, our wisdom ahead of his wisdom. Sometimes God’s good and wise plans involve something we would not choose and would never design, such as a child with a severe genetic abnormality. But when we trust a good and wise God, we rejoice that the works of God might be displayed in all of these. (Emphasis mine)

You’ll want to read the entire article by Tim Challies, The Dawn of the Designer Babies.

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A beautiful Song for the Suffering by Shane and Shane, with Pastor John.

Shane and Shane will be leading an evening of worship at the Desiring God National Conference on September 27.

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Today is an anniversary of sorts.  On October 11, 2004, Dianne came home from her doctor to tell me something was very wrong. The next day it was confirmed to be cancer. A few days later we knew it to be Stage IV cancer. And that started an entirely new chapter in our lives.

Dianne still has her port.  She takes a drug every day.  She still sees her oncologist several times a year.

And she manages the household, cares for her family, volunteers at church, participates in Bible studies and encourages me.  In fact, until she reads this she probably won’t even remember the importance of this date – she’s got real things to attend to right now rather than bother with something in the past.

Cancer does not rule our household. But God used it to change our household.

Pastor John also had cancer, and that lead him to write a short booklet available at Desiring God:  Don’t Waste Your Cancer.  Please, read it and share it with somebody you know.

Joni Eareckson Tada also faced cancer, and did a one-hour video on her journey, which can be found here. Caution: this is a raw look at cancer and includes some frightening, very real images.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

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Tears came at this announcement from Ligonier this afternoon, though I have never met her or her dad or grandfather.

This beautiful young woman died yesterday. Shannon Macfarlane Sproul, daughter of Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. and granddaughter of Dr. R.C. Sproul, was fifteen years old. She was born with a condition called Lissencephaly, a condition that left her profoundly disabled. She was a blessing to all who knew her. In fact, a few years ago, Joni Eareckson Tada produced a short TV program that showed how Shannon and her family handled disability in light of the sovereignty of God. Shannon now has not only the memory of her earthly father singing over her, but in a way that we cannot fathom, has the joy of having her Heavenly Father sing over her (Zeph. 3:17).

She and her father have helped me, and I’m guessing quite a few others.

Frankly, I cannot imagine her daddy’s pain right now.  But I know God knows his pain, and loves him, and will help him.

Please pray for the family.

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Get a group of parents of children with disabilities together and it won’t be long before the stories start to come out, frequently about being treated badly. It is rare to run into a parent who doesn’t have a story about a doctor or school teacher or therapist or social worker who talked down to the parent about what the child did or didn’t need, or refused to consider options from the parents’ perspectives.

Bob Horning kindly sent me another story about Krista when she was very young and they were in such a situation – and God demonstrated his might in using a little one for his glory!

Krista was in the Early Childhood Something-or-other program in our local public school when she was little. It wasn’t going well.

They were focusing on things that were not important, and our input was pretty much ignored.

“We are the experts here” is what they said. I’m not making that quote up.

We decided to pull her out of the program, but they wanted to have a meeting before we took that step. So we went over to the school and met with a therapist or two, plus the principal.

Three or four of them against a couple “confused” parents and a four-year-old girl with multiple disabilities.

Krista was in the corner playing with some toys while we were sitting at a table talking – and it also wasn’t going very well.

Finally little Krista walked over and said (I can still hear it today), “Guys, we need to pray about this.

Fortunately I think most schools have improved over the years. But it’s always good to pray about it.

God was, and still is, good.

He hasn’t needed to improve.

Krista still clings to God. She grew up and her family created one of the best resources available on God’s goodness in disability, Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability. Krista will also be speaking at our conference, The Works of God: God’s Good Design in Disability immediately following Pastor John.

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Every inch belongs to Christ!

The worship team did me a great favor by having the song, The First Place, before I spoke to the Bethlehem College and Seminary students on Thursday.  May it remind you and bless you about the sovereignty of our great savior:

The First Place by Matthew Westerholm

Jesus, the perfect picture of the unseen God
Maker of things we cannot comprehend.
Wisdom, the earth displays Your strength and beauty.
Sovereign, yes, every throne knows You are God.

Every inch of this universe belongs to You, O Christ.
For through You and for You it was made.
Your creation endures by the order of Your hand.
So You must have in all things the first place.

Victor, over sin and death You triumphed.
Firstborn, You’ve shown us life beyond the grave.
Bridegroom, we long for You in expectation.
Jesus, Your church rejoices to proclaim.


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