I’m looking forward to attending Children Desiring God’s National Conference this weekend: Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God.

Children Desiring God has included sessions on disability since their very first conference in 2005. So I’m possibly even more excited to get to meet the leaders of other church-based disability and special needs ministries while I’m there, including those from the host church, College Park Church in Indianapolis.

Please pray for those leading sessions and for those gathering from all over the country. The main sessions, including David Michael, Al Mohler and John Piper, will all be live streamed! You can find the schedule here.

The entire clip is great, but the best part starts at 3:07.

Thank you to Pastor David Zuleger of Sojourners Church for sending immediately after the Republican Presidential Debate. A helpful, encouraging reminder of what power actually looks like.

This is a neat story done by local KMSP reporter Amy Hockert on churches engaging people with disabilities.

Featured in the story is a good friend of ours who is a persistent advocate for including people with disabilities in our churches. Lisa Jamieson of Walk Right In Ministries organizes Disability Ministry Connection, a monthly gathering and a Facebook forum for church leaders and volunteers who serve people experiencing disabilities of all kinds.

To grant great good after great evil is one thing, and to turn great evil into the greatest good is another; and yet that is God’s way: the greatest good that God intends for his people, he many times works out of the greatest evil, the greatest light is brought out of the greatest darkness. I remember, Luther has a striking expression for this: he says, ‘It is the way of God: he humbles that he might exalt, he kills that he might make alive, he confounds that he might glorify.’ This is the way of God, he says, but every one does not understand it. This is the art of arts, and the science of sciences, the knowledge of knowledges, to understand this, that God when he will bring life, brings it out of death, he brings joy out of sorrow, and he brings prosperity out of adversity, yea and many times brings grace out of sin, that is, makes use of sin to work furtherance of grace. It is the way of God to bring all good out of evil, not only to overcome the evil, but to make the evil work toward the good.

Excerpt From: Burroughs, Jeremiah. “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.”

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.

Pastor Jason Meyer in his December 5, 2015 sermon on Psalm 14 quoting Tim Keller from The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism quoting  Fyodor Dostoyevsky from The Brothers Karamazov.

We’ve added to our family (see picture below if you’re interested).

The day we brought her home I was reminded of a time when Pastor John referenced his own dog and the new earth. I couldn’t remember exactly what the reference was or when or even the context (sermon? conference message? book?). Thankfully, desiringGod.org has a helpful search engine and I found it in about a minute.

It was from an Advent poem in 1985!

And as I knelt beside the brook
To drink eternal life, I took
A glance across the golden grass,
And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast
As she could come. She leaped the stream-
Almost-and what a happy gleam
Was in her eye.

And there was so much more I had forgotten:

The blind can see a bird on wing,
The dumb can lift his voice and sing.
The diabetic eats at will,
The coronary runs uphill.
The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,
The cancer-ridden bone is clear.
Arthritic joints are lithe and free,
And every pain has ceased to be.
And every sorrow deep within,
And every trace of lingering sin
Is gone. And all that’s left is joy,
And endless ages to employ
The mind and heart to understand
And love the sovereign Lord who planned
That it should take eternity
To lavish all his grace on me.

Glorified by Pastor John Piper, December 22, 1985

This was ten years before Paul was born and 19 years before Dianne’s cancer was diagnosed. The references to disability and disease obviously had no impact on me at the time. Oh, how I wish they had; 1995 might have been so much different for me.

But God had a different path for us in 1995, and I’m delighted to rediscover this powerful, sobering, joyful poem these years later. Please read the entire poem at the link above. It is not what you are expecting.

And I am not at all surprised that God would use a little dog to bring him glory!


God is providing an opportunity to change people’s hearts and minds about men and women with intellectual disabilities. Let us take full advantage!

More than 7,000 athletes and nearly 30,000 volunteers are gathering in Los Angeles this week for the Special Olympics World Games that starts on Saturday. Special Olympics is dedicated to providing people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete and learn skills. The organizing committee for the Special Olympics estimates as many as 500,000 people will attend the games, and ESPN is televising the opening ceremonies and providing regular updates and highlights throughout the week.

These 7,000 athletes represent more than 200,000,000 people around the world living with intellectual disabilities. Their disabilities are related to diagnoses like Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

We will see men and women running, swimming, lifting weights, and competing in ways that will impress us and possibly even confound our understanding of what it means to live with intellectual disabilities. Further, we will see winners celebrating and losers being consoled by friends and family – just like ‘normal’ athletes.

And there is the opportunity for us! The enemy and destroyer of our unborn children with disabilities attempts to make them into a scary diagnosis rather than a real person. That’s much harder to do when you’ve just seen an athlete with Down syndrome or autism compete, showing the discipline and determination that comes with competition. Let’s take advantage of this natural opportunity to make much of God’s diversity in his creation!

Yet we must also be realistic about how some people will respond. The ghoulish videos of executives from Planned Parenthood talking about harvesting the body parts of dead children is evidence of our enemy’s ability to blind the eyes of people from Christ’s glory (2 Corinthians 4:4) and to their own depravity and deadness of heart.

But we live with hope! All of us were blind to his glory and dead in our sins until God made us alive:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)

Please pray this week that God would use this gathering of athletes to open the eyes of spiritually blind people to Christ’s glory. And let us specifically pray for President and First Lady Obama around this event. They are both vocal supporters of Planned Parenthood and so-called ‘reproductive choice,’ and are honorary co-chairs of the World Special Olympics. The First Lady is participating in the opening ceremonies:

Father, as Mrs. Obama looks out over thousands of people living with intellectual disabilities this week, help her and others to see and enjoy them as human beings made in the image of their God, with inherent dignity and value. Celebrating their lives and accomplishments is a wonderful task! And then, Father, give her, and all of us, the desire to protect those in the womb with intellectual disabilities from being intentionally and systematically destroyed through abortion. Sovereign Lord, you are able! Please do it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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