Adam & Eve
Image found by google images on Mar. 20, 2012 at
http://vivirenlagraciadedios.blogspot.com/2012/01/que-es-el-pecado-parte-i-what-is-sin.html
This week as I approach another Tuesday Evenglow Bible Study, I find myself invigorated.  Yes, first, I love doing Bible Study with the folks at Evenglow, but I also have had many opportunities for discussion about the topic at hand throughout my week.  Whether it is posts on my facebook with people who disagree with me or a Bible Study at Chenoa, I have been challenged and affirmed as I grapple with the creation accounts.

This week at Evenglow Bible Study we will be discussing the second creation story and the fall (Genesis 2-4).  I may, eventually do a blog Bible Study over on my other blogsite:  “Virtues of Scripture,” time will tell, but for now I simply ask a question: 

“What does it mean to you that you are created by God?” 

No wrong answers, btw, and no arguing in the comments. I simply want to know what it means to you.

Today is our first-ever Video Bible Study at Evenglow Lodge.  Even though I can’t be with the Evenglow residents today, I am still able to share through the miracle of technology.  Not only can I engage in Bible Study with residents of Evenglow, but anyone at First United Methodist Church in Pontiac, or, really, anyone in the world can take part in this ministry with us.  How cool is that?

First, Carrie and I wanted to share a couple of updates.  First, you are invited to click here to read a blog with the latest update on my tumor; written by my wife, Carrie.  Secondly, we would like to share a video from last Sunday with an update about my recovery, a testimony from my mother, and an update from my wife:



The scripture for Bible Study, today, comes from 2 Kings 5 and is the story of Naaman being healed by Elisha.  As you read along with me be on the look-out for expectations.  As we read about each character ask yourself, “how does this character look at the world?” and “What outcome does this character expect?”



2 Kings 5:1-14 


 1 Naaman, a general for the king of Aram, was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. This man was a mighty warrior, but he had a skin disease. 2Now Aramean raiding parties had gone out and captured a young girl from the land of Israel. She served Naaman’s wife.  3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master could come before the prophet who lives in Samaria. He would cure him of his skin disease.” 4 So Naaman went and told his master what the young girl from the land of Israel had said.
 5 Then Aram’s king said, “Go ahead. I will send a letter to Israel’s king.”
   So Naaman left. He took along ten kikkars of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 He brought the letter to Israel’s king. It read, “Along with this letter I’m sending you my servant Naaman so you can cure him of his skin disease.”
 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes. He said, “What? Am I God to hand out death and life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease! You must realize that he wants to start a fight with me.”
 8 When Elisha the man of God heard that Israel’s king had ripped his clothes, he sent word to the king: “Why did you rip your clothes? Let the man come to me. Then he’ll know that there’s a prophet in Israel.”
 9 Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots. He stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent out a messenger who said, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored and become clean.”
 11 But Naaman went away in anger. He said, “I thought for sure that he’d come out, stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the bad spot, and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t the rivers in Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all Israel’s waters? Couldn’t I wash in them and get clean?” So he turned away and proceeded to leave in anger.
 13 Naaman’s servants came up to him and spoke to him: “Our father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? All he said to you was, ‘Wash and become clean.’” 14 So Naaman went down and bathed in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. His skin was restored like that of a young boy, and he became clean. 


Scott’s Thoughts
And, now, if you haven’t fallen asleep yet, click on this video to hear some reflections on this intriguing scripture:





Before my new Video Bible Study goes live tomorrow afternoon, I thought I’d give you all a little bit of a head-start on 2 Kings.  Sorry I drone on a bit.  Next time I’ll try to be better.  Remember, this is my first try at on-line Bible Teaching.  In the meantime, I hope you learn a little something about this fascinating book of the Bible.

I guess this what happens when you don’t have a plan, but pick up a video camera and start recording.  This is the video that is going to be used at the Evenglow Bible Study on Tuesday to give residents an update on my recovery and to show them the fruits of their labors as they prayed over my mother last Spring!

It is really great to be back in Pontiac and relaxing at home, but I sure did enjoy my time in Pittsfield with family!

Also, I think we’ll add another video here.  I asked Edwina Wilber, after church, to comment about what makes Pittsfield so great.  I thought you might enjoy her response:

I wanted to offer you a taste of what we will be discussing in Bible Study on Tuesday with another scripture from 2 Kings.  Our theme on Tuesday will be:  What it means when we can’t do things for ourselves.  So between now and then, you are invited to read the scripture below and a few words from me.
2 Kings 4:8-17
(commonenglishbible.org)

One day Elisha went to Shunem. A rich woman lived there. She urged him to eat something, so whenever he passed by, he would stop in to eat some food.  She said to her husband, “Look, I know that he is a holy man of God and he passes by regularly. Let’s make a small room on the roof. We’ll set up a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp for him there. Then when he comes to us, he can stay there.”

So one day Elisha came there, headed to the room on the roof, and lay down.  He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite woman.” Gehazi called her, and she stood before him. Elisha then said to Gehazi, “Say to her, ‘Look, you’ve gone to all this trouble for us. What can I do for you? Is there anything I can say on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’”

She said, “I’m content to live at home with my own people.”

Elisha asked, “So what can be done for her?”

Gehazi said, “Well, she doesn’t have a son, and her husband is old.”

Elisha said, “Call her.” So Gehazi called her, and she stood at the door. Elisha said, “About this time next year, you will be holding a son in your arms.”

But she said, “No, man of God, sir; don’t lie to your servant.”

But the woman conceived and gave birth to a son at about the same time the next year. This was what Elisha had promised her.

Scott’s Thoughts
Elisha comes by and, just on his own accord, wants to help her.  He seems to want to “pay her back” for her hospitality, but the woman won’t hear of it.  She tells Elisha (who is also often referred to as ‘the man of God’) that she needs no more wealth or power.  Apparently she has all that she needs.  Elisha keeps ‘sniffing around,’ though, doesn’t he?  He wants to do something nice and realizes that he could use his powers to give them the gift of a child.

If you read my journal entry (online we call it a ‘blog’),  you will know that I’ve been struggling with what it means to have physical limitations. I think that many of us can relate to this woman of Shunem.  I think that, young or old, many of us find times in our lives when we become painfully aware that our bodies, minds or spirits just won’t let us do the things that we would really like most.

In fact, how does this woman respond to Elisha when he tells her of the gift he has planned?

She replies, “No, my Lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant.”

This is a woman who is resigned to her fate of having no male heir.  She is a woman who is very aware of her bodily limitations and those of her husband.  If you are a resident of Evenglow reading this in preparation for Tuesday, then I have no doubt that you would respond the very same way to such a bizarre promise, wouldn’t you?

The funny thing about us humans is that we often don’t want to talk about our own limitations, even when we are convinced of them.  We want to ignore that there are things we can’t do for ourselves.  I don’t know if it is pride, hope, or simply stubbornness.  For my part:  the other night I tried to get up and go to the bathroom without my walker because I thought, “I can do this and I don’t need help from Carrie,” but instead found myself fallen on the floor, still waking her up, because I physically couldn’t do it on my own.

The woman of this story is well aware of her problems.  She probably didn’t appreciate having them thrown in her face, especially since she doesn’t really believe Elisha is going to be able to follow through.  She tells him that the last thing she needs is to get a false sense of hope!  She knows that she and her husband’s physical bodies are not capable of producing a son.  She is aware and resigned.

Yet, it is about one year later that she conceived and bore a son just as Elisha has declared.  Sometimes we are reluctant to talk about our problems.  Sometimes we are reluctant to accept offers of help.  Most often, we simply don’t believe that there is help available to us.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a messiah and I’m certainly no Elisha, but I don’t think it takes the supernatural force of a great prophet or the physical presence of Jesus in sandals to do Holy works in this world.

When God formed communities of Hebrew peoples; when Christ commissioned and sent out the disciples; when the Holy Spirit came upon the new Christian-Jews at Pentecost something happened with humanity.  I believe that God does touch and heal in very real ways today.  This week as we prepare for Bible Study, let us be pondering a couple of questions:

  1. When have I needed something that I couldn’t do for myself? 
  2. How do I respond when people offer me help? 
  3. Do I have people around me who may be waiting for my help –or waiting for me to accept their help?


    Tuesday Bible Study
    (Evenglow Lodge Chapel)

    Join Us In-Person
    For Bible Study at the Evenglow Chapel
    Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:30 p.m!

    We will look at 2 Kings chapter 5 as we discuss
    another person who needed help from Elisha!


    I Can’t Do Anything!

    Lately there have been some things I just can’t do on my own.  Has anyone else felt this way recently?  For me the frustrations began on Saturday, February fourth.  I wanted to do something special for Carrie before her terrible week of taking care of me would begin.  I suddenly realized that on February 14, while I recovered from surgery would be Valentine’s Day.  What was I to do?  I mean,  I couldn’t be sure of whether I would be alive or dead, able to make plans for my dear wife or be struggling for consciousness.  I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but I was unsure of what my condition or quality-of-life would be.

    I wanted to do something special for my wife, but I was faced with the reality that I could not actually wait any longer to make plans.  If I didn’t order some flowers and set some plans in motion, I could run out of time!

    I was very fortunate to be with Carrie for her to see these on Valentines!!!

    As a young man I seldom feel as though I will run out of time.  I seldom feel as though I might miss getting something finished.  Sometimes that means that I wait until the last minute to setup worship or plan a Bible Study.  Sometimes that means that I don’t often enough tell my wife or  family how I feel about them.  Oh, and more recently, it means that I get up at ungodly hours to eat sugar-sweetened cereal (every since getting to my in-laws) …because there will always be tomorrow to exercise.

    Isn’t that a shame?  I especially recognize the shame in such behavior this week.  I finally found a week when my health concerns forced me to face my mortality and the precariousness of life.  I suspect that others of you have felt these feelings sometimes, am I wrong?  Don’t we all feel a little helpless (maybe hapless) from time-to-time?

    One reality that really slapped me in the face, once I was out of the hospital this week, was the fact that I could not drive.   I’m young!  I never imagined for a moment what it would mean for me to have my driving privilege taken away from me.  Well, stop the presses, let’s be really clear:  I never really thought of of driving as a privilege!  Driving seemed to be a right for someone in my age and in my condition!  I have always just assumed that I could drive.

    During my hospital stay it was a non-issue, of course.  Except in a wheelchair:  No one drives in the hospital!  That would be silly.  No problem!  But when I got my official discharge all my friends and family were away from the hospital at the moment.  Still, no big deal.  I had plenty to do and I began setting myself to work trying to gather up the many small items which had exploded into my room.  My father-in-law and wife were on the way and all would be fine.  I just had to be patient.  Patience, though, really isn’t my strongest suit.  I made it it home just fine, of course…except that wasn’t the end of the story.  From the moment of my surgery right up until the moment I am writing this very journal entry…I have been on very powerful narcotics to control pain.  That means no driving.  –It means, actually, that there is a lot of very unsteady walking, too.  My mobility has been severely limited and I find myself frustrated and continually impatient.

    Not only did I find myself with strict orders to not do any driving, but I was under instructions to not shower, not get my head wet (that meant no shampoong my hair:  gross!), and, perhaps most stressful:  I was under orders to use a walker or wheelchair.  Have any of you found yourself losing your freedoms like this?  It was terribly disenheartening and this all left me feeling a bit silly and vulnerable.  Of course, once we start learning our limits we begin to get used to it, right?

    By day number two of all this:  I was very comfortable with the fact that any strolls down the hallway would be with a walker.  In fact, it brought me some comfort, in a way.  I felt some security in knowing that I had something to hold onto.  But even in the midst of comfort and security, we can have setbacks, right?  The next day, without the Physical Therapist, but with my wife and parents nearby, I decided to take short walk with my walker  (having notified my nurse, of course).  The day before my walk had gone very well and I went at least two thirds of the way down the hall with supervision, but on this day:  with my parents arguing behind me, my wife not in my line of sight and with commotion all around me (patients, nurses, doctors and others walking quickly past), I suddenly felt as though I was going to pass out.  I’m not sure if I exclaimed it verbally or just thought it, but all that I knew was that I was about to go down -and embarrassingly, I had not even gone half the distance of the day before! I’m passing out! What a strange, terrible and helpless feeling.  I felt like a failure, but my wife shouted and my father ran for a chair.  I can’t be sure of how it all happened, but somehow my body was managed into a wheelchair and my wife gave me the safety of her arms as she helped me to feel safe and secure once again.  Oh- and just as importantly, she bouyed me up emotionally, reminding me of what I had accomplished and not letting me dwell on my failures.

    Don’t we all have moments when we realize we have gotten in over our heads and we worry that we can’t succeed on our own?  Today, as I ponder all of the freedoms I have temporarily lost and the strangeness that has become an every-day part of my life, of late:  Today I cannot help but recognize all that I have gained, as well.  It maybe frustrating to ask my mother-in-law for a simple ride to the store.  It may seem lonely to sleep across the room from my wife…and it may drive my wife and mother-in-law mad that they are now scheduling their days around medicine pick-ups, Scott’s silly errands, physical therapy, and home nursing visits.

    Yet, as God is my witness: I shall do my my best to not take the help of others’ for granted in the future; I shall try to be more ready to ask for help  (I strained myself moving a chair by myself, tonight, instead of asking for help); and I, most assuredly, will strive to be more compassionate and available to providing support and assistance to others where I see them struggle.

    I won’t lie:  This has been a difficult few days, but it has also been days of patience and learning for both my wife and I!  Would you join me on this journey as we support on another, grow in community and call upon God to strengthen us, even on those difficult days?

    Thank you for your continued love and support (and patience!)

    Scott