Weekly Update: August 26, 2015

Dear Family,

I had the honor this past Monday of delivering the invocation for Cross Creek's own, Cindi Tolle at the Hall of Heroes in The Pentagon. It was an experience I will always cherish and I am so grateful to Cindi for thinking of me. After the ceremony, there was a tour of The Pentagon for family and friends. If you have never visited and toured this amazing structure, you have my full recommendation to do so upon visiting Washington DC. You will not be disappointed. A number of people asked me if I was nervous, especially standing behind a lectern with the insignia of the Department of Defense. Truthfully, I was far more nervous going through security (Pentagon police don't mess around!), but once I was called up to pray the Spirit took great care of me. There are few lecterns as intimidating as the church pulpit.

Thanks to Keith for preaching in my place. I heard that worship was glorifying to God and that He graciously brought us many new faces. We need to be ever thankful to the Lord for the blessing of visitors to our church. Please be in prayer for our visitors. Pray that they would commit to church membership and that there would be a deep desire to serve and love the church sacrificially.

Speaking of church membership, Taste of Cross Creek will be offered during First Hour (Sunday school) at 9:30 am beginning this Fall. This class is designed to go over some of the important tenets of faith and life at Cross Creek.

Many of you have asked me about my dear friend, Mike Francis. You may recall, Mike suffered a massive heart attack while riding his bike. Though Mike has made tremendous strides, he has not nearly recovered his capacities enough to resume pastoring and preaching. The effects of this ailment have apparently left long-lasting trauma. Please pray for his continued recovery, for peace upon his family, strength for his wife, Maria, and continued love from his faithful church body. Here is an update I would like to share with you written by Maria.

Beloved prayer warriors,
 
Today marks 14 weeks since Mike went out on a bike ride that has changed all of our lives.  We have seen the Lord provide above and beyond all we could ask or imagine on every one of these 91 days, and all of you and each of your prayers are part of this amazingly gracious provision.  Thank you.   
 
We appreciate your prayers for us as we moved from Brooks to skilled nursing/sub-acute rehab and as Lydia moved back to Washington DC.  Teary farewells, new places and routines ... all have me thinking on the topic of home.  To be honest, this week I have cried the most about just wanting to go home.  Mike would surely counsel me to talk to myself instead of listening to myself, and so I have been thinking about how God is my refuge and strength and how we dwell in the shelter of the Almighty regardless of the color of the walls we see (pink).  At the same time, I remember that our God is Immanuel, God with us, that His Spirit makes His home in His people, in me and in Mike and in our children, and that the Lord's angels encamp around us.  Some day soon I hope to have a conversation with Mike about how this works, we living in God and He living in us, and I'm sure he will remind me that it's all there in the Gospel, that this co-habitation (marriage, really, but that's another topic) only occurs because the Word became flesh and dwelled among us and took our sins in exchange for His righteousness.  And together we will look forward to our heavenly home.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus.  
 
In the meantime, we continue to pray and to be grateful to all of you who are helping us in this way.  In particular, 

 

Thanksgiving for the many, many people who are caring for us along the way:  besides the prayer warriors (you!), the family of God and friends who supply countless practical needs, and the medical and therapy staff in the four facilities in which we've lived.
Planning for the future:  our attorney friends have arranged for me to see a lawyer specializing in disability, estate planning, and elder law on Wednesday morning.  Please pray for my preparation (the assembly of an  stounding  number of documents), the actual meeting, the elders who will accompany me , and the plans being mad .
Mike's continued progress:  over the weekend, he joined in singing and used a few names, which is real cognitive progress.  However, the work with new therapists in the areas of functional mobility has not been spectacular, and I am doubtful that insurance will continue to pay much longer.  Please pray for plans for the future on this front as well.  It may come as no surprise that I want to bring Mike home.

 

Back to school adjustments for Lydia at George Washington, Luke at Daytona State, me at Stetson, and Maddie as an RUF intern with City Campus.  Students are arriving at the Manhattan campuses that she and the team serve.  May we all be salt and light as we show the love of Christ in both new and established relationships.  
or Mike's full and complete recovery.
ecause of His great faithfulness,
 
Maria for the whole family

This Sunday I will be back in the pulpit preaching us through Mark's Gospel. See you then.

In Christ our Lord,

Paul