Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

To Sheila...
I have been burdened for you since you wrote last week. I responded to your request for books, but I realized that the email may not have reached you... not sure how or if replying to comments works. So I'll list them here in hopes that you will see this.

Here are the titles: Lament for a Son (Wolterstorff); Morning Song (Landorf); When Life Has Changed Forever (Taylor); Safe in the Arms of God (MacArthur).

I pray that you are ok... may grace and peace be yours in abundance today.

We will be having a memorial service for Luke this Saturday, November 29 at 11:00am for my family here in Maine. Many of my relatives were not able to travel to Georgia for the funeral or committal services and we felt both the need and desire to provide a time for us to all be together to remember and celebrate his life.

We would appreciate your prayers on Saturday... for emotional strength, for Christ to be honored, for Luke to be remembered and celebrated, for a sweet time together and that it would in some way be a healing time... and any other way you are led to pray.

Your prayers continue to help us so much.

Happy Thanksgiving...
Tomorrow will mark six months since Luke's death. And, unbelievably, it obviously falls on Thanksgiving. We would SO appreciate your prayers.

We are going to do something a little bit different as a family tomorrow. No traditional family gathering around the table. Instead, we are going to my sister's church (fyi, the Presque Isle Wesleyan Church) and help pack about 300 meals that will then be delivered to various locations throughout the community. Once the packing and deliveries are done, everyone who participates will sit down together at the church for Thanksgiving Dinner.

We are really looking forward to it... and honestly, I hope it serves as a bit of a distraction for us.

I'm sort of embarassed to admit this, but it will be only the second time that I've actually done anything on Thanksgiving FOR someone else in terms of service. The first was in Chicago in 2002 when I was in grad school at Moody Bible Institute. A group of us, about 20-25 I think, went to Pacific Garden Mission (a homeless shelter in the city) to serve the men there. We had an absolute blast, a totally fulfilling day. After we finished there we all, most of us at least, went to the apartment of one of our fellow grad students and had dinner together. What a great memory.

Maybe this service thing can become a new tradition for us?

How many of you do that sort of thing as a family?

Whatever you do, have a great day with whomever you are planning to share the day with!

Thank you...
I want to say thank you to everyone who has commented on the "I Don't Get This..." post. Your thoughts mean so much to us... mostly because your thoughts are borne from your experiences. I've heard it said that our experiences shape our theology. I believed it when I first heard it a few years ago, but I grow increasingly convinced of this reality day by day by day.

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and insights. You are a blessing! Be blessed!
= = = = =
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
[ Ephesians 1:3, NIV ]
= = = = =

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Don't Get This...

On being thankful "for" everything vs. being thankful "in" everything...

I have very much appreciated the responses to the Random post from 11/18. The point has been well made by several people that there is a major difference between these two little words, "for" and "in." Speaking to our situation specifically, and for that matter to any challenge, struggle, or tragedy one may face in this life, it is unfathomable that God would ask us to be thankful "for" these things. Thankful "in" them, yes, I understand that. Thankful despite them, ditto. Mind you, it is a struggle to daily (actually, moment to moment) display this attitude genuinely and from the heart, with integrity if you will, but it IS possible. Not in our own strength, but with the help of Christ and in the power of the Spirit, it does happen. I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has pointed this out, and I have some thoughts that I have been wrestling with on that, but before I do, I think it would be good to shed a little light on the context of my friend's statement (i.e., the Bible says that we are supposed to be thankful for everything).

It's extremely important for me to point out that his words were definitely not directed at me! He was actually referring to himself, saying that he is selective in his thanks and praise... or something to that effect, meaning that he felt like he shows more gratitude when it's convenient for him than when it is costly and, well, not so convenient... a "fair weather" thanker/praiser you might say. :-) I can identify. Who can't? He talked rather transparently about his failures at praising God and being thankful for the negatives in his life... but, he said, that's what the Bible tells us to do. At that point in the conversation, as I mentioned in the earlier post, thoughts of losing Luke immediately began to race thru my mind, as well as all sorts of other things that occur every day in this broken mess of a world... things that are not in any way deserving of thanks or praise, things that God surely, in my mind at least, is certainly not pleased with... so how could He possibly demand thanks? He doesn't. At least that's the way I see it.

Having said all of that, and I hope this is making some sense, here are some thoughts on the subject.

I began to think the other day, What DOES the Bible actually say about this? That's a good and necessary question, don't you think? I mean afterall, we need to know what God is saying to us in His Word. So, here's what I found... and I know that what I have to say is definitely NOT a complete picture of what the Bible says about being thankful "for" or "in" trials... it is not exhaustive, but rather selective... so I continue to welcome (and want!) your thoughts and observations and experiences and "whispers from the Spirit" on this.

What I found are two primary verses that speak to this subject. The first is Ephesians 5:20, the second 1 Thessalonians 5:18. What I also found was that the latter is understandable to me and therefore encouraging, while the former is... not so understandable and therefore quite disturbing.

First, the understandable, I-can-kind-of-wrap-my-brain-around-this-one part:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (ESV)

The key word, of course, is "in". As in "give thanks in all circumstances." I even checked it out in a bunch of other translations and paraphrases (which, fyi, are listed at the end of this post).

Ok, so I get the point. I'm ok with it. Really. I don't know how exactly, but I can tell you in all sincerity that I am thankful, more so now than ever, and even comforted and joyful and confident in Christ, again more so now than ever, despite the fact that a most horrific thing happened to Nicol and I and Summer and our entire family. I'm thankful. Broken? Crushed? Confused? Disheartened? Yes, all of that too... for sure. But I'm thankful in Christ. I'm thankful because He offers hope. I don't like what has happened and I don't understand it, but I know that this is not the end. There are days when nothing makes sense and I have to fight back anger and bitterness and disappointment and depression and fear, but I know that our faith is real. I know that God has been with us. I know that He has made it possible for us to keep on keeping on. I know that He has given us a ton of grace. I know that the cross and the resurrection are more evident and real to us than ever. I know that Jesus Christ is the best news that we have ever heard. I know these things because we've experienced the love and mercy of the God who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, to listen when we cry out to Him.

The bottom line is that, no matter what happens to any of us, God will give us the grace to continue to see Him for who He is: a relentlessly loving, faithful friend and savior to those who are broken, crushed in spirit, struggling with sin, fighting with demons, stumbling and tripping over the same stupid tendencies that one way or the other keep coming back to haunt them... people just like me.

And for that I am unbelievably thankful.

Now for the disturbing, I-just-don't-get-this part:

Ephesians 5:20 says, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (ESV)

The key word here? You got it: "for." What!? Are you kidding me? Give thanks always and "for" everything? Puhlease!!! Surely it doesn't mean that. Must be a bad translation, right? Wrong. You can read a baker's dozen of others listed below that say the same thing.

Look, I don't know what to say, so I'm not going to say anything else. Not going to try to figure it out or explain it away. If anyone has something to offer on this I AM ALL EARS. This is the kind of thing I don't understand. I don't want to understand it. Maybe I'm just not ready to. Then again, I'll never be ready to. All I know is that it makes no sense to me. Not that God has to make sense to me, but it just seems out of character for Him. How could He expect anyone to be thankful "for" a tragegy the likes of which we have been thru?

Lord, you know my heart. I do not want to come off here as irreverent or unfaithful in any way. Forgive me if I have. I do not want to offend Your good name. You are good and kind and Your Word is eternally good and true in every way. I thank You for that. Please give me (all of us) the grace to understand the things that I cannot now comprehend as well as the grace to be ok with what I will never understand. Amen.

Grace and peace to all.


1 Thessalonians 5:18 Version Comparison:

  • "in every thing give thanks" (YLT; KJV)
  • "in everything give thanks" (NASB; ASV; NKJV)
  • "give thanks in all circumstances" (ESV; NIV)
  • "give thanks in everything" (HCSB)
  • "be thankful in all circumstances" (NLT)
  • "Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks]" (Amplified Bible)
  • "thank God no matter what happens" (The Message)
  • "Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ" (CEV)
  • "and give thanks no matter what happens" (NCV)

Ephesians 5:20 Version Comparison:

  • "giving thanks always for all things" (YLT; KJV)
  • "always giving thanks for all things" (NASB)
  • "giving thanks always for all things" (NKJV; ASV)
  • "giving thanks always and for everything" (ESV; HCSB)
  • "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" (NIV)
  • "And give thanks for everything" (NLT)
  • "At all times and for everything giving thanks" (Amplified Bible)
  • "Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything" (The Message)
  • "Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to give thanks to God the Father for everything" (CEV)
  • "Always give thanks to God the Father for everything" (NCV)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Northern Maine Update : 112008

A little update for you... temps last night: -5 to -10 with windchill... temps today: 17 when we got up this morning; about 25 now... we're having a good time here... hope you all are well... we so appreciate your kind words, prayers, and comments... you are such an encouragement... grace and peace.

Here are some fun pics for you!

Summer enjoying the snow... even though there isn't much of it yet!

Little Viking Girl
This was at a Scandinavian gift shop where Nicol was shopping. We are (partly) Swedes on my dad's side. There's a community just north of here called "New Sweden" and it became home to a lot of Swedes who came here for potato farming and free tracts of land. Among them were my great-great-great-grandparents.

You guessed it... momma was shopping again!

Summer and Kermit!

These pictures were taken by a guy who lives here in my hometown (Washburn... did I already mention that?). His name is Paul Cyr and you can check out his photography here. I don't know him but my parents do. His work is pretty amazing. Anyway, thought you'd like to see some pics of the moose. People usually ask if we see them when we're up here. Haven't seen any yet on this trip, but we usually do. When I was in high school, I was standing in our kitchen, looking out the back window while eating a bowl of cereal, and a moose walked right up to the window and stood there for a brief moment staring at me. We used to see them all the time at our first house, which was located near the Aroostook River; the moose used to cross the road in front of our house there to get water down at the river.

It's not uncommon to see moose crossing the road. It's also not uncommon for vehicles to hit them. One of my high school friends hit one the summer we graduated (I think) and it peeled the top of his car right back. Fortunately he was ok. Another friend hit one a few years ago and he's glad to be alive. His injuries required quite a bit of facial reconstruction because it sort of crushed his face. Bad scene. He's fine now.

This is my favorite. It wasn't taken by the same photographer. My aunt sent this to me about a year ago. The story is below... it's a little lengthy but you may be interested to read it.
Moose Logging Story
>>Lew and the rest of the gang- We had been trying to keep this under wraps as we knew this would happen once folks found out that with some effort you can train moose to harness. Once this picture got out, it's been e-mailed around like crazy but no one has bothered to fill in the rest of the story so before any rampant rumors get going, I better write down what I know. If folks want to extrapolate on that, then Lord only knows where this picture and story will end up.
>>The man in the picture is Jacques Leroux who lives up near Escourt Station and has always had work horses, first for actual work and then for show at Maine's many summer fairs. I think he had two matched pairs, one Clydesdale and the other Belgium's. He would turn them out to pasture each morning and then work them in the afternoon dragging the sled around the fields. Three springs ago, he noticed a female moose coming to the pasture and helping herself of the hay and what grain the work horses didn't pick up off the ground. Jacques said he could get within 10 feet of the moose before it would turn and move off.
>>Two springs ago, the moose foaled(?) at the edge of the work horse pasture and upon getting to it's feet had not only the mother in attendance but the four horses. The young moose grew up around the horses and each afternoon when Mr. Leroux took the teams for their daily exercise the yearling moose would trail along the entire route next to the near horse.
>>At some point, the yearling got so accustomed to Mr. Leroux that, after he had brushed each horse after a workout, he started brushing down the moose. The moose tolerated this quite well so Mr. Leroux started draping harness parts over the yearling to see how he would tolerate these objects. The yearling was soon harness broken and now came the question of what could you do with a harness broke moose.
>>As you may or may not know, a great deal of Maine is being bought up by folks "from away" and some of them understand principles of forest management. Well the folks buying small parcels of land up in the area of the Allagash have it in their mind that they don't want big skidders and processors and forwarders on their small wood lots. Enter Mr. Leroux with his teams of horses.
>>Every morning, when Mr. Leroux loaded the teams into the horse trailer to go off to the days job, the yearling moose got quite riled up and one day loaded himself right into the trailer with the horses. At the job site, Jacques unloaded the horses and as the moose stayed right with them, he would take the Clydesdales and his brother Gaston would take the Belgians and off into the woods they would go with the moose trailing behind. They would put the harness on the moose in case they encountered someone who they could kid with the explanation that the moose was a spare in case something happened to one of the horses. The work required them to skid cut limbed and topped stems to the landing where the stems could be loaded onto a truck for the pulp mill.
>>All morning long the two brothers brought out twitch after twitch of stems with the moose following the Belgian team for the most part. At lunch break Jacques had the bright idea of putting trace chains and a whiffle tree on the moose's harness and all afternoon the moose went back and forth following the Belgians in and out of the woods dragging his whiffletree along the ground. As there were no stumps in the skid trail, the whiffle tree never hung up on anything and that first day in harness went great. So next day, they hitched on first a small stem and the moose brought it out just fine following the Belgians.
>>Mr. Leroux told me they were up to four small stems now and the moose was doing just great. He cautioned however that there were a few problems with using a bull moose. Come June, when the new antlers start, the new bone is "in velvet" and must itch like crazy as the moose stops every once in awhile and rubs his rack against just about anything to appease the itch. Once, before the brothers learned to tie him off by himself while they had lunch, moose was rubbing his antlers against the hame on the Clydesdale called Jack and got it wedged there for a bit. Jacques said he wished he had a camera as it looked like moose was trying to push Jack over.
>>The other problem is the rutting season. The brothers learned quickly to leave moose in the barn as he was constantly on red alert in the woods during this time. The brothers are also considering trying this with two females to make a matched pair which would become an instant hit at the Maine Fairs. The trouble with the bulls is their racks. They would be constantly rubbing and hitting each other and yes they would have to be gelded as I just couldn't imagine getting the two bulls anywhere near each other, let alone in harness.
>>So now that this picture is going all over the place, the surprise has been let out of the proverbial bag. The Leroux's want to continue the work of trying to get a pair of females in harness but they may have to end up breeding moose to do this and that's where they will run into trouble with the State of Maine IF & W. I'm sure they don't like the idea of the brothers "keeping" wild animals.
>>Thought you should know the rest of the story. If any of you doubt this please contact Tom Whitworth in Ashland , Maine . I think he said was a second cousin to the Lerouxs and has seen this anomaly many times.
>>Regards from your frozen Northeasterly most state.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's been so long since I've posted that I sort of don't know where to begin! I feel kinda bad about that... knowing that many of you keep up with us here, have probably been wondering about the house, and want to know how we are doing. My apologies for leaving you in the dark!

We are in Maine visiting my family and will be here thru Thanksgiving. I'm sure you may be wondering (1) how cold is it? and (2) is there any snow yet? Well, it's actually been unseasonably warm, with temps in the 40's and 50's. Today though, reality settled in... it's about 25 degrees out there right now and we had a little bit of snow this morning... just a "dusting" as they say around here.

When Summer got up this morning she wanted to go "see them"... the snow flakes that is. Funny! She had fun walking around the yard in it... for a little while at least, and then it got too cold for us.

In case you are wondering about Maine, this pic will give you an idea of where we are. Aroostook County is the largest county (in terms of land-mass) east of the Mississippi River. I grew up in the small town of Washburn (pop. 2,000; just east of the big red dot on the map below) and that is where my parents still live (in fact, they've lived here their entire lives; they met when they were 8 or 9 years old, when my dad was the paper boy for my grandparents! how cool is that?). My sister and her family live about 10 miles from here, in the city of Presque Isle. Anyway, thought you may like to know all that!

We are okay. Good days. Bad days. Our new reality... that still hasn't sunk in completely.

On Sunday, Nicol sang and I preached at my home church, sharing as best I could the journey we have been on during the past 6 months since Luke's passing. After the service I saw the grandmother (Mrs. Kinney) of an old friend from high school. She approached me with tears in her eyes and said, "I know exactly what you are going through." I didn't know the details of what had happened, but it was obvious that she had suffered a similar loss at some point. I asked my mother about it later on that day and she said that Mrs. Kinney, now in her early 80's, lost a 5-month-old boy the same way we lost Luke. The baby just didn't wake up one day. All these years later and our story tore at the scabs of her heart, in some ways I am sure making it feel as though it happened just moments ago.

If there's anything I have learned since May 27 it's this: a parent never gets over losing a child. Never.

the house...
Unfortunately, I have no news of any real significance to share. There are a two couples who are interested, but neither have made an offer yet and one has to wait until they sell their house before they can even consider making an offer on ours.

So, as I've said before, we continue to wait. Thank you for all of your encouraging comments. I know that the house will sell when it's supposed to and I know that God has it all under control and His timing is always best... as someone else said, He's never early and He's never late!

"light your world" reminderbands®...
I ordered these a few weeks ago and they will be available for purchase or donation to the foundation. I will be giving more details in the days ahead. Danielle is going to do a bit of a re-design on the blog and once that is done we will have all the information needed for those who want to order the "light your world" reminderbands®. Until then, I thought I'd give you a heads-up! Here are a couple of pics. Would love to know what you think.

"a week of thanksgiving"...
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I was thinking about the whole "being thankful" thing. You know what I'm talking about, right? It's supposed to one of the characteristics of our faith. Man do I fall short on this one. I think my thoughts have been spurred on by a comment that a friend made a couple of weeks ago over breakfast. He commented that the Bible says we are supposed to be thankful for everything. I swallowed hard on that one, thinking immediately about losing Luke. I am obviously not thankful about that. But what about the everything part? Well, I just can't go there.

Having said that, there are many things that I AM thankful for... even things related to Luke. I'll share those later. For now though, here's what this "a week of thanksgiving" part is all about. Click here to access a pdf file / worksheet that focuses on "cultivating a thankful heart." If you're anything like me, the pump needs to be primed sometimes! I first saw this a few years ago and I'm planning to go thru it again beginning this Friday. The final day will, of course, be Thanksgiving Day.

Here's the intro that you'll find on the worksheet:

"God’s Word teaches that thankfulness ought to be a way of life. But in the reality of our daily lives, it is so easy for discontentment, murmuring, complaining, criticizing, or even bitterness to displace the "attitude of gratitude." Cultivating a thankful heart will result in speaking thankful words. But we all need periodic reminders to be thankful, and, for most of us, developing the habit of thankfulness may require some practice! Here are some practical suggestions for devoting one week to practicing thankfulness. You may even want to include the whole family in this project."

Check it out! And feel free to post any "thankful" comments you'd like to share! I would love to read them!

food for my soul today...
[ Psalm 94:17-19 ]
17 If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Update : 11808

[ Drumroll please... ]

Ok, forget the drum roll. I'm about to dash your hopes. Ours' were dashed last night. But we're over it... really. Suffice it to say that our potential buyer threw us all for a loop... her agent, our agent, and us. I would love to share all the juicy details with you, but there's no point. I don't want to speak badly about the situation or the person (who, by the way we have not met and don't know at all). Basically, there is no deal and I doubt there will be with this individual. To be candid, it was all VERY ridiculous. BUT, we know that God has it all worked out so we're not stressing about it... and that feels really, really good.

Thank you for praying just the same... those prayers are going to be answered!

So, in case you don't already know, I put a few extra songs on Nicol's myspace page yesterday. There are now six: (1) Blessed Be Your Name; (2) Bow Down; (3) How Deep the Father's Love for Us; (4) My Father the King; (5) Resurrection; and (6) Hallelujah. The last two are familiar ones! :-)

Have a wonderful Saturday!

PS--By the way, a shameless plug here... a couple of days ago I bought the ESV Study Bible and I LOVE it! If you aren't familiar with the ESV (English Standard Version) you can check it out online at biblegateway. It's the translation I use most in my reading and studying (not that that matters!) and the new Study Bible has many excellent articles, maps, and charts in addition to the thousands and thousands of commentary notes on the text. You can check it out here.

Grace and Peace.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Update : 11708

Sorry it's been a while since updating you. A lot has happened in the last week! Here's a brief update...

To bring you up to speed, here's what's been happening since I last wrote about the offer on the house. Basically, we signed a formal counter offer on Wednesday and were supposed to hear back yesterday on whether or not it was accepted; however, the buyer asked for a 24 hour extension and is scheduled to see the house again this afternoon at 4pm (EST) and will then make a final decision.

Suzanne expects the deal to go thru! Our counter offer is on the table until 7pm this evening. If you read this in the next several hours, please pray. We are hopeful and excited! Will keep you posted as we are able.

I FINALLY got the new music up and playing on Nicol's myspace player! You'll find three songs there: Blessed Be Your Name; How Deep the Father's Love for Us; and My Father the King.

Would be very interested in your feedback. As I mentioned a while back, none of them are likely to be on Nicol's latest project, but will probably be on a future one. Please let us know what you think!

--for the fruit we are seeing on the decision to sell the house; even though it's not sold yet, getting a serious offer is extremely exciting - and rare - in this market; so we are grateful to God for that
--for getting us thru some very dark days over the past week or so and also for giving us good times too
--for our friends and family
--for being able to attend the Tennessee Titans-Green Bay Packers game last Sunday in Nashville; Nicol and I went with Todd and Angie and had a great time
--for the blessing of God's Word; may it dwell in us all richly
--for living in a country that can endure a hard-fought political season and election and come out on the other side of it without widespread and mass violence; the same situation in other countries often results in one candidate or the other, one party or the other, fighting to the death for power, with many innocent people also losing their lives; thank you Lord that we are not facing that here

Prayer concerns...
--selling the house
--getting everything moved out over the next few days; we leave for Maine next Wednesday (Nov. 12) for Thanksgiving and the buyer has requested that the closing take place before the end of the month (gulp!); but the good news is that we may be selling some of our furniture with the house, which means we will have less to move; anyway... strrrrreeeeesssss!!!
--we are trusting the Lord to order our steps to Nashville and to work out either a temporary place to live (which we may already have!) or a place to buy that is too good a deal to pass on; whatever the case, we are believing God to lead us to the right situation
--my Nana (Grampy Sponberg's mother) is not doing well; she has dimentia, has dealt with severely elevated blood pressure levels for years, and recently the doctors told her children that her kidneys are beginning to fail and that she may possibly only have a matter of weeks or months to live; we would appreciate your prayers for her, and for God's grace and mercy to be very evident during what appear to be the final days of her life

A hymn...
[ Jesus What a Friend for Sinners has been a great comfort to me the past couple of days ]

Jesus, what a friend for sinners
Jesus, lover of my soul
Friends may fail me, foes assail me
He, my savior, makes me whole

Hallelujah, what a savior

Hallelujah, what a friend
Saving, helping, keeping, loving
He is with me to the end

Jesus, what a strength in weakness
Let me hide myself in Him
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing
He, my strength, my victory wins

Jesus, what a help in sorrow
While the billows o'er me roll
Even when my heart is breaking
He, my comfort, helps my soul

Jesus, what a guide and keeper
While the tempest still is high
Storms about me, night o'ertakes me
He, my pilot, hears my cry

Jesus, I do now receive (adore) Him
More than all in Him I find
He hath granted me forgiveness
I am His, and He is mine

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A New Song

[ Psalm 40:1-5 ]

[1] I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.

[2] He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

[3] He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

[4] Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,

who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!

[5] You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

Articles for you

Thought some of you may enjoy reading these articles. Both have been widely circulated, so you may already be familiar with them. They were forwarded to me this past summer, about 6 weeks after Luke died, and I found them to be very encouraging. Hope you enjoy them!

Josh Hamilton plays major league baseball for the Texas Rangers. In the linked article, which appeared in ESPN The Magazine last year, he shares stories about his personal life and battle with addiction, his playing career, and his victory in Jesus.

Tony Snow is the former White House press secretary for (current) President Bush. He died of colon cancer July 12, 2008. He wrote the linked article for Christianity Today about one year before he was called home.