Welcome All to 4ourLord
I would like to take a moment and thank you for your time; I know your time is valuable, and you have many choices. So again, thank you.
Before we go any further, allow me to spend a few minutes to give my testimony of how and when I became a Christian. I feel that it is important to know from where your teachers come: their history, their belief system, and why they teach.
Ever since I can remember, I have always believed that there is a God. I always believed in Jesus, and I always understood (well sort of) that he was the Son of God, but for me, it didn’t follow that being the Son of God meant that Jesus was God (I was very young at this time). Every religious holiday I would sit with my father and watch all the biblical movies that were on – King of Kings (my personal favorite), The Robe, The 10 Commandments, etc., but the mention that Jesus was God, and although implied in the films, was never directly stated.
To complicate matters even more, the church that I attended as a child regularly taught that Jesus is the Son of God, but never actually said that He was God. Both sources, the films, and my church left the truth ‘hanging’ out there like fruit on the top of a tree. There to be seen, but just out of our reach. Understanding that Jesus is God was just out of my grasp, leaving me unable to comprehend why this Man would give everything for me (for all of us that ask). As an adult, I recognize it follows that the Son of God would be God; unfortunately, the Bible class that I went to never taught that (and I was not old enough to make the connection). As an adult, I know that the church believed it, unfortunately, they didn’t teach it in a way that I could understand it at the time.
That said, we didn’t spend a lot of time in church when I was a child, as my father’s youngest brother was killed in Vietnam. My father took the news hard, and he became angry at God. It was painful to watch because I knew (as an adult) that he loved the Lord and at the same time held Him responsible. I cannot imagine the pain that struggle caused and how it changed his beliefs. In retrospect, Dad did his best to hide his suffering, but over time he became bitter. It wasn’t long until we stopped going to church at all. As a note, later in life (about forty years later), just a few months before he passed, I was able to lead my father back to Christ, and I now look forward to seeing him, my mother, his brother (my uncle and Godfather) Bobby, and many friends and relatives in Glory.
Ironically, I learned that Jesus was fully man and fully God from a book, surprisingly it was not the Bible but Left Behind. I was at O’Hare airport waiting for a to board a plane for a business trip to Germany. It was an eight or nine-hour flight, and while waiting at O’Hare before boarding the plane, I had nothing else to do so I went to a bookstore and looked through the magazines and books, not finding anything even remotely interesting. As I was walking out of the store, I saw Left Behind, and it caught my eye. I didn’t realize it was a faith based book it just looked worth reading. The Lord placed this book in my path; as I never read fiction; I started reading, it caught my attention, and I couldn’t put it down. I was quite surprised, and a little bit let down when I got to the end of the book and found out that there were quite a few more to read (I ended up reading the entire series).
One of the authors, Tim LaHaye, was also the editor of a King James Bible with highlighting and explanations on his view of prophecy. I read the Bible with his explanations of the passages and was hooked. It was at that time 14 years ago (2002), that I ‘officially’ turned my life over to Christ – I would find out later my faith was on rocky ground. Until reading Left Behind, I did not know that accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior involved action – accepting Him and repenting of my sin – not just head knowledge but faith, a living faith. Unfortunately, I got busy at work and busy in life, and I let all my reading, and more importantly my faith to the side. But as I’m sure you know when God has a plan it will be carried out.
About three years later, I was self-employed selling businesses and consulting. One afternoon I was having a pretty bad day, so I decided to go to the closest bookstore and just look around. As I walked in the bookstore, I noticed there was a table right as you entered, and on it were all three of Lee Strobel’s The Case For… series, and, they were on sale – buy two and get the third free. I started reading The Case for Christ immediately when I got home and could not put it down; I finished that book in one day. I don’t know what it was about that book, but as I read it, I felt that ‘this’ is what I need to do – and I didn’t even know what ‘this’ is. I went on to reading the other two books only to find that ‘this’ feeling was growing stronger and stronger. For the first time in my life, I felt a calmness that I couldn’t explain. It was like God walked into my life and said: “‘This’ is what I want you to do.” It was only a short time later that I learned that ‘this’ had a name: Apologetics. I devoured every resource I could find on apologetics (budget permitting). I was surprised and excited that Apologetics and Scripture walked hand-in-hand. My faith was growing faster than I ever imagined possible.
In January 2005 I decided that I wanted to go back to school and get a degree in apologetics. My life took the little detour in February of that year; on the 23rd of February (my wife’s birthday), I had my second heart attack (no connection? lol). It was minor, but a heart attack nonetheless. I also had herniated disks in my neck resulting in surgery in 2005, with two more in 2006. I continued to work, study, and began teaching at my church in January 2007; but didn’t get back to school as I planned.
In November 2008 I had a massive heart attack. Fortunately, when I flatlined, I was already at the hospital. The doctors had to shock my heart 18 times, to both to start my heart (as it stopped multiple times), and to correct the rhythm. After an angioplasty and three stents, the doctors at that hospital wanted to send me home to wait a month before bypass surgery. I thought this was foolish as my heart attack was so severe. My wife then contacted my cardiologist (who’s practice was at a different hospital), and he suggested that I transfer to his hospital for an evaluation and a plan of action. Five days later I had quadruple bypass surgery. The surgery went well, and I was released five days later. The Lord saved my life in that two-week period reminding me that He has a plan for my life, but I still didn’t hear Him. I went back to my usual routine thinking that I was fulfilling the Lord’s plan.
At this point I settled into a comfortable life, work 40 hours, study Scripture and Apologetics, and teach at church, the whole time believing I was making progress in my God led ministry. A few years went by, and I was complacent in what I was doing; and thought I was following the Lord’s plan for my life… I was very mistaken. I felt an unrest, and it seemed I was trying to swim in quicksand; I kept trying to move but only ended up where I started. I was convinced I needed to change jobs (it’s amazing what we can think we need when we stop listening to God’s voice).
In 2011 I took a job to turn around / run a manufacturing company. It was a challenging and stressful experience and took its toll on my health. I was constantly having chest pains, acid reflux, asthma, and I would cough until I vomited. I knew I had to get out of that job but did nothing to make that happen.
In October 2014 the Lord decided to step in. On October 1, 2014, I had a violent sneezing attack right before leaving work. I left work shortly after the sneezing stopped; within a few minutes, my vision blurred and in a few minutes more I had double vision (kind of alarming…). Fortunately, in about 10 or 15 minutes the double vision ceased. I picked up my wife from work, and we went to church for my class. My vision was impaired a little, but I didn’t think anything of it. The next morning I had an appointment with my pain physician (continuing neck problems), and I described to him what it happened. He told me to get to the hospital immediately (and offered to call an ambulance) because it sounded like I may have had a stroke. I laughed it off and went home. That was a mistake.
After being home for about an hour, I had a severe headache, and my vision doubled a second time. I drove myself to the hospital (by the way I do not recommend anyone ever do that, it was foolish) and explained I thought I was having a stroke. After getting to the hospital, my status was rapidly deteriorating, increased headache, slurred speech, and diminished control of the limbs on my right side. After a clear CT scan, the doctors didn’t think I was having a stroke. Soon after returning from the CT scan I had an MRI. Through all of this, I received multiple injections for the pain, so the physicians assumed my worsened condition was from the morphine. Fortunately, my wife knows me well enough to know when I’m under medication. She convinced the doctors that the symptoms were not from medication, so they administered an injection of Narcan (a drug used to reverse the effects of opiates). There was there was no change in my behavior or mental status which finally convinced the doctors I was likely having a stroke.
One of the standard medications used for strokes is tPA (a drug used to dissolve blood clots); the neurologist told my wife I was outside the treatment window and advised against it. My wife insisted (rather strongly) that they try the medication, the neurologist finally tried tPA with no change in behavior or mental status. They finally received the MRI results which confirmed I had a stroke on the left side of my brain. It seems that the sneezing broke loose a blood clot from my carotid artery. They immediately notified the interventional radiologist to come to the hospital as he was on call. He performed surgery a few hours later and removed a blockage out of my carotid artery as well as my brain. When I woke, I had a significant deficit on my right side, and my speech was impaired. We were told not to have high hopes for recovery as the amount of time I had the blood clot was excessive. Fortunately, I regained most of the use of my right side and speech. I still have deficits – weakness, balance, pain, and aphasia, but I am blessed more than most. God again stepped in, and this time, I would listen. I honestly believe that this is God’s way of pointing me in the direction that he wants me to go; even after I’ve been so stubborn and pigheaded.
Since that day in October of 2014 I have had multiple strokes – affecting eleven areas of my brain. The last stroke was Memorial Day 2015; it was a minor by all accounts. Unfortunately, the damage left me worse off than many of the others. I regressed back from the progress I made from all the previous strokes, but thanks be to God not to the deficits of the first stroke. Still, I cannot perform at the level required at my old job; the aphasia hasn’t resolved, my handwriting is illegible, I cannot type (using dictation software), or drive (the deficit and spacial issues prevent me from working the gas and brake as well steering), traveling is a problem, and I am in constant pain. To make matters worse I was terminated from my job because I missed too much time and had no idea if or when I could return (which turned out to be a blessing). As the General Manager, I was needed and could not be out for an indeterminate amount of time, someone had to be there run the company, I have no issue with that. Frankly, if the roles were reversed I would do the same thing. What upset me was the tone of the termination letter and lack of compassion by the parent company that I find disheartening. That said, I believe losing this job is a good thing. I was in a bad situation far too long, and it was having a negative effect on my life.
When I awoke after the first stroke, my wife said three things: first, I love you; second, you (I) will be fine; and third, we are moving to Arizona – the place we both wanted to live. It took a little over a year to get our affairs in order: physical therapy, pain therapy, selling our home, etc. We moved to Sun City West, AZ on December 7, 2015. In January of this year (2016), we found a great home church. Although I took the road less traveled to get here; I wouldn’t change a thing.
While I would like to update the site every couple of days, the strokes have diminished my ability to do so. That said, I’m excited to begin traveling this road leaving it all to the Lord and working at His pace. I will update this site as often as possible, sharing my love for Apologetics, Scripture, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that this site is useful and that you come along with me for this ride.
Thank you and may “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24–26, ESV)