Sunday, August 27, 2006

And we're home...

We got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and got a call from the doctor last night confirming what they had suspected - that Kale's meningitis was from a common virus that would take its course and get out of his system without any damage. Kale is continuing to eat well (he's already over 11 lbs.), and we are all extremely glad to be home. Kade went with me to church this morning at Pflugerville, and he was glad to get out of the house for a while. We are now praying that we have some time to adjust to three at home before we move to Round Rock in October. Thanks again to everyone for helping us get through the last week - your love and encouragement were tremendous.

By the way - did you see the article in the Austin paper today that says that high school football coaches around the state make an average of $31,000 more a year than equally tenured and qualified teachers? As both of my parents are educators, I've heard my fair share of speeches on this throughout the years - you have any thoughts on this?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We're Headed Home...

...thanks for your prayers! We just got word from the doctor that everything has come back negative (including the HSV virus test) and that we are going to be able to leave later today to come home! This means that Kale has a weaker strain of virus that he will defeat by himself. We are so thankful for the good report & looking forward to getting home with our new son (again). Just be praying for Kamden (our 17 month old) who is still throwing up at home as he tries to get over this same bug. Thanks so much. We give glory and thanks to God for His grace on our family. Blessings...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kale Update...

The 24-hr & 36-hr results on the bacterial culture came back negative which is a praise. We are waiting for the 48-hr culture results tonight before they totally rule out bacterial meningitis. If they rule out any kind of bacterial infection, then we are for sure dealing with a viral meningitis. In that case, they will discontinue the antibiotics & continue the anti-viral medicine. The anti-viral medicine is for one serious strain of virus that they are testing for (that test comes back tomorrow). If the test tomorrow is negative, then we are most likely dealing with a common virus that Kale will fight off by himself, and we will probably come home Saturday evening late or Sunday. Continue to pray that all the tests come back with good reports & that we don't all go crazy in this little hospital room. Also please pray for the rest of my family at home (my mom and the other two boys). I know Kade and Kamden are not sure what is going on and why Mom and Dad are not home. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We need your prayers... we got a shock when our newborn Kale was sent to the ER at Children's Hospital Austin by his pediatrician for running a high fever. When we arrived downtown, the medical team at Children's Hospital took all kinds of fluids from our 10-day old son, including spinal fluid. They are always suspicious of meningitis when a newborn has a high fever, and this turned out to be the correct diagnosis for Kale. His spinal fluid was infected (the initial tests show), and now the only question is whether he has viral or bacterial meningitis. We are praying that he has the viral form (which is the easier to fight off), but the doctors are treating him for the bacterial just in case. We will get the full results from the cultures tomorrow & should know what exactly we are dealing with. Best case scenario, we will be out of here by Friday night or Saturday morning. Please pray that Kale's body will quickly heal from this serious infection in his spinal fluid and that he has no long-term damage.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Intense Evening...

...and not just because of a screaming newborn. One of our friends from Ovilla, Kurt McBride, works for the Midlothian Police Department. Kurt is a former Marine, and one of the leaders of the regional SWAT team that gets called out for major law enforcement issues. Well, one of those happened last night in Midlothian, as a 25-yr-old guy decided to barricade himself in his apartment with a gun. Police showed up to investigate a window that had been broken by a bullet in the apartment complex. When they approached the apartment of the shooter, he opened fire and hit three police officers and one state trooper. As the stand-off began, Kurt's team was called in. Many of Kurt's friends were praying for his safety last night as they faced this dangerous situation. The officers went into the apartment around 11:00 PM last night and found that the guy had committed suicide. The four officers who were shot are in good condition, and Kurt is unharmed. Dangerous world we live in, huh? Midlothian is a small Ellis County town. And I know this will shock that little community. Let's pray that there will be godly men and women who point people to Christ during this time. Here's the Dallas Morning News link HERE for the whole story.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Book Review: The Present Future

Reggie McNeal has written an interesting book about the challenges that the church (read Western church) must deal with as we seek to reach a post-Christian culture. His basic premise is that the church must reclaim its missionary status and wake up from its denial about the state of American culture today. He makes a strong case that within a few generations, this missional shift will become required, but that if we can get ahead of the curve, we can have a greater impact with the gospel in our generation. He doesn't really say anything new about becoming more missional in our culture, but simply rings the bell for existing Western churches that have become comfortable with their status and circumstances to rethink the Great Commission and how they would have to change to become more serious about reaching those far from Christ. Most of his questions have to do with what the "church" in America would look like if we were organized around missional involvement rather than ministry to the saints. The question everyone in the church must answer: if the church does not become more missional today, what will our culture look like in 30 years? Doing what we are doing now, but only better, will not reach my generation. McNeal's stats (from Thom Rainer's study) reinforce these ideas: % of each generation who can articulate evangelical faith in Jesus: 65% - builders, 35% - boomers, 15% - busters, 4% - bridgers. I am a church planter primarily because of my understanding of God's call on my life, but also because of the lack of missionary zeal in established churches (and my lack of patience with slow change that comes in redirecting the Titanic), and so I needed no convincing that the challenges that McNeal raises are for real. Rather, I need more insights into what a missional church really looks like. How do we structure staff and elders and ministries so that people are not required to spend all their free time at the church but being the church in the community? This is not just a question of theology, but a question of practicality. McNeal adds some thoughts about raising missionary awareness in our congregations and releasing God's people into missionary service, but as I'm sure he has seen few churches doing this well, he adds few details. I appreciated that his book is not about solutions, but really about raising questions - and from that angle, he is completely successful. He gave me some great thoughts in helping to explain my own zeal for the missional church to others in the church.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Congrats to Paul...

Since I never thought he would actually get married (ha!), I have to take time on my blog to say a quick congratulations to Paul Williamson, the children's minister at FBOvilla who recently got engaged to Anna, his sweetheart. While the Hallams and us have known that they were destined to be together since 2004, we are thankful that Paul and Anna finally came around to see our wisdom. Paul sent out the announcement by email today to everyone, so I'm guessing the families have put their stamp of approval on this wonderful couple. From my inside sources, it is with much fear and trembling (& prayer) that Dwight & Gwynne have given their blessing to Anna's choice in a husband. They finally decided to get on board after learning that Paul had spent so much time in our home learning what a quality marriage really looks like! All joking aside, these two are some of the best people I know, and I am so excited that Paul will have someone else to cook for him besides my wife. Praying God's best on the new couple...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Big Day At Home...

We've had a big day at home today playing as a family and getting to know life with three kiddos. Kade is all about his younger brother and wants to spend lots of time loving on him and hugging him (we have to make sure he doesn't squish him with hugs :0). Kamden is not really sure what has happened to his world as the baby - he likes to kiss on Kale, but I'm know he's confused about why mom can't pick him up right now as she recovers from delivery. But all in all, the boys are great & life has just added a whole new level of speed and complexity!

This morning, we decided to count all the money in Kade's piggy bank in order for him to buy his first bike. He's been collecting money from my pockets (and Papa's pockets) for about a year, and today we finally counted. He had almost $52! Plenty of money to get his first real bike and a spiderman helmet (thank you, Wal-Mart). You can probably guess how excited he was about life today! He only had one fall off the bike in afternoon riding (good thing the spidey helmet protected his head)!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We're home...

Since they design hospital rooms to make you claustrophobic after a few hours in order to get you out the door, we decided to pack up last night and come home. It is truly amazing how different we feel after having our third than we did having our first. We are just as excited about Kale's birth, but we have been so much more relaxed and calm through the whole process. Even the idea that we would pack up and come home after 24 hours would never have crossed our minds three years ago when Kade was born. But, anyway, we are back home - mom is resting well & recovering quickly. The older brothers are not sure what to do with their new brother & both are a little sick today. But they are fascinated by Kale, and I'm sure that they will quickly make him a member of the tough-brother club. They already seemed confused about why he won't play with them like they play with each other. But if the last three years have taught us anything, that day will be here too soon. We're enjoying every last minute. Here's a quick pic of Kale after he got cleaned up...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Announcing Kale Preston Ferguson...

Today at 3:45 PM, our third son, Kale Preston Ferguson, was born. He was a healthy 9 lbs. 11 oz. and 19 1/4 in.! Barie did great all day during labor, and she is in awesome spirits now that the baby is here. Thanks for your prayers and support. We are so thankful to God for His incredible grace on our family. He has again blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. Here are some of the first pictures before he even had his bath. He's in the nursery right now getting cleaned up, so I'll have some more pics up later...

*Mom & Dad before leaving for the hospital this morning at 6:45 AM.

*Mom & Kale share a second together after he arrives.

*Kale gets on the scales and weighs in at an amazing 9 lbs., 11 oz.

*Kale's brothers show up and want to spend time with Mommy & Kale.

*Mom & Dad finally catch a moment with their new son.

We've started...

We're at the hospital right now in Round Rock (which has free wireless access - how cool is that?). The doctor decided to go ahead and induce labor today. We should have the baby some time soon! I'll try to get pictures, etc. posted as soon as baby Kale is born. We covet your prayers today for a safe and healthy delivery and baby! Thanks for your support. Talk to you later today...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's August in Texas....

...when you have triple-degree heat in the shade.
...when the Rangers are falling apart in the summer heat in a terrible division.
...when families are finishing up vacations to get ready for school starting.
...when yards are turning shades of brown in response to lack of rain.
...when waterparks are always crowded with lots of kids.
...when it stays daylight way too late to get kids to go to bed on time.
...when we start dreaming about the cool weather just around the corner (in October).
...when we take a second to say thanks for all the amazing ways God worked in summer 2006.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Props for a tough sermon...

I need to give a shout-out to the pastor of HCBC Pflugerville, Danny Box, for delivering a really good sermon on a really tough topic today, the use of the sign gifts in the church today. I'm pretty sure that this is the only time in my life as a Christian that I have heard a sermon on this topic. Danny's message today was another good reminder for me about why preaching expositionally is so important (he's preaching through 1 Corinthians) - it forces us to cover topics we might otherwise never choose to preach. You can hear his sermon HERE. Also, since I believe the pastor needs to be the chief theologian for the church, I was glad to hear a pastor step up to the plate and tackle a tough theological issue with authority, sincerity, and love. While this type of sermon doesn't lend itself easily to life-application (and therefore wouldn't be healthy for a long-term diet), it does help the people in the church to think biblically and theologically about their use of the spiritual gifts. Rock on...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Is Anybody the Real Deal?

Several items in the news cycle this last few weeks have reminded me why people are so jaded and cynical about anyway who claims moral authority or integrity. We read about sports athletes who cheat or politicians who steal or ministers who are sexually immoral or greedy, and we wonder with everyone else, is anyone the real deal? I have thought for many years that what I crave (and what I think most people crave) is authenticity from their leaders. They desire to follow people who are the same with every audience they come in contact with - people of integrity who do what they say they are going to do and actually believe what they proclaim. People who call us to greater heights not just with their lips but with their lives. I want the world to know that those kind of people exist - I am working with many of them right now. But I understand that the battle for trust and credibility in our culture today takes time. And so I pray for more leaders who are honest about their faults and who lead from a position of authenticity instead of hypocrisy. And I pray that my life would continue to be transformed every day by the grace of Jesus so that those who follow my leadership would be able to say with confidence, he's the real deal.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

End of the Spear

Barie and I watched the movie tonight called End of the Spear. It is the film about the impact of the 5 missionaries who gave their lives in the Ecuadorian jungle in the 1950s in order to take the gospel to one of the indigenous tribes in the region called the Woudani. The film centers around Nate Saint, the missionary pilot, because it was Nate sister, Rachel, who ended up spending her life with the Woudani people and seeing their whole tribal life transformed by the power of the gospel. Before this tribe was introduced to the Lord and His Word, they were killing each other at an unprecedented rate, risking the elimination of the entire tribe. But after the efforts of the five missionaries & their families in the 1950s and Rachel Saint's lifetime of work, the tribe found new life in Jesus Christ. Nick Saint's son, Steve Saint, moved his family from the US to live with the Woudani in 1995 after his aunt Rachel died of cancer. The film is a riveting and emotional retelling of this famous story, and one that needs to be retold frequently to remind us of the sacrifice required to take the gospel to every people group on the planet.