Please Pray For My Family

The past five weeks have been some of the most challenging weeks our family has faced. Five weeks ago my wife Sandra found an enlarged lymph node on her neck. She went to our family doctor who quickly sent her for a CT scan and for a biopsy. I wasn’t truly concerned because I honestly didn’t think it was anything serious. We went through the steps we needed to take to rule out what we believed to be impossible. We waited for the results hoping and praying for a good result. For reasons we will never fully know the results we were looking for never came. On November 6 the doctor who did the biopsy called Sandra and told her she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There are few feelings that match the feeling when you first hear that you have or someone you love has Cancer.

The hardest part of knowing you have cancer is what you don’t know. To not think to far into the future or to keep from constructing worst case scenario is a daily battle. We have since been on a journey to understand what Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is and what is the best way to treat it. We meet with Sandra’s Oncologist a couple weeks later who told us we were facing 4 to 6 months of Chemo with possible radiation. We contacted a few close friends and family to pray. We went back last week and it confirmed through a PET Scan that she has Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The good news is this is very treatable it has a 95% rate of recovery. We met with the Oncologist last week to discuss treatment and the results of the PET scan. He told us that the Lymphoma was very early stage, limited in size and located only in two places, as a result, she would only need three months of chemo and no radiation. This was a definite answer to prayer.  If she is cancer free at the end of three months of treatment she is done. If she still has cancer cells at the end of three months she will have to have another month of chemo followed by radiation. Please join us in praying that there will be no cancer remaining after three months.

We believe that God is a healer. We also understand that God uses means. He can and does heal miraculously but most often does so through doctors and over time. We also know that one day He is coming back to make all the sad things of this world untrue. Cancer is one of those things. We don’t understand why but we trust the one who does know, because the God that we serve is not safe but He’s good. We are already seeing God at work in big ways and small ways. There are few things that clarify what matters most than facing your own mortality. There are few things more difficult for a husband than to be utterly helpless to take away what is causing the person he loves more than anything in the world so much pain. In the midst of this trial we have much to rejoice over and much to be thankful for. We each have such amazing faith-filled families. We have a church that is truly a family the support we have felt already is deeply humbling to say the least. When I reflect as I write these words on all the blessings God has placed in our life I am overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed by friends I don’t deserve, by a family that is so precious to me, by my need for daily Grace, and by a Savior who loves a wrench like me.

What we ask of you is pray with us to believe God with us for Sandra’s healing. Here is what you can pray:

  1. Sandra’s healing.
  2. Strength for Sandra as she goes through chemo that she will be strong and be unaffected by side effects.
  3. That at the end of three months of treatment there will be no cancer alive in her body
  4. For our kids – That God will be with them and guard their hearts in this time that as we walk this out as a family that we will rejoice together and weep together. That as a result of this trial Christ will become infinitely more precious to them.
  5. Pray for Sandra and me that when the waves of doubt crash on the shores of our hearts we will keep our eyes fixed upon Christ.

Thank you so much for your prayers, support and friendship if you want more information or want to help in anyway we ask that you not feel any pressure to do so, your prayers are what we covet most. If you want to keep updated I will do that on my blog the link is below if you want to reach out in any way I have also included links for you to do that. Thanks again we love you.

Sorrowful yet always rejoicing,
The Luce Family


To keep up to date on Sandra’s condition this link has the latest http://samluce.com/category/sandra-update/

If you would like to send a note or would like to offer to help in any way a friend of ours will be replying to the email address we have set up which is [email protected]

If you would like to send card our address is
14 Charles St. Herkimer NY 13350

If you would like to give you can do it through a site a family member created. Here is the link

Never Waste A Crisis

Machiavelli first said, “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.” Winston Churchill popularized Machiavelli by saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste” Republicans and Democrats differ on many things one thing they both agree on is more power and more influence is better than less. A crisis therefore, allows politicians to consolidate power and expand influence. To use their strength to grow stronger by preying on the weaknesses of others. A crisis is an opportunity for them to boast in their strength.

For the Christian the idea of not wasting a crisis is altogether different, rather than projecting strength at the expense of others you boast in your weakness. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that as Christians, servants of God we commend ourselves not in our self-confidence not in our success but actually in our weakness.

You Don’t Need To Be Theologian To Teach Kids.

In my last post I made the case for systematic theology and why kids need it. I know many of you might be thinking that there is no way that you could teach your kids systematic theology because you don’t really even understand it yourself. Take heart you are not alone. The good news for you is there are many resources that are now available to help your kids and you understand the basic framework of our faith.

Theology is something that is scary for many parents as many of them were never taught theology because much of it was assumed when they were kids. Their parents assumed they understood things about God. The most important thing about our kids is what they think about God. Because that’s true we can leave nothing to chance.

So where do we start. I would not start with Systematic Theology for kids under 6 or 7 for them I would read them books that tell the large story of God as a Redeemer. To do that I would recommend the following books

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The Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

 

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The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

Once kids have an understanding of the big picture of scripture the parts will make sense. When your kids are between 7 and 8 I would working through a systematic theology with them. There are three that I would recommend this list is by no means exhaustive. I have broken them up into younger, slightly older and older again this is for connivance what is important is you find what works for you family and do that.

Youngest

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Everything a Child Should Know about God by Kenneth Taylor

Young

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The Ology by Marty Machowski

Older Elementary

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Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware

Teens

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Bible Doctrine: Essential Teaching of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem

 

3 Reasons Why Kids Need Systematic Theology

I know what you are thinking “Isn’t that a bit much for kids?” 50 years ago I would have agreed with you even 20 years ago. Today is a different day.  There are many reasons for this, but I think DA Carson’s analysis is most concise in this matter. He says,”One generation knows the gospel the next assumes the gospel the third generation denies the gospel.”

When I was growing up as a kid, and I believe even my first few years as a children’s pastor we lived in a season where the gospel was assumed. As a kid, there were no sports or school activities on Wednesday night so kids could go to youth group. Stores were closed on Sunday so people could spend time with family and observe the Sabbath. We lived in a culture that Christian ideas thoughts and standards for better or worse pervaded our country.  In the south, this is still true to some extent. I think the feeling when I was growing up was that you didn’t need to give kids as deep of a grounding in doctrine and truth because it was everywhere. There was stuff you learned for sure, but I think many things were assumed. As parents and as pastors we can no longer assume anything. We live in arguably the most secular age our country has ever seen. We must proactively teach our kids the stories of the Bible but also the truth underneath the stories and most importantly the person to whom those truths and stories point.

That is the context for why we need to teach our kids systematically here are a few reasons why it matters.

Gone but not forgotten.

Most leaders if they are honest will tell you one of their biggest fears is they would give their life and energy to someone or something only to be forgotten once they move on. I have thought about this a lot lately what will people take away from your contribution to your church, family, field.

Here are a few random thoughts I have been thinking and praying over.

1. When I leave a conversation do people think I am important or did I make them feel important

2. The people you poured into will always outlast anything you build.