Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blog Reminder

Just a reminder that I'm only updating the one blog now. Also, we're headed back out to Houston for more medical/surgical fun.

>>>>>>>CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS<<<<<<<<<<<<

(The new blog is "" fyi)

Thanks so much for your prayers & concerns!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have new medical news. In the interest of my sanity, I'll only update the one blog for now.

GO >>>HERE<<< for more news. (Click "here")

THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS!! Please keep 'em coming.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Next Houston Trip is at hand...

For more details see >>my other blog<< (click on "my other blog")

Thanks much for caring & for praying!!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Just a reminder...

...that I've transferred over to my other blog, (Thus, this is also an invitation!)

Click >>>here<<< to get there.

Be forewarned, though, that I occasionally bloviate there about things in addition to medical things...*grin*.

Thanks for reading, and especially for praying!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm still here!

But now I'm over here.

Come on in! The water's fine!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So, here's what I'm thinking...

...this blog is called "pray for Mike."

Naturally, I'll take all the prayers I can get, even when I don't have my neck in the cancer noose. *smile* (And btw, we all need to be men & women of prayer even when the road is relatively smooth).

However, this site was created to update any interested parties on my medical situation. Now that my medical situation has stabilized a bit (praise God!!) I'm planning to head back over to my "regular" blog for my continued musings/ramblings. It's found here, should you be interested. Come on over & dive in with me; the water's great! *grin*

Before stepping away from here though, I will never ever be able to come close to repaying all of the prayers, encouraging words, acts of service, monetary gifts, and such that have come our way. And that's just the ones that we know about. Only God knows every prayer offered on our behalf. Only He knows the source of the anonymous donations as well as the known donations.

From the very depths of my soul, THANK YOU!! You have made a difference in the life of the Madaris family this year. May God, Who sees in secret, repay you many times over. Be blessed, my friends.

And to a writer...or even a writer wannabe like myself!...there is not a greater feeling than just knowing one's words are being read. Thank you for blessing my heart by reading here. Hope to see you over on the beach! (

In His Grip,

p.s. - I'm not closing this one down; only God knows when medical stuff will arise again. But I'll be found over @ the other site.

p.p.s. - I view you, my friends, as Paul viewed Onesiphorous ("On-e-si-four-us"):

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)

The Wonder of Theology

A while back, I wrote about how we "outsource" our theology & theological ponderings to pastors & favorite writers. *raises hand* Guilty! Studying the Word and thinking deeply about what we find there is difficult at times. Oh, sure, the stuff about the amazing love of God is tremendous and sits lightly on our souls. (In fact, one could argue that we spend far too little time & thought pondering God's love for us...but that's another post for another day). But there are parts of the Word...and of a biblical understanding of God & His dealings with us...that are challenging to get our minds around. So, all too often, we consign such things to the "pros"--pastors & favorite writers--and don't really bother. As Chesterton said, "the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

And then the clouds form and storms rise, and we find out just what our theological foundation really is worth, and how much (or little...*clears throat*) we have invested in developing it.

At the risk of embarrassing 2 great ladies, let me illustrate this point by stating that these 2 invested much in understanding God and His Word in the sunshine of their lives. Thus, when the mighty, terrifying storms of sudden widowhood broke, their theological foundation stood and the anchor held (to quote the old Gospel song). Sure, they grieved...they still grieve. They asked questions. They did...they do...all the "normal" things one would expect in that situation. But in the midst of that particular storm that overpowers many, they are standing strong and demonstrating to all of us the great value of nailing down the difficult parts of one's own theology. Thanks, Mom & Stephanie, for challenging the rest of us by your lives to be theologians. Neither of these 2 ladies would say she has all the answers! There are some questions that will have no answer this side of glory. But they have some good answers that have carried them thus far and will--I'm totally confident--lead them home.

So, how's your theology these days? And how's the work on it coming along?

One of the great theologians of our time is Dr. Wayne Grudem. I had the amazing privilege of taking a class from him at Campus Crusade's summer staff training a few years ago. Dr. Grudem has written an amazing work of Systematic Theology. Great, great depth, combined with a devotional feel to it. Highly recommended. Anyway, his wife battled with one of those debilitating illnesses (fibromyalgia, I think) for years. (Aside: he changed jobs because the move would likely improve her health...there's "headship" for you, guys; would you do that? Alter the trajectory of your entire career and move across the country away from your friends & from the familiar just to improve your wife's health? Too convicting; let's move on...) Imagine watching your spouse fight pain and illness for years on end and know there's nothing you can do about it. And yet, there he was, taking time out of his summer to teach a bunch of amateur theologian-wannabes about the doctrines of God. I'll never forget the experience. Oh sure, some of the teaching answered some of my own theological ponderings and gave me much to chew on. But here's the thing...class after class, difficult concept after difficult concept, he would do a few things. Teach with excellence and clarity, but also he would always refer us to the Bible (not just to his own writings about the Bible). And regularly, he would stop after navigating some very deep theological waters in Scripture and say "Isn't that amazing?? I think we need to sing." Right there, on the campus of Colorado State U., we would stand and sing a hymn or a praise song that he put up on the overhead projector. Other times, he would read a passage, shake his head in amazement, and say something like "remarkable! let's pray..." And he would lead us in a time of prayer of thanksgiving that our God has chosen to reveal truth to hammerheads like us (my words there).

And then there's Paul, who wrote more books in the New Testament than anyone. One of Paul's remarkable letters that covers some very tough ground is the book of Romans. Basically, you have 11 chapters of very deep theology, followed by 5 chapters of very practical application. But I want to emphasize the hinge...the connection between deep theology and practical outworking of one's faith. Notice the end of chapter 11, which itself ends 3 chapters of very deep pondering the sovereignty of God. Here's the great Apostle's summary of 11 chapters of incredible theology:

33 "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! " 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen"

Catch that? Deep theological pondering brings forth this eruption of praise! Far, far from the oft-stated criticism of in depth study ("well, if we study too much, we'll reduce God to an academic subject and lessen His glory somehow..."), Paul's in depth study results in a combination of deep truth and of amazed praise. It's as if he's so blown away by what he knows and by what he doesn't that his humanity can't contain it, so it spills over into praise. So should our Bible study today...

But then, notice the very next verse. And remember, chapters & verses are later additions. This was a letter written to some folks he longed to visit, and he didn't write in chapters & verses! The next thought Paul has after "who has known the mind of the Lord" and "to him be glory forever" is this:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Catch that? The word "therefore"...what's it there for? Paraphrasing, "Therefore, based on these incredible theological truths...because of these deep truths, here's some very practical application..."

I'm convinced that theology always results in practical application, or else it needs further study. And that, to me, is the wonder of theology. Its very usefulness in helping us understanding life & eternity properly...its applicability to the whole of life...its usefulness outside of the Sunday School classroom or church sanctuary. Its great value to those of us who are not professional theologians.

Think of the childlike amazement of Wayne Grudem, who translates from Hebrew & Greek on the fly and can translate into multiple modern translations. Who helped create the English Standard Version of scripture (a really wonderful translation, btw). Who knows all of those big theological words and is up on all of the scholarly debates about what Scripture does (and does not) say. Who has studied and taught theology for decades. And who is still amazed by the wonder of it and is still most interested in its applicability outside of theological circles.

Some concept in the other direction. Think of the bedrock-solid faith of my Mother who has said the lifelong goodbye to three separate husbands. Again, Mom may not have all the jots & tittles of the theological categories filled in such that there are no questions (neither do I, and neither does Wayne Gruden). But her well-studied & -grounded faith is a light to all who enter its circle, and a model for those of us who seek to know how this Christianity thing handles adversity.

And finally, let me assure you that I do not have all of the theological answers to my medical situation. I have prayed, cried, asked the questions, wondered, searched,...and am at complete peace--at least most of the time--about it all. In ways that I'll surely not understand until I "stand in Him, complete" in glory, my illness is absolutely part of the plan of a loving God Who desires to magnify Himself in & through & to all of us. "From Him, and through Him and to Him are all things." (Romans 11:36) I rather doubt that I'm finished asking questions about it, in case you're wondering. And I similarly doubt I'll get decisive answers about it all this side of glory. But, as Job said, "shall I accept good from Him and not accept adversity?"

Celebrate the wonder of theology with me, won't you? For in so doing, we will be drawn ever closer to Him Who is properly both its object and the grantor of wisdom about the subject. And when that happens, we will erupt in praise with Paul.

God, forgive me for pushing Your Word and Your ways into a nice, tidy corner and leaving them there most of the time totally untouched. Grant that I would delve deeply into You at all times and not just when my way is obscured by clouds. Forgive us all for outsourcing things theological to our pastors or favorite authors. Help us say with Paul, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen." Father, may our very beings erupt in this same sort of praise and wonder and adoration regularly as we ponder daily anew Your work and Your Person. And finally, Lord, show us practical applications as we gain understanding of Your Word and Your ways. Amen.

With awe, wonder, and thanksgiving,