A Special Word from Pastor John

Sunday, July 31 Will Be A Blessing

Greetings Everyone!

Well, as you've likely heard by now, I have Shingles. Last Sunday evening, my shoulder began really aching. Then my back. I assumed I had lifted or carried something poorly on my trip to Rhode Island. It got progressively worse until, Wednesday morning during the YMCA Bible Study, I became very concerned that I might be having a heart attack. My doctor made room for me immediately and the heart was ruled out. But there were other symptoms that concerned him. I ended up having a whole battery of tests done. In addition, he gave me a topical analgesic to help with the Tylenol I was already taking. Friday morning, I woke up to severe redness in all the areas where I had been putting the ointment. Conclusion: on top of everything else, I was allergic to the meds! But shortly after that, the blisters showed up. Kathryn took pictures with my phone and I sent them to the doctor. Confirmed -- SHINGLES! Thankfully, that explains all the symptoms I have been having.

For those who don't know, Shingles are an adult recurrence of Chicken Pox. The Chicken Pox virus never leaves your body. It takes up residence in your nerve pathways and lays dormant. No one really knows what causes it to erupt again, but mine is in the nerve path across my left scapula, arm pit and upper left chest. The nerve pain is intense -- and because of it's location, I feel like I'm having a heart attack.  Thankfully, the heart is not involved.

Shingles itself is not contagious. But if someone has not had Chicken Pox, contact with my rash can give it to them. It's particularly nasty for pregnant ladies and the immunocompromised, and we have many of both in the YMCA family.  So I'm electing to stay home this Sunday, July 31, even though I'm not a danger to most (if not all) of you.  I'm on anti-viral meds, and they are now beginning to address the intense pain I've had the last several days. The rash is large -- but the number of actual blisters is small and we expect I'll be back to a normal routine in a few days. I so appreciate your prayers!

I am so grateful for the wonderful growth of our "bench" at Palmwood Church.  With one text, I had the pulpit covered. I am grateful to our brother, Greg Cole, for stepping in at the last moment.  He will actually be finishing our series, What Does The Bible Say About Hell?, with the planned message, "Hell Is A Choice." Please thank him tomorrow for doing this!  Then, next Sunday I'll launch our new series, Joyfully Pressing Toward the Goal, on Philippians where I'll be tag-teaming with Rose Rogers, Danny Eshcol, Jake Auerbach and Greg Cole all the way until Advent! This is going to be an awesome time in the Word -- and we all get to watch as God grows these servants toward their respective callings!

Our growing bench also includes additions to our worship team. It has been so cool to see the addition of Callie Newport, James Trent and the expanded participation of Danny and Ritu Eshcol. Stephen has to be away this weekend, so Danny will be stepping in to lead us into the Throne Room. Again, thank him for his help.

The Enemy of our Souls has been very active in the last week trying to impede what God is doing through the Palmwood Church Family. I'm not going to spend much time here on the topic, but I think we'll be talking more in the near future because the more fruitful and kingdom-expanding our church family becomes, the greater the threat to the king of darkness. We need not fear. He cannot overcome us. But he can throw roadblocks in our way as he has the last 7 days. We address this primarily in prayer. I entreat you to join me in praying with your God-given authority for the church, it's ministry in the YMCA, our leaders, our church family, and for the various ways God is expanding his kingdom territory through us right now. Greater is He who is in you than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

For those who have not seen it yet, here is a reminder of the way to pray in your Kingdom Authority. PRAYING WITH KINGDOM AUTHORITY.

I'll miss being with you tomorrow -- but I'll be online watching!  See you soon.


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