Friday, December 18, 2015

Proud not upset about Blaine High School

I just became aware today of a controversy brewing because the Blaine High School choir sang a song at their concert this past Thursday that had Arabic words, including the phrase “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great.” 

The title of the article on the web site is: “Parents Question Choice To Sing ‘Allahu Akbar’ At Holiday Concert.”

As a parent of a Blaine high school 9th grader I don’t question this choice at all.  Singing a song at a choir concert is not an endorsement of a religion. The choir concert is obviously not a religious worship service.  For me singing this song is an issue of respect.  My daughter doesn’t sing in the choir, but I would have been proud to have her sing this song.  Have we become so insecure that we can't sing a song about our Muslim friends?

As a pastor of a church in Blaine I'm proud that the Blaine High school choir sings songs from different religious traditions. Our Muslim friends are sisters and brothers in faith.  Our lineage goes back to Abraham.  I don’t feel threatened by our Muslim friends at all.  In fact I believe that Jesus is smiling about what happened at the choir concert.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Hannah Moore!

What a privilege it is to be this now young woman's father.  Happy Birthday, Hannah Louise Moore.

Hannah was born in the middle of a snow storm at Rochester Methodist Hospital at 10:38 a.m. on December 16, 2000.  She was nine days late from her due date--and certainly worth the waiting.  The waiting reminds me of the Advent season--as we wait to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  I had moments when I didn't think she would ever arrive.  When the doctor held her up for the first time I actually couldn't believe she had finally arrived.

Hannah has grown into a tender, sweet, mature young woman.  She is fiercely protective of her friends.  Her phone is the vehicle of her connections, and its use reveals the intensity of her interactions.

One of my favorite memories of Hannah this last year was her last tennis match.  She had played doubles for the entire year, but for this last match her coach allowed her to play singles.  Hannah literally galloped over the court, running down shots with an ease that surprised all of us.  Her happiness beamed from her spirit; her light was shining.

After my heart surgery I'm planning on doing much more running with Hannah.  My goal is a half-marathon for 2016; I'll let Hannah choose her own goal.  Running besides a woman with long legs will not be easy--but it will be a pleasure and privilege that this father looks forward to savoring.

Happy 15th birthday, Hannah.  You literally bring joy to every day of our lives!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Health News

I have news to share.  I am going to be having surgery to replace the aortic valve of my heart with a mechanical valve on Tuesday, December 29 at University Hospital in Minneapolis.

If you are surprised by this news—believe me—your surprise is nothing compared to the shock I experienced when I learned of this condition on Friday, December 4.    

Let me share some context.

I am a runner.  I’ve run two marathons; a half marathon; many 10K’s.  Early in 2015 I started experiencing chest pains at the start of my running.  This led me to talk with my doctor.  I did a stress test, an EKG, a chest X-ray, some other tests and an echo-cardiogram in July.  Everything seemed to be fine.

However In September my running capacity was severely diminished.  I could only run one mile without stopping to walk.  One day while I was running I was in so much pain that I needed to lie down on the grass on the side of the road.  This led me back to my doctor.  He referred me to a Cardiologist.

Last Friday, December 4 the Cardiologist shared with me that I have a bicuspid aortic valve.  I’ve probably had this since birth.  This valve has severely narrowed meaning I needed surgery.  He also shared that if I didn’t have the surgery within a year that I would be at high risk to pass away.

Today I had an appointment with a surgeon at University Hospital.  I felt very comfortable with him, and I decided to let him do the surgery which will be Tuesday, December 29.

While I was waiting to see the surgeon today I felt a wave of anxiety.  So I sent out a message on my Facebook page for prayers.  And wow!!  I know that people were praying because my anxiety diminished, and I was able to make a plan in which I have high confidence.

The surgery is serious, but I am a very low-risk candidate.   I am young, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and am decent physical shape.  The survival rate for is over 99%.  I will be on blood thinner for the rest of my life.  My prayer is I’ll never need another heart surgery again.

I will probably be in the hospital for a week and then recover at home for another two to five weeks.  Tonight the Steering Committee at Chain of Lakes set in motion a plan to provide pastoral coverage to our congregation until I can come back.

In a way I feel very, very fortunate.  If hadn’t been a runner it is quite possible this condition wouldn’t have presented itself.  I am healthy; I have a terrific support system of family, friends, and church; I have a world-class surgeon; and I have health insurance.

And most importantly God is very present.  I have great faith that God will use this situation for something special.

Happy to answer any questions, talk on the phone, answer E-mails or texts, or do whatever else I can.

Please say prayers.  I will continue to share updates on this blog

Monday, December 7, 2015

Music Director at Chain of Lakes Church

Chain of Lakes is hiring a new Music Director. This person will have the opportunity to continue the excellent ministry of music that already takes place. And this person will have the opportunity to share the music ministry at our new congregation. Check out a picture of the Job Description below. The Job Description is also on the Chain of Lakes web site at Interested folks can E-mail me a resume at or call our office at 763-208-8049.