Dear Family & Friends,
Having used my Ka Nalu and Worship Bulletin article several times in the past months to share how our battle with my stage 4 pancreatic cancer relates to our walk with the Lord, I’ve found I need the space in those articles to highlight the activities and ministries of the church. So… I’ve decided to take a step of faith into the world of Blogging! My desire is not to have a large “following.” Rather, for those we’re connected to be it family or the family of God, I desire to use this blog to point people to Jesus, from the lessons Dee and I learn from Him on this journey. So here goes!
December 3rd, the doctor’s pronouncement of pancreatic cancer led us down a road that had previously been shrouded in mystery. We now appreciate so much more the challenges and countless decisions cancer patients are constantly confronted with, in addition to the emotional trials and physical suffering that members of our family and church family have quietly braved without complaint. These folks deserve our love, encouragement, help and prayers. It would have been lonely and so much more difficult without yours and for that, we’re grateful.
One of the choices we’ve had to make along the way related to diet. We’ve received a multitude of recommendations and a number of gifts of nutrients, food and supplements from caring, well-intentioned friends. We’ve appreciated each, and have sometimes been able to incorporate these into our diet. We’ve received mixed counsel from doctors, all the way from “eat anything you want; just eat” to “some foods are known to feed cancer; avoid sugars, fried foods, red meat, unhealthy fats and dairy.” Dee has done a good deal of reading, and we’ve been seeing a well-known local doctor who specializes in cancer related diet.
As a result, we’ve migrated in the past several weeks to a largely plant-based vegetarian diet, supplemented with seeds, nuts and nut butters for “good fat”, and some fish with occasional chicken. The “stuff” Dee has been cooking is not the kinds of foods I thought I’d ever be caught eating. A lifetime of rejecting foods that don’t taste good and consuming those I like have conditioned me to a lifestyle largely devoid of what most would consider “healthy.” Oh, I’ve accepted and regularly eaten some foods that aren’t “too bad”, like green salads, green beans, broccoli, avocados, peas and the sort, usually eating them first to get them out of the way.
But this diet has incorporated items like kale (salads and baked), Brussels sprouts, eggplant, spinach, asparagus, arugula, flax seeds, plant-based protein, lentil soups and the like.
Prior to this, junk food was everywhere, including new “delicacies” daily in our Kaimuki Christian Church office:
Here’s the amazing thing: As I’ve eaten these foods, I’ve discovered that I can more easily tolerate some I’d thought intolerable, and I’ve learned to enjoy some I thought were just plain nasty! I realized during dinner last night that my tastes have changed, that I have a new appreciation for these foods.
Not only that: Some foods I used to enjoy hold no appeal to me now, some because they simply don’t taste as good as they used to, and some because I want to live and know these “junk foods” will kill me. That’s good motivation. Changing my eating habits has required discipline, but my discipline has turned to desire!
How do changing eating habits relate to following Jesus? When we come to Christ, many of us have already developed our “diet” when it comes to consuming. This diet may be reading junk articles, blogs or books or reading hardly anything at all! We come to Christ and hear we should read the Bible, but our attempts (if we’ve not been in a Discovery Class) leave us confused. It doesn’t “taste” good, so we continue to “eat” what we have in the past. We hear that prayer is vital to developing a relationship with the Lord. Our habit of prayer in the past may have been crying out to God when we’re in trouble, but rarely ever just conversing with our Heavenly Friend. We’ve not seen prayer as a two-way relationship in which we share our hearts with Him and learn to listen to His voice. So we continue in prayerlessness… unless we hit a crisis. Church attendance B.C. was sporadic and we only went when we felt like it. Joining a Small Group or serving in some capacity were a low on our priority list, taking a back seat to our plans or the endless activities we’ve enrolled our kids in, so we connect with other believers only when we feel like it or deem them convenient. Does any of this ring a bell?
If we come to the realization these Christian disciplines aren’t punishments, but rather the path to vibrant, joyful living, to the “abundant life” Jesus offers, we may become open to changing our diet. If so, we’ll need someone to help us, to select the “foods” that will nurture us and show us how to prepare these foods, be it Bible reading, prayer or any of the other disciplines. As we gradually change our “diet”, we soon discover that these new “foods” really are tasty! We’ll also realize that the “foods” we once thought were indispensible no longer seem attractive, some because they simply don’t taste as good as they used to, and some because we want to live and know these “junk foods” will kill us spiritually.
That’s good motivation. Changing our spiritual “eating” habits will require discipline, but if we persevere, we’ll see our discipline has turned to desire!
Grace to You,
P.S. Don't forget to pass out Easter Invitations.
6:30 Sonrise Service: Pastor Nofo will be sharing the message, entitled, "Lessons from the Empty."
8:30 & 10:30 Easter Services, Pastor Marie will share a story with our keiki and I'm excited to share a brief Easter message I've entitled "Rumors of a Resurrection."