"Tychicus will tell you everything." Ephesians 6:21

October 15th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Satan’s key question

While preparing to share at a men’s retreat recently, I saw how a truth from Job 1 fit into what I was asked to share.  After I shared this thought, a brother asked for my notes.  I didn’t have any written out, but felt I should write something up so others could take a look.

The question Satan asks in Job 1:9 reflects one of the most important “mega-questions” anyone could ask.

The most common perspective of the book of Job generally revolves around how the righteous suffer.  Certainly, that is a major part of the story (Job was a righteous man and he suffered much!) but I am not sure that is the primary focus of its message.  Perhaps the suffering Job endured tells us more about God’s worth than about Job’s righteousness.

Here’s some background.  Job was a blameless and prosperous man.  He is described as one who “feared God and shunned evil.”  May that be said of us!  One day, Satan appeared before God.  In the conversation, Job’s name comes up.  Look at Job 1:8-11.

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  (ESV)

As a result of this brief conversation, Job suffered two rounds of absolute disaster.  First, all He had (over ten thousand head of livestock, ten children, many servants, etc.) was all destroyed.  Then, he experienced sever physical sickness and pain.  After the first round of disaster, “Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (Job 1:22)  After the second round, “Job did not sin in what he said.” (Job 2:10)

Why was Job able to go through these two terrible times and still not sin against God?  The question the evil one asked in verse 9 and the further explanation in verses 10-11 give us the answer.

Did Job fear God for no reason?  At first glance we may answer this question with a “no.”  That is, there certainly are reasons why Job feared God.  But as Satan continues to talk, we understand his question better.

The question is really an accusation.  The charge of the accuser is this: the reason Job feared God (and we could add, obeyed God, thanked God, had a relationship with God, at all) is because God protected him and blessed him.  BUT, if God took those things away from Job, Job would certainly CURSE. GOD. TO. HIS. FACE.  That is, the ONLY reason Job had a relationship with God, and the only reason anyone would have a relationship with God.  If God stopped doing those things, then HE IS NOT WORTHY to have a relationship with at all!  The accusation of the evil one is that God, in and of Himself, is not worthy to be known, walked with, followed, or loved.  The only reason anyone would follow Him is because of the “toys” He gives us.  If He were to take the “toys” away, then, surely, there is no reason to have a relationship with Him at all!

Another way to ask this question is:  “Is God worthy of a relationship because of the stuff God has given us, or is He worthy of a relationship, in and of Himself?”

The rest of the book is Job’s answer to that charge.  In essence, Job says, “I am in a relationship with God, not because He protects me from bad things, not because He gives me good things, as grateful as I am for those things.  But I walk with God because of who He is.  My walk with Him is not based upon what happens to me, but on His character and nature.”

For those of us who follow God, and have enjoyed His protection and blessing, if we are going to have an ongoing healthy walk with Him, it is essential for us to come back to this place regularly.  Is God worthy to be followed simply because He gives us good things, or because He is, in fact, good?

August 1st, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

The B I G 5 0

All days are not the same.  For me, THIS day, August 1, is different from all other days.  Today marks 50 years since I fully surrendered my life to follow Jesus!  Best decision ever!

As I grew up, there were several significant decisions I made in relationship to my walk with Jesus.  My sister reports that as early as three years old (she was 12) I prayed a prayer to ask Jesus into my heart.  Several other times, I said, and meant certain prayers during Vacation Bible School, at Sunday School, at Summer Camp, etc.  But during my high school years, I was not fully following Jesus and His ways.  I wasn’t a bad kid, just not a fully surrendered one.

When I was 19 I was asked to be a counselor at our church’s summer camp.  Because of my past experiences with camps, I thought that would be a good idea.  While there, I had to memorize the verses that the campers memorized so I could make sure they said them properly.  Some of those verses were Romans 12:1-2.

It was late on Thursday night, August 1, 1968 as I lay on my bunk pondering those verses, that I felt such wonderful conviction from the Lord.  It was so heavy on my chest that I felt if I did not respond to His invitation to “present myself as a living sacrifice” I would be pressed right through the bunk!  That was the moment that changed the entire trajectory of my earthly and eternal life!  I simply offered all of my life and future to Him.  That decision has impacted all the other decisions of my life since then.

Two days ago, I was able to take 9 of my grandkids with me back to that same camp (Mayfield Lake Youth Camp), go to the same place where that cabin stood (it is no longer there), sit on the grass, and tell them the story.  This was the last stop on our annual “Cousins’ Camp.”  We had them memorize Romans 12:1-2.  While at the camp, we repeated those verses.  My prayer for them at the time was that they would always present themselves as living sacrifices to God.  That was my prayer then, that is my prayer now.

All days are not the same.  This one is “holy.”  I call it my personal “holiday.”

Thank you, Tychicus

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June 26th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Prayin’ Around

This past month, Marilyn and I fulfilled an idea I have had for many years.  We drove the perimeter of Washington State.  When I was attending Multnomah School of the Bible (now Multnomah University) in the early 70’s, I would often drive across the Columbia River south on I-5.  At times I would think, “Ya know, it would be fun to get off at exit 1 and just drive around the state.”  The thought was never really strong, but it was persistent.  In the year 2000, we moved to Vancouver, where that exit is.  So, when the thought came to me again a couple months ago, I mentioned it to Marilyn and we decided to go for it.  So, we did.

Then, several months ago, I was thinking about specific ways Scripture tells us to pray.  We are familiar with Psalm 122:6-8 which tells us to “pray for the peace (and prosperity) of Jerusalem.”  I also saw that Jeremiah 29:7 tells us we are to pray the same things for “the city to which I have called you.”  Well, that city was…  Babylon!  God wants us to pray for His “least favorite city” in the same way He wants us to pray for His “favorite city!”

So, as we planned to drive around the state, we decided we would also “pray around” it as well.  We decided we would pray for God’s shalom to be upon each city we drove through.  That word “shalom” is a very rich word in the Hebrew language.  I think the hippies of the 60’s had it pretty close when they would greet one another with “Peace!”  What they meant was they wanted the person they greeted to have a sense of well-being, safety, security, prosperity, wholeness, etc.  That is what this word means.  So, that is what we prayed for.

So, after we drove through 22 of our state’s 39 counties, 1800 miles (on many roads I had never been on before), spent 7 nights on the road (4 nights in campgrounds, 1 in a B&B, 1 in a motel, and 1 at a friend’s house), we made it.  We estimated we prayed for about 150 cities (many I had never heard of before), got to pray with a few individuals, saw a lot of very scenic yet unused land, visited with some great folks, and talked with each other a lot!  There will be lots of stories we will tell for years to come.

I am grateful to Marilyn for being a great navigator and partner!

Thank you, Tychicus

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June 6th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Watching Moses

This morning, I watched Moses ascend the sacred mountain and get the two tablets written in God’s own  handwriting.  Then, I watched as he came back down the mountain and broke them because the people already had broken them.  Then, I saw him dialogue (argue?) with God and convince Him not to wipe out all of Israel.  When God agreed, Moses ask to see His glory – and God showed it to him!  It was quite a sight.  I stepped back, just to be safe!  He got some more tablets, ascended a second time – this time he wrote on them instead of God.

No, I wasn’t watching a Hollywood DVD, I was watching on the screen of my mind.

Last year, during the incident with my infected backbone, I came to a place where I didn’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.  Weeks past without me opening and reading it.  I tried to pray, but literally would fall asleep within a minute or two.  It was not a good time.

I remember the time, at the end of May in 2017, I had a clear thought; “I can at least listen to the Bible on my phone!”  So, I began listening… and found that loved it!  I didn’t listen while doing other things.  I set time aside, leaned back in my chair, turned on my phone, closed my eyes, and watched what I was hearing.

I had never interacted with Scripture like this before.  I “saw” new things, heard old things in a fresh way, and was greatly encouraged.  So much so that, after I recovered, I continued to listen.  So, now, just over a year later, I have begun going through the Bible a second time.  Max McLean is “reading me a story” every morning.  This morning, he read (and I watched) Moses in action.

If you have not listened to Scripture recently, or if you are looking for a fresh way to interact with it, I encourage you to pursue this.  Both Bible Gateway & You Version have free audio versions available.  I am sure many other Bible Apps do as well.

Thank you, Tychicus

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May 10th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Jesus’ “Favorite” Holiday

All days are not the same.  Some days are different, unique, set apart.  We call them “holy days” or holidays.  And not all holidays are the same.  Some are more special than others.

With that in mind, what would you say is Jesus’ “favorite” holiday?  Would it be Christmas, when Jesus left Heaven to come to earth?  What about “Good Friday” or even “Resurrection Day?”  I suggest Jesus favorite holiday, the day on the Church Calendar that is most special to Him, that gives Him the most pleasure is…  Ascension Day.    Today (May 10) is that day on the Church Calendar for 2018.  For some reason, most of the Church of Jesus Christ today does not recognize this day with anything more than a nob.

But, think with me about some of the significant things that took place on this day.  I will briefly highlight 4 of the many things that could be mentioned.  I encourage you to look at more of the things that took place on this day and expand on the 4 things I mention here.  See a list below.

First, and most obvious, this was the day that Jesus was taken back to Heaven.  His long journey to this earth was finally over.  It was this day that He received the ultimate “Hero’s Welcome” back to Home!  He had received His Father’s assignment, accomplished it perfectly. and now He returned to Him as the Conquering King!  And to top it all off, His enemies were now a footstool for His feet.  The glory that had been His from all eternity, the glory He had set aside when He came to earth, was now restored to Him.

Second, this was the day Jesus gave us what is appropriately called the Great Commission.  Just before He left earth, He turned to His followers and gave us His last command – to carry on His mission of disciple making.  This command should dominate all our activity.  If we are doing something that is helping people become disciples of Christ, we are obeying Him.  If we are doing something that is not helping people become disciples of Christ, we are not obeying Him.  Pretty simple, but also pretty all-inclusive.

Third, this is the day that Jesus took on His new assignment as intercessor.  His primary assignment on earth was to accomplish our salvation.  That assignment was now completed and, when He rose to Heaven, He entered into His new “job” of intercessor for the saints.  He has called us to pray as part of the Father’s overall plan to be like His Son.  As the unique God/man Jesus is the One who knows the heart and will of the Father and also the needs and struggles of mankind.  This puts Him in the most unique role to intercede for us as His followers.

The final thing I will mention here that took place that day as our accession with Him.  As surely as Scripture says that we died with Christ, were buried with Him, and united with Him in His resurrection, it also says that we have ascended with Him and are now “seated with Christ in Heavenly places.”  This day changes everything about how we can and ought to live each day.  We do not need to live this life as though this life is all there is.  Because of our place in Heaven and in Christ right now, we get to take on His perspective of life.  We don’t have to limit our perspective to this world.  We get to see things and respond to situations in an “other-worldly” manner, because, in some mysterious but very real way, we are there now.

So, as we consider this day, I invite you to join me as I worship the exalted Christ, recommit myself to obey His command to disciple, thank Him for His wonderful prayers for my life, and view life from His perspective more than my perspective.  And look at the big smile on Jesus’ face!

Thank you, Tychicus

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Ascension Day

“Today” is the day Jesus…

  • Ascended to His Fathers right hand.
  • Charged His followers to be His witnesses.
  • Gave His disciples His last earthly blessing.
  • Gave people as gifts to His church.
  • We took our place seated with Him in heavenly places.
  • Was welcomed back into Heaven as the victorious Savior.  “Well done…”  The long trip was finally over.
  • Eternal fellowship between Jesus and the Father was restored.
  • Entered into His pre-incarnate glory.
  • Sat down at His Father’s right hand and His enemies became His footstool.
  • Began His ministry of intercession for the saints.

And His disciples

  • Watched in awe as He ascended.
  • Obeyed Him by going to the upper room to pray.

 

Ps 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Matt 26:64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

Luke 20:42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand   43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘

Luke 24:50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.  51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven

John 16:5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 17:1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you… I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Acts 1:9-11 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 2:33-35 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.  34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand   35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘

Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.

Acts 7:56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Eph 1:20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way

Phil 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Col 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

1 Tim 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Heb 8:1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

Heb 10:12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Peter 1:21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

March 29th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Jesus four prayer requests

Are you familiar with the four requests Jesus prayed in John 17?  This longest recorded prayer of Jesus not only lets us know what was on His heart during His last hours, it also shows what can and should be on our hearts as well.  These requests were so important to Him that He prayed each on twice.  His prayer can become our prayer.  Let’s look at each of these requests.

  • Glorify Your Son (V. 1 & 5)

The Old Testament word for “glory” is also translated as “weighty” or “heavy.”  Perhaps the hippies of the 60’s had it right after all.  When they would see or hear something very impressive, they would say, “heavy, man!”  That really does capture the idea behind this word.  Glory is that part of God that, when we see or hear it, causes us to be impressed!  The New Testament word for “glory” comes from the same word as “to think or consider.”  Glory is that part of God, that when we see or hear it, it causes us to stop and think more about it/Him.

When Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify the Son, He was asking that God would let people see and hear truths about Jesus that would cause them to be impressed and cause them to stop and think more about Him.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, in this situation right here, right now, let me see and hear more of Jesus.  Let me be more impressed with Him and think more accurately and deeply about who He is and what He has accomplished!”

  • Protect the Saints (V. 11 &5)

Jesus knew that we needed to be protected from the schemes and tricks of the evil one.  Twice in this prayer and in other places He warns us to pray so that he would not have his way in our lives.  In fact, most of the NT authors repeat this thought.  Here it is, plan and simple.  The evil one hates us because he hates God.  If he can, he will hurt us so that he can hurt God.  He plays hard and he does not plan fair.  He is stronger than we are.  If we seek to fight him or flee from him in our own strength, we will fail.  We need help from the One who is greater and stronger than we are.  Since He is in us, we always have access to Him.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, protect me and those under my care from every influence of the evil one.  Let me be aware of his schemes.   Let me be strong enough to recognize I need help beyond myself.  Let me be humble enough to call out to you and trust you to deliver me.”

  • Sanctify the Saints (V. 17& 19)

What was Jesus praying here?  What does “sanctify” mean?  Yes, it means to “be holy.”  But what does that mean?  Yes, it means to “be set apart” but what does that mean?   My favorite way to express the meaning here is “to be distinct or distinguished.”   It means I am “different.”  I am different from what I used to be and I am different from those who do not follow Jesus.  Your Word (not my word) is now the standard for my life.  It is not a list, it is a lifestyle.  It is recognizing that when Jesus changed me, He actually did change me.  I now live differently than I used to live.  My thoughts, my motives, my attitudes, my words, my actions, everything about me is now different.

What a good prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, sanctify me and the other believers around me.  Let me, and us, no longer be conformed to our words, but rather to Your Word.  Bring all of who I am into conformity with Your Son.  Don’t let the way I used to live be the standard for me today.  Don’t let the way others live be my standard.  Let the character and the nature of Jesus be my standard for living.

  • Unite the Saints (V. 21 & 23)

Jesus cared passionately about the unity of His Body.  His last request in this prayer was for those of us who would believe in Him through His earthly apostles would be united.  And the standard of our unity is not that we would attend the same meeting or sing the same songs.  His standard for our unity was and is the unity of the Trinity: the unity He and His Father enjoyed.  This is a unity that leads with love and true transparency, stirs in great mutual respect and appreciation for the differenced of others, and ends with a full agreement and commitment of the mission.

And this unity is not without clear purpose.  There are two “so thats” of this unity.  He wants people to see our unity so that they would believe that He really did come from the Father and that those who don’t know Him yet would believe that the Father loves them as much as He loves His Son.

What a great prayer!  Always appropriate.  “Father, we agree with Jesus’ prayer.  Let those of us who believe in You be one with one another.  Our unity matters to You and it matters to those around us.  So, let us know one another.  Let us love one another.  Let us like one another.  And let us know we need one another.  As we are committed to You and Your mission, let us walk in good relationship with all others who are committed to do the same.”

These four requests were important enough for Jesus to pray at a critical point in His life.  May they also be important enough for us to pray on a regular basis.

Thank you, Tychicus

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March 13th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

One year ago, today

I will probably always remember the date, March 13, 2017.  It is one of those days that will live on in (my own personal) infamy.

I had experienced some pain under my left arm and then, as days passed, all around my ribcage for just over a month.  Until now, it was mostly at night and mostly pretty managable.

I was just wrapping up my role as Interim Pastor at Hockinson Community Church.  In fact, I preached my last scheduled sermon on March 12th.  No problem preaching.  It went fine.  And the rest of the day was good as well.  Our youngest son, Joe, was with us for the weekend.  We enjoyed a good day together.  I went to bed that Sunday, got into a comfortabe position, waited for the pain to diminish, and went to sleep.

But Monday was different.   Even though this pain had been around for several weeks, it was now happening during the day.  And it was much more severe than it had been.  This was the first day of (what I now call) “my incapacitation.”  That incapacitation lasted for about 6 months in one form or another.

You can read the “Blow by Blow” further down in this blog.

But today, one year later…  I am rejoicing!  No residue, no pain, no problem!  I don’t take my health for granted.  Every day I am thankful for the health He has given me and seek to use it to bring Him more glory!

Thank you, Tychicus

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February 7th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Galba Fuqua

Each year I attend the meetings of the National Prayer Committee.  This year they were held in San Antonio, TX.  Prior to these meetings, I mentioned to a cousin of mine that I would be in San Antonio.  He told me that there was a “Fuqua” who was killed in the Alamo.

So, when I had a couple extra hours, I traveled to the Alamo with my friends Bob Hirtzel and Jan Stahl to see what I could find out.  And… sure  enough…  I found that Galba Fuqua had, in fact, fought and died there.  With a little internet sleuthing, here is what I have found out.

Galba was born in Alabama on March 9th, 1819 to Silas and Sally Fuqua.  He was their third child and first son.  By 1825 Sally had given birth to four more children.  She evidently died soon after that.  Silas, responding to the 1820 Texas land grant act, bought at least 80 acres on the east bank of the San Marcos river about 70 miles east of San Antonio, Texas and moved his family there.  Silas died in 1834.

In February, 1836 Galba was in Gonzolez, TX, a few miles south of his father’s land.  He was active in a group called the Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers.  Word came on February 23rd that help was needed at the Alamo, so he and (probably) some of these Volunteers soon responded to the need.  He arrived at the Alamo on March 1st.

Santa Ana was a war hero and was elected president in 1835.  He soon became more of a dictator.  He removed the constitution and also “recalled” the land grants that Mexico had made in response to the Texas land grant act.  So, he rallied a large army to retake the land of Texas.  By February, 1836, he had set a siege on the Alamo.  The primary attack took place 5 days after Galba had arrived.

On March 6th, 3 days shy of his 17th birthday, Galba was killed along with 189 others who were there.  As he was dying a women named Susan Dickinson later claimed that during the battle, Galba came to her and tried to tell her something. He was unable to deliver his message because his jaw had been broken in the fighting.  My guess is that he was hit in the jaw with the butt of a rifle then stabbed with a bayonet.

I have also found that Galba is a distant (veeeery distant) relative.  His great-grandfather (Ralph Fuqua, b.1693 in Virginia) is the brother of my great (x6) grandfather (William Humphreys Fuqua, b.1688 also in Virginia).  They were both first generation Fuquas born in America.  Their father, Guillaume, was born in France.  The spelling of his name was Fuoquet.

Thank you, Tychicus

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January 10th, 2018 by Dennis Fuqua

Moments Matter

I am grateful it wasn’t worse.  It could have been much worse.

The first thing I noticed was that my right shoe came off as I was turning around to go back down the escalator.  Why was I going down the escalator?

I was at the San Jose airport recently, coming home from the Modesto Prayer Summit.  I had some extra time, so I made a couple phone calls before I went through security.  There was a piano nearby.  As I was wrapping up a conversation, someone began playing the piano.  So, I grabbed my carryons and began to move toward the escalator.  I finished the call before I stepped on.  But that is when I realized I had left my wallet (my phone cover with my cards, etc. in it) on a table near where I was sitting.

So, responding to my first reaction, I determined it would be best to walk back down the 6 or so “steps” of the escalator and retrieve my wallet.  So… the first thing I noticed was that my right shoe came off as I was turning around to go back down the escalator.

It only took just a moment, but it seemed I was in slow motion.  I knew I was falling.  I did.  I knew I was going to hit my mouth on the hand railing.  I did.  I knew my bags were coming with me.  They did.   I ended up looking and feeling like a turtle stuck on his back with all four legs up in the air.  My shoe was over there, the bags were sort of on top of me, and the guy wanting onto the escalator looked at me and said, “Are you okay?”

It could have been much worse, but my response was, “I guess I am going up…” followed by laughter.

By the time got to the next floor, I had gotten up, slipped my shoe back on, gathered my luggage and stepped onto “terra firma.”

Yes, I did retrieve my wallet and spent quite a bit of time chuckling to myself about what had just happened.  The swelling in my lip went down fairly quickly.  The red spot on my head will go away soon.  My hip and arms will be fine after the achiness goes away.

But moments matter!  One moment, I was ridding an escalator to my gate.  The next moment I was not sure what happened!

My prayer since then has been that all my moments would matter for Him and His kingdom!

Thank you, Tychicus

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September 7th, 2017 by Dennis Fuqua

A blow by blow of “The Incident”

My life was significantly altered by an “incident” between March and July of 2017.  Here is a record of what happened.  (You have no obligation to read it all!)  🙂

February 8 – I felt very tired in the evening, like I was getting sick.

February 9 – I was very exhausted and in bed nearly all day.  I only got up for 2 hours.

February 10 – As I got into bed, I felt a very sharp pain about 8 inches under my left arm pit.  About the size of a silver dollar.  I simply found a comfortable position to sleep in.

February 18 – This pain continued but only at night, and is spread across the front of my rib cage.  So, I went to “Zoom Care” for tests.  They did several tests and said they saw nothing unusual.

February 19 – At their suggestion, I had x-rays of my rib cage done at another Zoom Care.  These also showed nothing unusual.

February 20 – March 12 – The pain continued and worsened, but still only at night.  I took over-the-counter pain meds at night, but still facilitated 2 Prayer Summits.

March 12 – I preached my last scheduled sermon as Interim Pastor at Hockinson Community Church.

March 13 – The pain increased and was now no longer limited to nighttime.    I began to feel incapacitated.

March 14 – I saw my primary Dr.  He did blood tests, gave me pain meds and called for a C T Scan.  Scheduled the scan and had it done within a few days.  Pain grew.

Because of the results of the scan, the Dr scheduled a “CT guided liver biopsy.”

I also went to a chiropractor a couple times, but received no relief.  Much pain during these days.  Every day, all day.

March 24 – Did the biopsy.  Results were delayed because they wanted a second opinion from U of W.  I never have heard the results of this biopsy.  They only told me it did not reveal anything significant.

Still incapacitated.  Could do very little work-related things.  During this time, my right foot also began to swell and hurt.  I thought it was another bout of gout.  It became very painful as well.   A total of 5 ministry trips were cancelled during this time.

April 3 – Because I was down to my last pain pill, I called the Dr to ask what we should do.  He told me to come in for more blood tests.  Did so.  He prescribed more pain meds.  At 4:30 that afternoon he called and was very direct.  “Go to the emergency room right now…  Your white blood cell count is out of control.  Your body has major infection in it.”    By 5:30 Marilyn and I were at the emergency room.  Another CT scan.  By 7:30 a very young Dr told me “I know what is wrong with you.”  I said “Great!”  It had been 6 weeks of wondering by now.  He said, “It’s not so great…  You have an infection in your T 4&5 vertebrae.  You also have staph infection in your blood.”  They wanted to do another MRI, but it was too painful for me and I refused.  They moved me upstairs to a room by about 10:30.

April 4 – They did the MRI and another CT scan as well as an EKG and other tests.  They also began an IV line with serious antibiotics.  Typical hospital stay with pills and needles, visitors and food, doctors and nurses, etc.  Marilyn, my son, Josh, and my sister, Darlene were especially helpful during this stay.  This is when my addiction to opioids began during this time.

April 5 – Birthday at the hospital.

Soon the IV became quite painful.  They moved it often.  Within a few days, I developed blood clots in my left arm from the IV.  So, they began giving me blood thinner.  This continued for three months.

April 10 – They inserted a PIC line in my upper right arm.  This remained for 2 months.  The foot pain lasted until after I came home from the hospital.  Drs were looking at this and treating it as well.

April 16 – My blood work showed I was good enough to go home.  There’s a full story here, but I was whisked out of the hospital so quickly that I went home in my hospital gown!  By now the pain, which was very intense at times, turned more to exhaustion.

April 16 – May 20 – Convalescing at home.  My brother brought down a “sleep number” bed with adjustable back and feet.  I was in this bed most of the time.  I needed to have the antibiotic bag changed every 3 to 4 days.  Seventeen trips in all (Till June 9th).   This was nearly all the activity I did.  Josh was with me a lot.  He was a great help to me during these days.  I did go to a few other Dr appointments.

May 20-25 – This was my most difficult time.  The pain had turned to complete exhaustion.  During these days, I was more tired/exhausted then I have ever been.  In bed, doing nothing, all day long.

May 24 – Bag change.  Later that afternoon the infection Dr’s assistant called me saying they were looking at my charts and felt I should be feeling better than I had been.  He mentioned he thought my liver was reacting to the antibiotics.  So, they wanted to change the formula.

May 25th – They changed the formula.  I remember being so exhausted that I could not even talk on the phone for 30 seconds.

May 26 – I felt the difference overnight.  I could feel myself regaining a bit of energy.  Friends from Gig Harbor stopped by for a visit on their way home from California.  I was feeling better, but they left feeling very concerned for me.

June 8 – The infection Dr said the infection was gone.

June 9 – PIC line removed.

Middle of June –I began to cut back on pain meds.  I began to reduce the amount from 120 mil per day.  Began coming back to the office a few hours per week.

Middle of July – Blood thinner stopped and free from all drugs.  But I was clearly addicted.  I had hot flashes for a few weeks.  I also had some (mild) withdrawal symptoms when tried to reduce too quickly.  As I got off the pain meds, I began to feel the pain in my back.  Two drs said my T 4&5 vertebrae are fusing together.  This could take up to a year or two.  I need to sit in a supportive chair or my back will give me a dull pain.

End of July – We did cousins camp!  We did modify the schedule a bit because of me.  And Marilyn earned more gold stars for the extra work she did!

Middle of July till end of August – Worked to regain energy.  Began walking a mile per day and doing some other mild exercises.

September 1 – I have declared that I “officially” have all my energy back.  (Well, okay, I may not have had all that much energy before all of this, but I do have all that energy back!)  But I still do have to favor my back.  I am praying and believing it will be fully restored soon.

I am so very grateful for the care I received from many people!  People volunteered to help in many ways.  It was amazing and a bit overwhelming.  People gave money to IRM and to us, personally, to help with lost income and medical expenses.  I felt God’s love expressed to me in so many ways!  Many stories about this.  I am both very humbled and grateful!