Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Update on Glenn's health

Well, we really didn't learn anything new today when we went into Toronto to start treatment on dealing with the clot in my liver apart from the fact that these things tend to dissolve on their own and the injections I take twice a day are to prevent further ones from developing. Too bad I had to go all the way downtown to learn that! But at least we are feeling a little more at ease about it all.

Unfortunately, however, we got also got a call from Credit Valley Hospital saying that they hadn't yet received a referral from Princess Margaret concerning my cancer treatment. Ah yes, efficiency at its best. So, we have left a message (you rarely get to talk to anyone in person) at Princess Margaret telling them of this. Hopefully they will get off their duff and get going on this. We are getting a little anxious to get the ball rolling.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Feeling better than I know I am

I find it funny (though slightly annoying) that there are so many people who think that with my diagnosis that my cancer has returned comes a life of staying home and not going to the office. I suppose that the experience that many have with loved ones and acquaintances who have or have had cancer (especially in the later stages) would lead them to this conclusion. But it still sets me back abit when folks express surprise when they learn that I put in full work weeks (and then some), have no pain to speak of and am actually feeling pretty good.

Now, to be honest, I know that part of my feeling of well-being has to do with the steroids I am taking that have helped to keep my lymphnodes under control. With an impaired diaphragm (I really only function on a lung and a half right now), clots in my liver, extremely dry eyes that impair my vision, and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia re-emerging, I know that I feel better than I really am. But having said all that, I really feel like I am living a fairly normal, even interesting, life. I have no real desire or need to change that. Mind you, travel has been greatly curtailed due to the uncertainty of my treatment schedule. Given my clot and breathing issues, we are wondering if air travel is wise. I am scheduled to see a specialist about the liver on Wednesday, so we will ask then. I do know that I found breathing difficult when I was flying home from Europe last May, but blamed that on the shingles. That might not have been the cause after all, I guess.

Thank you to each of you who are praying for us during these days. Pray that I might have the wisdon to know how to pace myself. I do find that when my mortality is more up in the air, that I tend to try to squeeze even more in. I am probably guilty of that right now...energized by steroids.

Sunday, July 27, 2008



As a follow up to my blog from earlier today.

Thoughts from Jonah 2

During my devotions this morning, I was reading Jonah 2. Verses 7-9 really struck me:

When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.

But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!"

The setting of this poem is inside the fish as Jonah contemplates the consequences of his disobedience. The phrase in verse nine "what I have vowed I will pay" is recollection of how, as a prophet he had vowed to speak the words that God told him to speak. He had broken that vow by running off. Now, he commits himself to being God's spokesman, to being the man that God had called him to be.

As I considered this, my mind went back to the day that I was diagnosed with cancer. That night, as I lay there, I was reminded of some dear Christian girls in their early 20s whom I had met a few years earlier in Ethiopia. Their testimonies had spoken so powerfully to me. Desperately poor, with so little, living in abysmal conditions, sometimes forced to beg on the streets to survive, their eyes shone as they spoke of what Jesus meant to them and how they had no regrets about following Him even though their poverty was a direct consequence of that decision.

And I remember saying to God that night as I faced the uncertainty of living with cancer, "Lord, if these people can stay faithful to you in their situation, so can I. I will not dishonour you though this."

I made a decision that day to trust God. I planted a flag of faith, you might say, and have often gone back to that decision and reaffirmed it before the Lord.

What I vowed, I will pay
I will do what I say
Salvation belongs to the Lord!

Verses 8 also made me think about why so many fail to trust God in the face of tragedy and setbacks, doubting that God really loves them since He has allowed these things to come into their lives. This verse seems to say that those who abandon a hope in the steadfastness of God were worshipping a vain idol in the first place. Idolatry, of course, is far more than just bowing down before some clay figure. Idolatry begins in the mind. We are not free to think about God any way that we like, but only as He has revealed Himself. Our tendancy, however, is to pick and choose what we will or will not believe about God. Rather than worshipping the Living God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and through Jesus Christ, we tend to worship a god made in our own image, affirming attributes that we feel comfortable with, denying those make us squirm. We all tend to do it. But such a god has no hold on our loyalty in the time of trouble. We abandon any hope of such a god's steadfast love. "God doesn't love me!" we cry, "Or He wouldn't have allowed this." What "God" are you talking about? Jonah would say that we must not really be worshipping the true God but a vain idol; a creation of our own imagination.

I know whom I am trusting today in my situation. And it has made all of the difference.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Historical Records and Modern Technology

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am reading a newly published biography of John A. Macdonald. I was struck by how much of what we know of him is from his letters and it occured to me that our reliance on electronic media is going to present a real problem for future historians, say in 100 years from now. How many of us really write "real" letters on paper anymore? Or anything for that matter? Most of my correspondence is in the form of emails. How many of us actually print out pictures anymore? So much is stored on mediums that I have my doubts will survive even a couple of decades at best.

Isn't it ironic that one of the consequences of today's information age is that future generations are likely to have such a sparcity of information about us?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Health Update

Denita sent this out to our friends this afternoon:

We got a call today from the Toronto General hospital saying that Glenn was referred to the Thrombosis Clinic there because he has a clot in his Hepatic vein which is in his liver. He needs to begin treatment of that, so we will be going in to Toronto next Wednesday to get him started. The treatment for that is a Heperin shot twice a day for at least 6 months. Heperin is a blood thinner and is more effective than taking Warfarin pills especially when receiving chemo treatments. While treatment will begin at Toronto General, he will be able to be monitored at Credit Valley once we move back there. We still haven't heard from Credit Valley Hospital about an appointment. Please continue to pray that we will hear soon. It would be nice to "get the show on the road".

Have a great weekend.


Bad Night

Was kind of a tough night. Leg and foot cramps, night sweats, bad dreams from the sleeping pills that I need to knock me out due to the steroids I am taking, and I kept waking up with my mind racing 100 miles an hour. Plus, reading through the diagnosis that my doctors back at Princess Margaret gave me to give to the oncologists here in Mississuaga just before I went to bed didn't help. It appears that I have some "intrahepatic bland thrombosis of the hepatic veins" in my liver with "findings in keeping with Budd-Chiari syndrome"; all of which sounded scary when I went to bed. Now that I am up and have looked it up, it seems twice as scary.

In for some interesting days, it appears. It does get hard sometimes. My faith in the Lord is unshaken. But as I ponder what I yearn for (health, normality - whatever that is ), I realize that I am not sure what I yearn for. The past 6 years of going through cancer, shingles twice, chemo (and all of the complications), and finally a stem cell transplant have been the most fruitful time of my life. Would I dare trade them in for a more "normal" life?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Very Inconvenient Truth

You may have already seen this, but this was forwarded to me by a friend in B.C. It can be confirmed.

House #1 A 20 room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400 per month. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern 'snow belt' area. It's in the South.

House #2 Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every 'green' feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underg round purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville , Tennessee....

It is the abode of Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas....

It is the residence of George W. Bush.

Wonder who is the better practitioner of environmentalism?

What an inconvenient truth.....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Do I Believe?

Sometimes I get asked where I stand on certain issues. I am careful to note that these are my personal beliefs, not the official beliefs of The Voice of the Martyrs, the nondenominational mission I lead. This is not a complete statement of belief, of couse. But for those of you who are want to know a bit more about my personal beliefs, I affirm the following confessions and statements:


The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


My Doctrinal Confession

1. Scripture
I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given by divine revelation and inerrant in the original manuscripts, written by men who were prepared and superintended by the Holy Spirit. I affirm my belief in the infallibility of Scripture, in its absolute authority in all matters it addresses, including faith, life, history, and science.

2. The Triune God
I believe in the one and only true God: self-existent, infinite, personal, unchangeable, and eternal in His being; perfect in love, holiness, justice, truth, wisdom, and goodness; Creator and Sustainer of all things, visible and invisible; both immanent and transcendent to creation; eternally existent in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), one in substance and co-equal in power and glory.

2.1 The Father
I believe that the Father is begotten of none, being the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Author of our salvation, Father of all who are born into new life through faith in Christ.

2.2 The Son
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, being fully God and fully human; was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit; lived a sinless life, performed miracles, and taught concerning life in the kingdom of God; died on the cross as the unlimited atonement for the sins of all people, and was buried; rose from the dead with a glorified body, defeating death, giving new life for all who come to faith in Him; appeared to His followers over the period of forty days; ascended to the right hand of the Father where He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

2.3 The Holy Spirit
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Giver of new life, who proceeds from the Father; of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and Son; being truly and eternally God; who spoke through the prophets, inspiring men of God to accurately write the Scriptures; reproving or convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; drawing unrepentant men and women to God, enabling them to come to faith in Christ; regenerating those who repent and believe on Christ, indwelling each new believer, sealing them as God's own possession, baptizing them into the body of Christ; enabling the believer to follow Christ by teaching, guiding, comforting, and strengthening him / her; conforming the child of God into the image of Christ, a work which will be completed when the Lord returns for His Church.

3. Mankind
I believe that mankind was created in the image of God, sinless and in perfect fellowship with God; that he fell through an act of rebellion and incurred both physical and spiritual death; that left to his own, he is eternally separated from God, destitute of any ability or desire to follow after God or submit to His authority. Without divine grace, mankind is incapable of doing any good works which are pleasing or acceptable to God, being completely, tragically, and irretrievably fallen. I affirm my conviction that apart from hearing the gospel, the unevangelized are without God and without hope in this world.

4. Salvation
I believe that mankind, through the voluntary and propitiatory death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, can be redeemed from his hopeless state. Through the grace of God, as the Holy Spirit enables him, the sinner may repent and come to faith in Christ, accepting the work of Christ on his behalf. The individual is given new life (regeneration), and is made a new creation in Christ. He is justified, completely forgiven of all of sins and offenses against God. He is set apart as God's own precious possession and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (sanctification). He is adopted into the family of God and is privileged to be able to call God "Father."

5. The Church
I believe that the church is an organism composed of all who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus, united under His headship, whose supreme mission is to make disciples of all nations through world evangelism and edification of God's people. The ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord's Supper; baptism marking the beginning of the believer's life in Christ, and the Lord's Supper celebrating the continuing blessings of the sacrificial work of Christ for the believer.

6. Last Things
I believe that God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring all things to their appropriate end and establish the new heaven and the new earth. The hope of the believer is in the soon, sudden, personal, and visible return of Christ at which time the dead will be raised and Christ will judge mankind in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to the everlasting, conscious punishment prepared for the devil and his angels. The righteous, on the other hand, will receive their reward and dwell forever in the presence of God. Concerning the resurrection, I affirm my belief in a literal, physical resurrection of the body, which will be glorified at Christ's return.

7. Election & Predestination
I believe that election is the choosing act of God in which He determines whom He will entrust with certain responsibilities and privileges. The focus of election is on the people whom God has chosen to be the instruments of His purposes. Election, however, is not merely a title or a position. Election is for privilege and responsibility.

Predestination, on the other hand, is the planning act of God in which He determines what privileges and responsibilities the children of God will enjoy and do in order to accomplish His purposes and how they will do it; what He will do for them and what they will do and become. The focus of predestination is on God’s plan and purpose. The emphasis is not who the objects of predestination are but what are the elect predestined to.

8. Freedom of the Will
I believe that while freedom of choice was part of our original, created state, as fallen human beings we no longer can claim to have a truly “free will.” Paul tells us in Romans 1 that we consistently choose the wrong and even the right we do choose is often tarnished with ulterior motives. While some would argue that this must require an irresistible act on God’s part, it seems to me that a better explanation is found in what may be described as “prevenient grace,” whereby God frees our will to obey Him and to choose to follow Him. Hence, I believe that it is far more accurate to refer to the “freed will,” rather than to “free will.” The former still gives the full glory to God; the latter does not take sin seriously enough and makes it sound like the mind was unaffected by the Fall and sin.

9. Perseverance of the Saints
I believe that through the declaration of Scripture and the testimony of the Holy Spirit the obedient believer can be certain of forgiveness, salvation, a continuing walk with Christ, and the promise of the resurrection. The Scriptures do, however, warn against failing to abide in Christ, being hardened by sin, or being overcome by the world. To allow the Devil such a foothold is to open oneself to the temptation to consciously reject Christ, abandon one's faith, and ultimately be lost. Hence, I believe that it is possible to apostasize so as to cut yourself off from the only way to God. I believe that we must take very seriously the warnings of Scripure to stand fast, to stay faithful and that the original authors were not setting up straw men to knock down, warning of dangers that could never happen.


I also affirm the following statements:

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Make the Planet Better

Almost seems that way, doesn't it, if we were to believe everything we hear lately? Maybe this will become part of Dion's "Green Shift".

Canadian Leaders

Anyone who knows me knows that leadership is one of my passions. I love to read on the subject and have a rather sizeable collection of books on the subject. I want to be the best leader that I can be, by God's grace.

Recently, however, I realized that it was time to slow down my reading of new material and really focus on practicing that which I already had learned. I will be reviewing a number of books that I have read over the years and deepening my knowledge rather than just expanding it. As one of the latest Ken Blanchard books put it, "Learning less more rather than more less."

However, I still love reading and over the weekend decided that if I am called to be a leader in Canada, I should read about Canadian leaders (makes sense to me anyway). And what better place to start than with our prime ministers. While I love my country and our history, I realized, to my surprise, that I knew virtually nothing about most of the Canadian prime ministers, including our first (and probably most imporant), John A. Macdonald. So, I ordered Richard Gwyn's recent book, John A: The Man Who Made Us and have started reading it. Gwyn is an excellent writer and while I have only read the first 40 pages or so, I am very impressed. An extremely enjoyable read. I will let you know more about what I learn in the days to come.

I am looking forward to reading about more of them already (even Trudeau, whom I was raised to despise, growing up in Alberta during the 70's and 80's). Sadly, there seems to be a real dirth of books on this subject, so if anyone has any suggestions, I would sure appreciate it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cancer update

Here is an email that my wife, Denita sent out to our friends earlier today:

Just got back a bit ago from clinic. While all the tests results still aren't back, we found out today the "plan of action" for Glenn's treatment. The doctor told us today that the first thing we have to do is get the cancer under control. That will be done by chemo. Depending on how Glenn responds to the chemo and what the final results of the tests are, will determine the next course of action. Some of the possibilities are:

- antiobiotic treatment with steroids
- taking some of Jim's lymphocyte cells and putting them in Glenn with the hope that Jim's cells will fight the cancer
- another transplant

For now, we have graduated from Princess Margaret Hospital and will be transferring back to Credit Valley. We are happy about that as we will save alot of time and money in parking and gas. We do not know when chemo will start as we are waiting to hear from the doctors at Credit Valley as to when they can fit Glenn in. It is nice to know what we are facing now and now that we have a course of action, Glenn is anxious to get going. He is determined, with God's help, to fight this and win.

Please pray that we'll be able to get going on the process soon. Thanks for all your prayers, kind notes, and words of encouragement. We hang on to the fact that God is in control and He has a perfect plan for all our lives.

I'll keep you informed as things develop. Till next time.....


See Al Speak. See Al Do

From today's National Post

On Thursday, former U. S. vice-president Al Gore delivered a major address calling on his country to abandon all fossil fuels within 10 years. By 2018, U. S. electricity and fuel should come entirely from "renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources," he said. Tickets to the event encouraged attendees to "please use public transit, bicycling or other climate-friendly means" to reach the lecture hall.

So how did Mr. Gore and his retinue arrive? In two Lincoln Town Cars and a full-sized SUV that sat idling with the air conditioners blasting while the Gore party was inside.

It was 34 C in Washington. Al Gore can't be expected to get into an overheated vehicle after he's worked up a sweat telling others how to save the planet.... (
read more)

The whole climate change issue aside, does anyone know how to spell hypocrite?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cudos to the National Post

There are those who just can't bring themselves to ever say anything good about the media. I don't want to be one of those. So, here is a cudo to the National Post this week.

On Thursday, Canada's second leading national paper reported on a story from my hometown back in Alberta, a small town north of Calgary named Didsbury. I spend almost all of my growing up years there and have lived there off and on until we moved out here to Mississauga in 1997. And so it certainly caught my eye. Hardly anything ever happens in Didsbury, especially something that would get the attention of the national media.

The story concerns a man who drowned at the local pool and was miraculously revived. He is a follower of the Lord, as I gather, going to the same church that I did when we lived there. What amazed me was that this was not an breaking story that took place just in the past week or so. It was really a human interest story that I would not have expected to be published on..... (wait for it).....THE FRONT PAGE!!!.

Throughout the article, he gives credit to God for bringing him back and believes that his survival must be because God exisrts. My in-laws told me that within days of his recuperation, he wanted to share his testimony in church.

So before you despair of the national media and say how anti-Christian it all is, remember that there are exceptions from time to time. And maybe you should just stop reading the Toronto Star.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A new blog

Blogging is a part of my CEO responsibilities at The Voice of the Martyrs, but occasionally there are things that I would like to share that have little or nothing to do with the persecution of Christians. This reflects in no way upon how I view my ministry (and I do see it as that; not a job). But other things strike me from time to time. Also within my renewed battle with cancer, I think it might be better to talk here than on the mission's blog site from time to time. I never want that to become the centre of what I do at VOM.

So, every now and then I will probably make some comments here. Often, I suspect, it will be about things I read in the news (I am a news junkie). Sometimes it will be about my health. Other times, I may touch upon other stuff like Guinness or Hockley Valley Dark (my favorite ales). Or maybe some of my interests like leadership, theology, or educational theory. Maybe this blog will help you to see me as more than just the "persecution" guy.