Recent Video Stories

The Great Salvage Operator

A few weeks ago my sister and co-author Linda Lyons Richardson passed the veil through death to Life… and left a hole in our hearts. Yesterday her husband was sharing with me the pain of removing her from bank accounts and deeds, etc. Such things feel so cold… so final… so hard.

So I was reminded of my recurring sense that this is not the way things were supposed to be. I’m not questioning God at all. I’m just saying that this was not the way things were originally designed to work. We were made for everlasting life. The violent separation death brings is a result of mankind’s choice to go his own way. We messed up God’s perfect creation, and it hurts like a sliver jammed under my fingernail.

So when I miss my sister my heart cries out, “This is not the way things are supposed to be!” It does not feel right because it is a violation of God’s original design for us.

But then the Great Salvage Operator goes to work. He’s like a junkyard artist. It’s His way. He enters into the mess we’ve made, picks through the wreckage and creates something beautiful… if we have a willing heart and eyes to see.

So two people whom Linda longed to bring into friendship with Jesus now seem to be arriving there. So her husband is learning to cultivate the garden she left for him. And I’ll be watching to see what other flowers bloom in the rich soil of life that Linda left behind.

What do you see the Great Salvage Operator creating out of your pain?

Overcoming Doubt

This evening I had an interesting conversation with my son Wes. He was on his way to a house church meeting in Florida, and expecting to discuss prayer… especially what it means to pray without doubting in circumstances like those we are facing with Ian.

These last 3 weeks I’ve prayed with a series of godly people praying for Ian’s healing. I’ve had an up close and personal look at how they look at prayer and healing and doubt. I’ve been observing them carefully, because Ian’s illness is taking us down paths I’ve never walked before, asking familiar questions with fresh urgency.

So as Wes and I talked, it occurred to me that if we struggle with doubts, we need to think carefully about what we doubt. There are things we must never doubt.

We must never doubt God or God’s goodness. That is at the root of the original sin… doubting that God really has our best interests in mind… wondering if He is holding out on us. It would be easy to doubt God’s goodness now. But I’ve seen far too much of God’s goodness to doubt it. That would be like doubting that water is wet while I’m swimming in the ocean. No, I don’t doubt God’s goodness, even now.

We must never doubt whether God does miracles today. Many “believers” subtly doubt this, and I’m sure that God is not pleased. I think this may be the most common kind of doubt among God’s people today. They’d never say it. They’d never even allow that thought to fully form in their minds. But in fact the idea that God would instantly and dramatically heal Ian overnight is inconsistent with their gut level experience and thinking about God and how He works today. This is similar to the heart attitude that restrained Jesus from doing many miracles in Nazareth.

We must never doubt what God has clearly said. This also is at the root of the original sin. The serpent said, “Has God said….?” This kind of doubt is why God struck Zacharias dumb. If God says it, we must not doubt it.

Yet this is where it can get confusing for us mere men. This tests our exegesis of the words of God. (I.e. What does that passage really mean?) This tries our acuity in recognizing the voice of God. (I.e. What is God really saying to me now?)

Has God specifically said that He will heal Ian Christopher Lyons before his CAT scan early next week? I have a rising subjective sense that perhaps that is what God may have in mind. Notice the disclaimers: rising… subjective… sense… perhaps… may have in mind.

I believe that those who walk with God and develop the consistent habit of obeying every thing that God says to them do develop a well-tuned subjective sensitivity to God’s voice. And I believe that God is much more inclined to speak in special ways to those who consistently trust and obey Him. I also believe that some become cavalier in carelessly asserting specific things that they think God has said, or want God to have said. They used to stone prophets for such things.

So where does that leave me in my praying? I’m still a learner, so forgive me if this seems simplistic. But I feel like a child boldly asking my good heavenly Father for what I want… while trusting Him to sort out what is best. My kids do this with me. “Can I have more dessert?” “Can I have the keys to your car?” They’re not shy about asking. They don’t always like my answers. But I hope that in the long run they are deeply convinced that I have their best interests in mind.

So, I’m asking God for a miraculous healing. And regardless of His answer I’m trusting Him. If some think that I have more to learn in this, so be it. I’m eager to learn. I just hope they’ll be gentle with me. I’m not really up for a debate right now.


OK, I was hoping for 100% healing right away. But 50-70% is phenomenal. And it reminds me of Jesus’ only GRADUAL HEALING recorded in the Gospels, in Mark 8:22-26. That encounter was very interesting. 

Once again, it was the FRIENDS of the afflicted man who brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. The faith of our friends in our behalf is a huge encouragement to us. Through pain, fatigue and nausea Ian often refuses TV, movies, games, and music. But he almost never refuses listening to new greetings from friends on his website. And tonight he asked me to get the prayer map up on his wall.

Once again, Jesus looked for a PERSONAL FAITH RESPONSE from the blind man to be healed. Commentators suggest that this is why Jesus took the man outside the village by himself, and that this is why he only partially healed him at first. The partial healing gave the man an opportunity to respond to Jesus himself. I continue to watch for this in Ian. Until now his job has primarily been to survive, hoping that what others have been doing would help him. Now his progress is increasingly in his own hands. He must choose to work on physical therapy. He must choose to press through pain to be active rather than asking for more narcotics to knock him out. Please join me in asking God to fill Ian with increasing resolve and courage and faith.

And once again, it was Jesus Himself who worked the COMPLETE HEALING. I don’t know if you’ve taken a closer look online at what doctors have experienced with alveolar rhabdomysocarcoma. But a quick look will make it clear that the healing we are seeking is just as miraculous as the healing of a blind man.


Strangely, with Ian home and feeling better today I’m feeling kind of down. Why is that? Maybe I’m just suffering withdrawal of the adrenaline rush from these weeks of constant crisis. Maybe I miss feeling so desperately needed. Maybe now that the urgency of this crisis is receding a bit, I’m facing other life realities again. Maybe everyday responsibilities seem mundane after living in 24/7 “life-saving” mode for so long. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe the enemy is trying to attack me while I’m weak and seemingly vulnerable. Maybe… it’s all of that.

Lord, it’s as if You are gently lowering my feet to the ground again after carrying me in Your arms since February 4th. Just like Ian’s legs were wobbly after being in bed for so long, so I guess that my every day faith legs may be a bit wobbly. You may soon have to pick me up again Lord. I don’t know what this next round of chemotherapy will bring.

Father, all of this reminds me how I need to depend on You for everything all the time. Times like this help us to see things as they really are, stripping away our illusions of self-sufficiency and self-determination, melting away superficial values, clearing our minds, and invigorating our spirits.

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


Today as Nancy Gallegos played the harp beside Ian’s bed nurses brought children from other rooms to listen at the door. Nancy and her husband Dennis are known in hospitals in the area where they come by invitation to play and to pray for the sick. They are humble and gentle and winsome and full of faith. While Nancy played we knelt around Ian’s bed and poured out our hearts to God. It was another one of those “thin places” where the boundary between heaven and earth is blurred.

After about ½ hour I had a recurring invasive thought… one of those thoughts that I know was not my own. Do you ever have those? “Read Psalm 18…READ PSALM 18…” After the 3rd or 4th prompting (I can be slow) I went to find my Bible. First I read it to myself. It is a very dramatic psalm of David celebrating how God delivered him from his troubles. I read verses like:

6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry….

19He rescued me because he delighted in me… 50 He shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.


I saw God rising from his throne to rush to save His anointed one. I felt the earth shaking at His approach… as He comes to rescue one in whom He delights… one like Ian.

I felt led to read the whole Psalm to Ian as Nancy played. As I began Dennis lurched from his chair to my side to show me that God had led him to read the very same Psalm! So I read with a great sense that God was speaking to Ian, and to us. (Read Psalm 18 yourself and allow yourself to enter into that holy moment with us.)

 <<  <  1 - 2 - 3  >  >>