UPDATE ON ED’S HEALTH

Ed Komoszewski was once again my roommate at the annual Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature conferences. Every year, these combined conferences take place over a 7–8 day period just before Thanksgiving, somewhere in North America. This year, it was Denver. These academic conferences are vital for current research and books in biblical studies. Lectures from world-class scholars—both Christian and non-Christian—fill the meeting rooms that span several hotels and the Convention Center. The book area is almost the size of a football field. All the most recent works in biblical studies are there.

Ed comes every year. He has friends who cover virtually all of his costs. It’s not a vacation. It’s work. And it always takes a toll on his body. Weeks are needed for him to recover. In the afternoons and evenings, he can get out of the hotel room. This year he was able to get to only five sessions between the two conferences combined. He also met with publishers, editors, co-authors, scholars, and folks who simply wanted to get with Ed.

He met with everyone who wanted to see him—even some old friends. He talked with them about his faith. They all had a stimulating conversation. However, when Ed got back to the hotel, he was exhausted almost beyond belief. He could not form words properly because he lost control over his facial muscles. His whole face was literally sagging. He looked like he had aged 20 years right before my eyes! I’ve never seen anything like this. I scolded him, and said that he needed to take better care of himself. He needed to not say yes to everything and everyone. But Ed was just being Ed: everyone else is more important, the gospel is more important, and his life counts for naught. I could not dissuade him.

Ed Denver 2018

During most afternoons and evenings, to look at Ed you’d swear he was in good health. He works hard to make others comfortable around him. I know the truth. Ed has an invisible illness—or rather, invisible illnessES. By Thursday of last week he hit the wall. Just to get out of bed took extreme effort. At one point he was in such pain that he couldn’t even take his shoes off. His health has continued to degenerate. I have urged him to stay home from the conferences. But he’s far more concerned about making an impact for Jesus Christ than his own comfort or health. I could list a litany of physical issues he faced just on this trip. But suffice it to say that he sacrificed much to be here, and he continues to sacrifice much for the gospel.

I want to thank so many of you for your generous gifts to Ed’s GoFundMe account. Such a great response! Just a few more thousand dollars to pay off the current medical bills. Wouldn’t that be a marvelous Christmas present? This is an investment in eternity. Hundreds of small donations would add up to a big gift. Let’s do this.

Ed Komoszewski needs your help!

Dear friends, you may know about Ed Komoszewski. If not, you should! He co-authored Reinventing Jesus with Jim Sawyer and Dan Wallace. He also co-authored Putting Jesus in His Place with Rob Bowman. This is probably the best book in defense of the deity of Christ. Ed is a champion of the faith, a superb writer, and a gifted speaker. But he has battled serious health problems for years. And he’s struggled to provide for his family as a result.

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Ed had another serious health incident about a month ago. While pushing a cart at Walmart, Ed’s heart totally failed; he immediately lost consciousness and hit the floor. When he woke up, he was in the Intensive Care Unit at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in McKinney, TX. Four days later, when doctors determined that the electrical system in Ed’s heart would not recover, a pacemaker was surgically implanted in Ed’s chest.

This latest incident came out of left field. It was unrelated to Ed’s other chronic health conditions, which continue to wreak havoc. Indeed, over the past sixteen months, Ed has been hospitalized for serious complications four times.

Through all of this, Ed has fought to remain as productive as possible. He and Darrell Bock recently submitted a manuscript on the historical Jesus that they are co-editing. And Ed and Rob Bowman are currently working to revise their book on the deity of Christ within the next year.

Though many are aware of Ed’s health situation, fewer are aware of the GoFundMe campaign that was launched for Ed a year ago. The campaign is still far short of its goal, and Ed’s bills have only increased (significantly!) since the campaign commenced.

We need Ed in the battle, and if countless people would donate even a small amount it would encourage Ed to keep fighting. In fact, it would enable him to keep getting the medical attention he needs to stick around! If 3000 people donated $10, he could pay the bills he has accumulated to date. The bills will continue to pile up; my desire is to see some folks give to Ed’s GoFundMe account every month for as long as it takes. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is.

Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page

A Gift of Charity

Nearly ten years ago I wrote four ‘living eulogies’ about people who had influenced my life in ways impossible to measure. These four folks—three men, one woman—were believers who had shaped my thinking, infused me with direction and purpose, inspired me to press on, and pointed me to Christ. I posted the eulogies at Parchment & Pen. Three were my elders, one my junior. One was a relative who instructed me from my birth; three were godly leaders whom I met later in life.

Ed Komoszewski

Three are now with the Lord. Only one is left. Dr. Harold Hoehner was the New Testament department chairman at Dallas Seminary and a genuine Doctor-Father to me. He instilled in me the desire to dig deeper into God’s word and above all to have integrity in my scholarship. Dr. Joe Aldrich was my pastor at Mariners Church in Newport Beach back in 1970—he joined the staff just a couple of weeks after I did as the church’s first youth director. He was one of the main reasons I decided to enroll at Dallas Seminary.

Harold Hoehner and Joe Aldrich both died on the same day, February 12, 2009.

The third influential person was my mother, Nayda Baird Wallace. She taught me the importance of centering my life on Christ and on getting the core of my theology right. She would say, “Nail one foot to the floor inside the circle where Christ is; let your other foot tap dance all it wants, recognizing that you can never get too far away from that inner circle.” The makings of a rudimentary doctrinal taxonomy!

Mom passed into the presence of the Lord on January 30, 2017.

The last person is still with us. He is the only one on this list younger than I am—and by more than fifteen years. He was one of my interns back in c. 1999. He volunteered to be an intern not to learn from me but to help me in any way he could. I had contracted encephalitis in 1997 and lost much of my memory—most of my languages, most of the people I knew, who the president was, even my wife’s name! I was in a wheelchair for nearly a year and had next to no energy for many years afterward. At one point I was sleeping 22 hours a day and not able to read more than ten minutes without falling asleep. I could read for a maximum of twenty minutes a day. Two men wanted to help me get back on my feet—literally. One of them, a promising young man named Kris Boring, died a year after the internship from a bizarre disease that he contracted in Guatemala. The other is, frankly, barely hanging on because of other diseases that have ravaged his body.

And yet, in spite of his physical limitations, he has been able to co-author two books in the last few years—Reinventing Jesus and Putting Jesus in His Place. His name is Ed Komoszewski.

Over the past two decades our friendship has deepened, and my respect for Ed has soared. In many respects he, too, has become one of my spiritual mentors, and in the process he has become my best friend. I could tell you about the variety of diseases that have taken hold of his mortal shell, but I want to respect his privacy. Ed’s energy levels on his best days almost make my encephalitis look like I was some sort of an energetic superhero. I don’t know how much time Ed has left for this realm, but I do know that he intends to use all of it to magnify the name of his God and King. His book, Putting Jesus in His Place, co-authored with Rob Bowman, was endorsed by dozens of the world’s most notable biblical and theological scholars. I consider it the best—and most accessible—Christology to come down the pike in a long, long time. It belongs in every thinking Christian’s library.

Ed Komoszewski breathes Christ. He has often stated pensively, “Even though I’ve thought about it a lot, I don’t know what I’m going to say when I meet my Lord face-to-face for the first time. One thing I know I won’t say is, ‘Hey, it’s good to connect a name with a face’!”

We need Ed to stay in the fight, to continue working on his vital writing projects, to struggle through the pain and weakness and bring glory to the Risen One.

But the medical bills are mounting. They’re getting out of control. A good friend of Ed’s, Alex Blagojevich, has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $50,000 to help cover Ed’s medical costs. Alex has already committed to match the first $2500. Ed has a growing family and his dear wife, Shelley, works full time. They need our help.

This is a time for believers to come to the aid of a brother in Christ. The eternal rewards for such an investment cannot be overestimated. I ask you to consider making a generous, even sacrificial gift, to Ed’s GoFundMe account. Share the news with your friends on social media. Tell your church. Get involved. Only a small fraction of the funds have been raised so far. The word needs to spread. Here’s the link, my friends:

https://www.gofundme.com/ed-komoszewski039s-medical-expenses

NIV Application Commentaries on Sale Now

For a short time only, every NIV Application Commentary eBook is on sale for $4.99 apiece. Some may wonder whether a commentary with the name ‘application’ in it is really worth it. After all, aren’t commentaries supposed to deal with interpretation?

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Commentaries can be grouped broadly into two categories: critical and popular. The critical (or exegetical) ones focus on the original language text and give detailed interpretation, drawing out the meaning of the text for seminary students, pastors, and others with training in Greek and Hebrew. Popular commentaries tend to be on the lighter side of interpretation but are usually strong on drawing out principles for living out the Christian faith for the layperson.

Too often popular commentaries are written by pastors who do not have the training, time, or tools to investigate the biblical text in depth. And critical commentaries hardly relate to the person in the pew. What is unusual about the NIV Application commentary series is that the same scholars who wrote exegetical works now bring such insights to all Christ-followers.

Take Doug Moo’s commentary on Romans for example. He has written a massive work on this great epistle (over 1000 pages!), definitely not something for the faint of heart. But he’s also written the NIV Application Commentary on Romans. One can be confident that this superb scholar’s insights are also to be found in the more accessible commentary in the Zondervan series. Further, Moo frequently packages things in a way that is memorable, pithy, even at times inspiring. And the reader can be sure that the commentator has done his homework.

The commentaries by the other scholars in this series are of the same ilk. It’s a great opportunity to get any one of these excellent tools as an eBook. The sale is from November through November 13. See the details here.

Finally, an Awesome Backgrounds Bible!

One of the great publishing delights of 2016 is the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. Zondervan, of course, is the publishing house. The NIV 2011 is the translation employed, one that is faithful to the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew and communicates clearly to English-speakers of the 21st century. This is truly a landmark publication; the subtitle says it all: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture. The dense, nearly 2400-page Bible is packed with notes, graphs, photographs, sidebars, tables, charts, maps, and cross-references. It would be difficult to find two more qualified general editors than John Walton and Craig Keener. These two scholars live this stuff. They are giants in the field. Kudos to Zondervan for signing them on for this project. Their names alone are a solid recommendation of this Bible.

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Virtually every page brings fresh illumination to the text of Holy Writ. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible makes accessible the best of evangelical biblical scholarship.

This should make a terrific Christmas present for just about anyone on your list. You can order your copies here: http://media.harpercollinschristian.com/page/cultural-backgrounds-study-bible.