Pastor Keith Stewart's Health Update
Thanks to everyone for the incredible outpouring of love and concern from our Springcreek family and friends for Pastor Keith, Brenda, and their family. They are very grateful. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers throughout the recovery process. You can find updates on Keith's progress here and on Facebook.
Update: Pastor Keith is now back in the pulpit as of September 15, 2018! We are so blessed and grateful for answered prayers. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for a full recovery! God is so good!
Update 11/7/18: Three months ago today, just around this time, I was being wheeled into an operating room. Much of that day is a blur to me and I still don't really remember anything about the 24 hours in intensive care immediately following my by-pass surgery. But what I remember most about that day are my family and dearest friends standing around me before the surgery. None of us knows what today or our future holds for us. But I know Who holds my future and I know the ones who make the journey worthwhile. God, in His kindness, allowed me to live for a while longer. By His grace, my hope and prayer is the rest of my life is the best of my life.
Saturday, August 4
Pastor Keith shared news with the church about his unexpected open heart surgery scheduled for Tuesday morning, August 7.
Tuesday, August 7
God is good! On Tuesday morning, while a fervent prayer vigil took place here at Springcreek and all around the world, prayers were answered as doctors performed a successful quadruple bypass on Keith's heart. We received word around 2:00pm that the surgery went well and Keith being moved to ICU.
Wednesday, August 8
Pastor Keith is feeling better already! We received two updates from Keith today via Facebook:
10:14am - I just spoke with my surgeon. I had a quadruple bypass, one minor artery was too blocked to bypass but he’s not concerned about it at all. I had a rough day yesterday but am feeling much better today. I cannot answer all the tweets, Facebook posts and emails. Never in my life have I been so inundated with love and prayer. You have blessed me in ways I can never repay.
7:38pm- The charge nurse told me in four and a half years of working this floor, she’s never had a patient come directly from ICU and walk like what I just did.
Thursday, August 9
Pastor Keith is breaking all kinds of records today with tubes coming out, sitting up, and walking. Would you expect anything less? Our God is an awesome God! Keep those prayers coming!
Friday, August 10
Wow! Pastor Keith continues to improve every day. Check out his Facebook update:
Thank you friends for praying for me. Thank you doctors, nurses, and staff for being the conduit of God's healing. Thank you Jesus for allowing me more time to serve You. Everyone here knows I'm a pastor and have been witnesses to my miraculous recovery - everyone is talking about it.
Saturday, August 11
Pastor Keith is still making a difference for others even through his journey. Check out his FB Post:
My great joy while I’ve been in the hospital has been thanking every doctor, nurse and attendant who has ministered to me. Watching their faces light up, helping them know what a difference they have made, finding good things and God things in every moment has made a difficult time exponentially better. I hope you never have to go through this. But if you do, remember to develop a “good finder” because it truly makes all the difference!
Great news! Pastor Keith is coming home today! Check out this sweet update:
Four days ago I had open heart surgery. This morning I’ve walked two miles (spaced about three hours apart) without the assistance of a wheelie cart. TODAY, I AM GOING HOME! I still have several weeks of recovery but I’m looking forward to being home, resting well and getting something half way decent to eat.
Monday, August 13
Pastor Keith posted this morning that he would appreciate your prayers for sleep and rest needed for recovery. Won’t you join with us?
Your prayers have been so effective for me. Would you pray that I can sleep? Since surgery, I’m only getting about 2-3 hours of sleep at night. My body needs it to heal. Thank you and bless you!
Tuesday, August 14
Check out this humble message from Pastor Keith this morning:
One week ago today, I arrived early at the hospital surrounded by family and friends sincerely wondering if it would be the last time I would see their beautiful faces in this world. I know it was and is the miraculous grace of God that I’ve been given another shot at life. Help me, God, not to forget the lessons of the past week. Help me to remember death - the great clarifier, the reminder to live purposefully and intentionally, the inevitability that eventually comes for us all. Until that day finally arrives for me, help me to love as I never have before, be more courageous than I’ve ever been and boldly declare Your great love for other ragamuffins like myself who are desperate to experience it.
Wednesday, August 15
Pastor Keith is doing well and has gone without a pain pill for quite a while. We're pretty sure he's happy about that according to his Facebook post earlier today:
36 hours without a pain pill! Woohoo!
More amazing news from Pastor Keith after his first post-surgical follow-up this afternoon:
We are just now leaving my first post-surgical follow-up. The surgeon is blown away by my rapid recovery. He reminded me that most are in the hospital for a full seven days after open heart surgery but I was doing so well I could’ve been released on day three (he released me on day four). He said it was a testament to my stamina and constitution. I say it’s a testament to the faithful prayers of God’s people and the abundant kindness of God. We couldn’t be happier than we are right now!
Friday, August 17
Speak love... Sharing a note that Pastor Keith wrote to the nursing staff at Baylor Hospital:
A note I wrote to the wonderful nursing staff of Baylor 10 Roberts...
Dear Nurses and Staff of 10 Roberts,
Words will never be enough to adequately express my profound gratitude for you and the way you ministered to me after open heart surgery. Who you are coupled with what you do made all the difference in me.
To tell the truth, even though I am a pastor, I was very afraid the morning of my surgery (8/07). Afraid that it might be the last time I would see the beautiful faces of my wife, children and grandchildren (at least in this world). The magnitude and severity of what my body had been through was evident post-op. I was alive and I was in pain. And as you are very aware, people in pain are not the easiest people to be around.
But never once were any of you short with me. I never felt like a burden to you. Instead I was met with abundant kindness and understanding, thorough explanations and exemplary care. You represent the best in the healing arts. You made all the difference for me.
I am home now and my recovery is going well thanks in no small part to you. As I reflect on my time in your care, I see your beautiful faces. I thank God above that He made each and every one of you. He then placed in your soul a passion to help and heal others. You have taken that passion and perfected it, nourished it and put it fully into practice. It is evident in everything you do.
You may not hear it every day and most certainly not as often as you deserve it, but let me just say to you - THANK YOU! You will forever remain my heroes. And as a minister let me add, may God return to you exponentially the blessing you have been to my life. I will always remember you with fondness.
All the best,
Saturday/Sunday, August 18-19
Pastor Keith is feeling better and thankful for all the prayers! He shared another video update on his health with the church this weekend. We are so thankful for answered prayers and the work God is doing in and through Keith's recovery. Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers. Please keep them coming!
Tuesday, August 21
Believe it. God is good! A message of gratitude from Pastor Keith:
It’s hard to believe that it was just two weeks ago today I had quadruple by-pass surgery. A lot has changed in two weeks time; I’ve lost 15 pounds, my pain is gone, my wounds are rapidly healing and I can walk two miles (slowly). But one thing that hasn’t changed, my gratitude for the prayers of my friends and God’s miraculous hand upon my life. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.
Friday, August 24
If you are praying for Pastor Keith, his two greatest needs right now are prayers for strength and sleep. He also received the prayer journals and blanket that was prayed over at the vigil and was moved to tears. Read what he shared on Facebook today:
I was able to take a little excursion today. I went by the church to hug the staff who were there and have lunch with Gerry. It was wonderful to see them. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the church has filled two journals full of prayers and encouragement! Then I discovered this super soft, amazingly comfortable blanket made just for me by someone in the church. I think I’m going to go take a nap with it right now!
The notes in these journals flood my eyes with tears. But there’s one statement that I imagine not a lot of pastors hear but one that floods my heart with joy, “15 years ago, a heroin addict told me about your church...” For all these years, I thank God that the most broken have felt welcomed and wanted and told their friends, “This is where you belong...”
Sunday, August 26
Pastor Keith misses being at church but is grateful for this time to recover. Of course, we all miss him too, but he’ll be back before we know it. All in God’s timing!
Our hearts are full knowing that our friends and global mission partners in La Violeta, Ecuador are praying for Pastor Keith’s full recovery along with us. Feel the love and hear the prayers they shared with Pastor Keith in this video message. Thank you, La Violeta, for this precious gift.
Thursday, August 30
Pastor Keith continues to make good progress with his recovery and is keeping a positive outlook. Thanks to everyone for continued prayers for all his needs. Here are a few thoughts of gratitude and specific prayer needs he has shared this week:
-I can’t even describe the incredible gratitude I feel for Brenda, my nurse, my constant encourager, my chef, my chauffeur and best friend. These past couple of weeks she has tirelessly ministered to me in my needs. I don’t know where I’d be without her. I’m glad God let me hang around a while longer just to be with her. I hit the marriage lottery.
-Recovery is a scary proposition. But you know what's even more scary? Doing nothing and remaining the same.
-At this moment three weeks ago, I was lying on an operating table. But today, I just completed a FOUR mile walk.
-Right now, heat is my kryptonite. If I go out in the afternoon, it makes me feel like I can’t breathe. I’m hoping this sensation passes soon.
-Even though I have fully met my deductible for this year, my insurance (Humana) has denied several expenses related to my surgery to the tune of thousands of dollars. Help me pray for a righteous resolution to this.
-Two weeks ago, to lay flat on my back in the bed involved five minutes of real pain accompanied by rapid, shallow breathing. Tonight, I just plopped in the bed and felt fine.
Sunday, September 2
Wise and humble words from Pastor Keith...
God is my Healer. Still I have a role in my own healing. My part is to give my body rest, exercise, proper nutrition and take my medications in a timely, consistent way. In the same way, God is the Healer of my soul and I have a role to play in that healing, too. I cooperate with what He’s doing. I push back life to create space for Him. I give my spirit proper nutrition; prayer, meditation and regular intake of His Word. Remember this. Grace is not opposed to effort. It’s opposed to earning.
Grateful for life!
Grateful for God’s healing!
Grateful for family!
Grateful for friends!
Grateful for more time to serve God!
Wednesday, September 5
He's almost ready to return! Please plan to join us as Pastor Keith shares a special message with us soon as we celebrate the 28th anniversary of Springcreek! Check out the note he shared today on Facebook...
On the weekend of September 15-16 (our church’s 28 year anniversary), I’ll be back in the pulpit with a message for anyone who’s been through trying times. Beauty from Ashes is based on God’s promise to resurrect something beautiful from the ashes of our broken hearts and dreams. This message will be chocked full of my learnings and reflections of a lifetime of working alongside people going through life altering circumstances. I’m looking forward to being back with you!
Thursday, September 6
Can't say it enough... God is good! More good news from Pastor Keith.
I saw my cardiologist today. He said I’m so far ahead of the curve that even though the normal protocol is to see a by-pass patient at 3 weeks, 2 months and 6 months, he’s skipping the 2 month appointment and doesn’t need to see me again until 6 months! It wasn’t even necessary for me to do rehab. I’m living proof of the kindness of God!
Saturday/Sunday, September 8-9
Pastor Keith made an appearance at church this weekend, personally bringing news of his return to the pulpit next weekend and sharing grateful and humble words with the church. Click on the audio link below to hear what he had to say in his own words...
Tuesday, September 11
Pastor Keith is officially back at church and returning back to the pulpit this weekend!
I had my first day back at work today. We had staff meeting. Then I spoke to the leadership luncheon. I had an afternoon appointment. Then about 2pm, I had to come home for a much needed nap. It felt good to be back. Most of all, I'm really looking forward to speaking this weekend.
Wednesday, September 12
Keith just received an excellent report from a follow-up appointment with his surgeon. Check this out!
I’m just now leaving the surgeon’s office. It’s been 5 weeks since the surgery and he said, “Unless you’re having problems, I won’t need to see you anymore.” My sternum has healed nicely as has my heart. All my vitals are strong and completely normal. He told me, “You’re doing great!”
Continued prayers for Keith’s full recovery of strength and stamina are appreciated. The power of prayer is amazing!
Saturday, September 15
Guess who’s back? Pastor Keith has been dearly missed but is now officially back in the pulpit! We, along with Pastor Keith and his family, are grateful for the continued love, prayers and support over these past several weeks and going forward. Our Springcreek family is the best and God is so good!
Welcome back, Pastor Keith.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!