11:43 AM Getting ready to leave for a two-day retreat with the Calvary pastors. We’re going to a home in McHenry for several days of prayer and Bible study, planning, talking, and dreaming together about what God wants to do at Calvary in 2004 and the years to come. These are eventful days in our congregation and our community. Yesterday we had a ton of visitors again—and the ethnic diversity continues to grow. I met a man from Nigeria who told me he is a professor of philosophy who drives in from Oak Brook every Sunday. And we have many singles, single parents, and folks looking for a church home. Met a young man who used to live in the apartment building across the east parking lot. I think he said he lived there for 9 years but never came to Calvary. He moved to another apartment in Oak Park and visited yesterday for the first time at the invitation of Steve Zoller. Reminds me of the research that says 82% of the unchurched would be open to coming to church if only someone would invite them. Anyway, these are great days at Calvary—and there are many challenges in front of us. Pray for the pastors as we spend time together for the next couple of days. Besides me, our group consists of Bob Boerman, Andrew Irvin, Davis Duggins, Howard Duncan and Craig Hammond. 11:42 AM Back from my bike ride. Clear, sunny, dry roads, bitterly cold, breeze from the NW. My fingers got pretty cold. I guess it was around 12 degrees with a wind chill about ten degrees colder. Not much traffic. Didn’t see any other bikers. 7:38 AM I’m going for a bike ride later this AM, but right now the temp is 3 with a wind chill of -5. Maybe I’ll wait until the temp hits a balmy 10. Florida seems like a long time ago and a long way from Oak Park. 7:33 AM Special thanks to ChristWeb for mentioning my blog. I think we’ll see more pastors with weblogs in the future. Where else can I talk about my bike riding, update folks on the renovation project, comment on Eli Manning (that’s Eli, folks, not Peyton—not after yesterday), record a few thoughts on my spiritual journey, link to good articles, and point people to exciting websites? The Internet has changed the nature of communication in the 21st century. The global village has become a reality. 7:19 AM Here’s a bracing quote from Flannery O’Connor about the need for Christians to take a stand:
Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.
(Hat tip to National Review Online.)