Monday, June 23, 2003

June 23, 2003

Only 6 more days till Groundbreaking Sunday!

I am writing this update from a motel in Joliet, Illinois, about 35 miles south of Chicago. This is Day 1 of a four-day writing retreat. I’m here working on a book project for Moody Publishers. To be more precise, they have asked me to turn the “Prayers of Paul” series into a small book that will be published early in 2004, God willing. I hope to wrap up the first draft by Thursday morning. I am fully stocked with everything I need. Marlene made a chocolate marble cake and that’s what I had for breakfast this morning. I also have some grapes, bottled water, and my favorite cereal, Grape Nut O’s. Really, what more could a man ask for? I also brought my bike along so I can ride the I&M Canal path that runs for about 56 miles from Joliet to Lasalle, Illinois. They have turned the 1840s tow-path into a crushed-gravel path for bikes. You can ride for miles through forests and meadows. Back home in Oak Park, Vacation Bible School started this morning. Between our morning and evening sessions, I am told that we may have as many as 600 children attending this year. This Sunday will be Groundbreaking Sunday for our renovation project. The big tent goes up in the west parking lot on Saturday. We’re borrowing a portable baptistry from the Rock Church so we can baptize 12 people next Sunday. There will be one combined service under the big tent at 10:30 AM, followed by a picnic in Austin Gardens Park. If you are in the Chicago area next Sunday, please join us as we celebrate God’s goodness and dedicate the new building project to the Lord.

Currently reading “Ernie’s War", the best of Ernie Pyle’s World War II dispatches. The book has been out of print for a few years but I found a copy through an online bookseller. Though sixty years have passed since the events he wrote about, Ernie Pyle speaks truth about what it means to be a soldier on the front lines. His writing stands up very well and could easily apply to the war in Iraq.

Most interesting visitor at church yesterday: Between one of the services I met a man named Wilson (that was his first name) who was visiting from North Carolina. He had a copy of An Anchor for the Soul in his hand. He asked me to sign it because he first read it while he was in jail. At the time he had no idea he would ever meet the author, but wanted to visit Calvary so he could say hello. I told him that after distributing over 100,000 copies to prisoners across America, he’s the first one who read it in jail or prison and actually came to Calvary to say hello. We prayed together that God would continue to bless him and guide him.

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