Monday, November 10, 2003

November 10, 2003

9:19 PM Very special renovation update … When our church building on Madison Street burned down in 1977, we lost track of the cornerstone (laid in 1921) for many years. Don Gerig helped us locate it in the mid-90s. For years we leaned it against the west wing—hoping to do something with it someday. I showed it to the congregation on Groundbreaking Sunday in June, and said that we were going to find a place to put in the new portico. Now here’s the rest of the story. Last Friday the workers put the old cornerstone into the outside wall of the new portico near the entrance to the sanctuary. John Sredl found the metal container that held various items placed inside the cornerstone in 1921. The container has burn marks from the 1977 fire. We’ve put the original contents (the ones we have) back in the metal box along with a few contemporary momentoes and some historical notes about Calvary. The box will be resealed in the cornerstone tomorrow AM—to be opened in maybe 100 years or so. We’ve arranged it so the cornerstone faces into the portico so that as people leave the sanctuary, they will read “Madison Street Church AD 1921.” And just today a new cornerstone that reads “Calvary Memorial Church” arrived. It is exactly the height and width of the 1921 cornerstone. The new one is only 3 inches thick. It will be attached to the back of the old cornerstone so from Lake Street, it will read “Calvary Memorial Church” and from inside the portico, it reads “Madison Street Church.” Nice to know the cornerstone has a permanent home again—26 years after the big fire. We’ll have some sort of cornerstone dedication ceremony once the renovations are complete. Special thanks to Mark Todd for quarterbacking the cornerstone project. Hats off also to Howard Duncan, John Sredl, Davis Duggins, and to Bruce Lavenau who wrote the historical summary that we are placing in the cornerstone tomorrow morning. 6:55 PM After church on Sunday AM, someone asked me, “Pastor Ray, what are we going to do for the persecuted Christians?” Good question, especially since we live in relative peace and safety, far removed in every sense from their unimaginable suffering. Later I stumbled across the answer in Hebrews 13:3 where God tells us to “remember those who are in prison . . and those who are mistreated.” Remember. That’s the key. If we remember, God will show us what to do. If we forget, we won’t do anything anyway. May God help us to remember. Don Gerig sent an e-mail saying that he had been following my reports on the weblog. He added these notes:

Two weeks ago I met the President of a seminary in Asia who talked about the month of October when every Sunday some evangelical congregation was assaulted by those who oppose the Gospel. Then this past week I met the President of a seminary in the Middle East who spoke of the way they must be so careful in their work because Muslims who accept Christ are under real threat. What impressed me in both cases was the almost “matter of fact” way they deal with these struggles. It never seems to occur to them to be anything but aggressive in their work for the Lord. Wow, we know so little of anything like this in our lives!

Don does some work for a very effective missions agency called Overseas Council. 6:33 PM Many of you know that we ship An Anchor for the Soul free of charge to prison ministries across America. We also provide copies of the book to various military ministries. I just learned today that we shipped 2000 copies of Anchor to a military ministry based in San Antonio. A few weeks ago we shipped 1000 copies to the military outreach at the Great Lakes Naval Station. 6:27 PM Mondays are usually slow days for me, but this has been a busy day. First off, I spoke in chapel at Timothy Christian High School in Elmhurst. I’m speaking Monday-Thursday for their Spiritual Emphasis Week. I think there are over 450 students in the high school. My theme is “Questions Jesus Still Asks.” Today the question was, “Who do you say that I am?” Sharon Dodgson (OPCA graduate and a junior at TCHS) introduced me. There are quite a few students with Calvary connections at the high school. The students listened intently as I challenged them to consider their answer to the question as a life-or-death matter… . Then it was back home where I’ve been raking leaves all day. Oak Park has about six weeks of leaf collection in the fall but I usually wait until the fourth week and then do what I did today—rake until I have blisters on my hands. At this moment, I still have about an hour of raking left. In the olden days, I could pay the boys and their friends to do it—but those days are long gone. I’ll have to rake one more time just before Thanksgiving—and then we’re doing with the leaves until next fall.

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