October 29, 2003, 2003

October 29, 2003

10:01 PM Here’s another example. I received a letter from Paul in prison in Charlotte, NC. He enclosed a greeting card signed by himself and other prisoners. It is addresed to “Dr. Ray and Mrs. Marlene and Calvary Members”

Dr. Ray, we just wanted to show you our gratitude and thank you for all your support. We were the worst of the worst at one time but ministries like yours have given us hope when we thought all was lost. We just want you to know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in jail. And we thank you. God bless you.

He added this note: “The people that signed this card range from misdemeanor crimes to drugs and even murder, but we have all figured out that God is the only way. We just wanted you and your congregation to know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in jails and prisons and that if any member of your congregation has somebody in that situation to keep on preaching the Word and stand on it. Never doubt that god can handle it. One word from God can change everything. If God can forgive a group of men like us, he can save anybody. We are living proof that God is in the miracle business. We give all the praise to the Almighty God who sent his Son to the cross to bear the burdne of our sins. He showed us just how much he loved us… . Tell your congregation about the miracle happening. The Holy Spirit is upon us. God bless you.” 9:49 PM I’m answering a large stack of prisoner letters tonight. Here’s a sample:

Hello, my name is Catherine. I am reading your book “An Anchor for the Soul.” It has really touched me, it has also helped me alot. I was wondering if you have any other books that would be helpful to me… . I am currently incarcerated at Nebraska Correctional Center for Women. I have made some bad choices in my life that has put me here. I have 2 children that my mother is currently taken care of. I am turning my life around. I have God in my life now and he has given me so much hope and courage. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

1:11 PM Looking ahead to the weekend … Pastor Davis Duggins is preaching at Calvary this Sunday. Over a year ago my dear friend Pastor Timothy Fung of the Chinese Bible Church of Oak Park invited me to speak for their annual missions conference. I was glad to say yes, in part because Pastor Fung befriended me in the early days of my ministry in Oak Park and our two congregations have worked together on various projects over the years. He and his wife have repeatedly offered their public support for Oak Park Christian Academy. Pastor Fung has served his congregation for over 30 years, making him the “dean” of all Oak Park pastors. I’ll be speaking at the Chinese Bible Church on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning… . On Sunday afternoon Marlene and I will drive to Camp Forest Springs in Westboro, WI, where I will speak for a Pastor’s Conference on Monday and Tuesday. We’re looking forward to the drive through the fall foilage in Wisconsin and spending time with other couples in pastoral ministry. 7:41 AM My current reading list. I always find it interesting to know what others are reading. Here’s a partial list of the books stacked on the floor by my desk at home. (Caveat: I rarely read any book all the way through. I end up reading bits and pieces of lots of books.) The two-volume biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Iain Murray. Volume 1 and Volume 2. C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller. Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale. Famine in the Land by Steven J. Lawson. Parables of a Country Parson by William E. Barton. The Transformation of American Religion by Alan Wolfe. Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead. 7:05 AM Hal Lindsey reports that God’s Approval Rating has skyrocketed. Other findings from a recent survery:

According to a recent Opinion Dynamics poll, when asked, more than 91 percent of Americans believe in God. Some 85 percent of Americans believe in Heaven and an afterlife, 78 percent believe in Hell and 71 percent believe in the devil. Interestingly, while America’s belief in God has remained more or less steady, belief in the devil has enjoyed a strong resurgence – up 7 percent in five years – probably because so many Americans are coming face to face with such pure evil, they can no longer deny its existence.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?