Saturday, March 27, 2004

March 27, 2004

12:19 PM Catching up on noteworthy articles: Hugh Hewitt explains why we need the Federal Marriage Amendment. Travis K. McSherley explains what is behind the assault on the “Under God” phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is really an assault on the public recognition of God in American life. Bill Murchison points out that we owe our basic freedoms to the God who created us. Chuck Colson points out the dangers of “soft-core” spirituality and why we need the hard-edged truth of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Here’s a tiny bit of good news from the creation-evolution debate. And while surfing the Internet, I came across a reminder of how short life really is—and how we all need to focus on what really matter. In February Pastor Bob Timberlake of Pawnee City, Nebraska learned that he has brain cancer and will die within six months. Here’s a story from the Omaha World Herald about his response. The World Magazine weblog has more details, including Pastor Timberlake’s burning desire to reach the lost before he dies. This is his gameplan for his last few months:

I want to use my final spring on this earth to do many things. Talk to Jesus, getting even better acquainted. Hug and love on my family. Be the best pastor possible at Faith Baptist in Pawnee City, Nebraska.

When people call his answering machine, they get this message: “LIFE IS SHORT, DEATH IS SURE, SIN THE CAUSE, CHRIST THE CURE.” 9:50 AM All the boys have been home this week, which means that our regular routine has been turned upside down. Last night was typical. Mark and Nick sat on one couch, Marlene and I sat on another, and the boys started howling and I joined in, trying to get Dixie, our miniature schnauzer who barks but never howls, to join the chorus. She eventually joined in, timidly, while Marlene listened and laughed at the rest of us—three men and a dog howling in her living room. Later Nick went to play basketball at the church with the Allied Force guys, and much later I heard him come in about 11:30 PM and say that he and Tolee Chang were going to Chinatown to get something to eat. Josh was around for a while, then left with Adam Hill and Pat McGuin. Mark and I stayed up and watched NCAA basketball while Mark also played Euchre online. Pretty amazing because you choose teams and play with people you don’t know (except for their nicknames—Mark was D2Biggie). Mark was paired with “this girl” (his term) from who-knows-where. I could hear him shouting at her (she couldn’t hear him, of course, he was just shouting at the computer screen). They were way behind but somehow won the game. Earlier in the day Marlene took Mark and Nick to Best Buy so they could buy what we needed to give us a wireless high-speed Internet connection at home. Very cool. While they were driving around, they saw Grand Slam Pizza on North Avenue. When we lived on Mapleton Avenue in north Oak Park (1989-1994), we had Grand Slam Pizza quite a few times. And not at all since then. But the boys saw it, wanted it, so we ordered Grand Slam Pizza last night—one pepperoni, and one sausage with gardinera (the hot pepper mix usually served with Italian Beef). Pretty good, and it talked to me for most of the night. Joanne Hale asked for an update on the boys. Mark goes back to Moody tomorrow evening. His car is in the shop—again. Nick and John Mark drive back to Samford tomorrow. Josh finished his job at Northern Trust on Friday. He starts work at Seguin Services in Berwyn on Monday. The biggest news regarding Josh is that he has been accepted by the English Language Institute of China to teach English in China for a year, starting in June. He and Pat McGuin will both be spending a year in China with ELIC, a Christian organization that works with the Chinese government to provide English teachers for high school and college students in China. He will be part of the China Teaching Fellowship. He and Pat and the others in the program won’t know exactly where they will be going in China until their training starts in June. Everything about this has been a “God-thing” for Josh and for our family. And it’s a poignant reminder to Marlene and me that we raised our sons to serve the Lord and to go wherever he leads them. We never thought that we would go to China, but I think we’ll be paying a visit there sometime next winter.

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