Sunday, October 19, 2003

October 19, 2003

7:49 PM This was my 8th year to do Billy Sunday—and it was the best one yet. Largest crowds by far. I talked with Corrine Hill and Skip Olson afterwards and we all lost count of how many times we did the presentation. The “Billy Sunday Singers” sang “Brighten the Corner” (that was Billy Sunday’s theme song in his crusades), “Softly and Tenderly,” “The Way of the Cross Leads Home,” and “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” Each presentation lasted about 8 minutes. We started at 1:20 PM and didn’t finish until 4 PM with only a couple of one or two minute breaks. Most of the time I would finish one presentation and another group would be waiting. We did at least 16 presentations but it may have been more like 20. The crowds were large and enthusiastic. You can always tell who the Christians are by the way they respond to the story of Billy’s conversion at Pacific Garden Mission. We’re going to post a printed version of the presentation later this week. I would estimate that attendance today was around 600—but it may have been higher. I heard that the Historical Society stopped sending groups out because they could not take care of all the people who came. The weather was perfect—upper 60s, slight breeze, blue skies. Amazing for mid-October in Chicago. At the end of each presentation, I invited people to come forward and shake my hand as a sign they were accepting Christ. That’s how Billy Sunday did it in his crusades. We had children from the church and some adults who came forward each time, but several times this afternoon people from the crowd stepped forward as well. Whenever I saw Calvary people in the crowd (quite a few came out), I would call them out to come forward. They would look startled, then they would smile, and come forward and shake my hand. All in all, it was a great day, tons of fun, and absolutely unlike anything else I do during the year. Plus it’s a way to do evangelism where the people pay to get in and they don’t even know they’re being evangelized. Special thanks to Marlene, Mari Burda, Mary Gaskill, Al and Phyllis Elliott, Della Renecker, Suzanne Steger, Mike Bosco, Ruth Braun, Allan MacLeod-Smith, Corrine Hill, Skip Olson, Michael Fields, Kathy Duggins, Mia Gale, Howard Duncan, Andrew Irvin, and the children who came forward and handed out the fliers. 7:47 PM Josh took pictures of the Billy Sunday presentation. You can view them by clicking here. 7:43 PM Relaxing at home at the end of a busy, exciting day. This AM we baptized 11 people, including a mother and her two sons, and in a later service, two brothers and a sister. Always deeply moving to see family members being baptized together. I hardly had time to say hello to anyone. Today I made six clothing changes as I moved from the pulpit to the baptistry three times. At the end of the last service, I slipped out during the benediction so I could go home, shower, change clothes, and zip over to Forest Home Cemetery for the Billy Sunday presentation. We finished about 4 PM and got home in time to see the Bears lose yet another game. I tried watching a bit of the World Series, but truth be told, I just don’t have any interest one way or the other. I suppose I’m for the Marlins, but not enough to watch the games.

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