Thursday, July 8, 2004

July 8, 2004

4:43 PM Today’s entry in the Crosswalk weblog is called Not Perfection, But Progress. 10:22 AM Senator Orrin Hatch persuasively explains why we need the Federal Marriage Amendment. 9:45 AM Speaking of Alabama, I received an email this morning from Debbie Bolton King with the news that her mother died on July 5. Dolores Bolton was the church secretary at the First Baptist Church in Russellville, my home church during my growing-up years. She served as church secretary for 54 years, retiring just a few days before her death. To put matters in perspective, she served as church secretary three years longer than I’ve been alive. Dolores Bolton was a wonderful, sweet servant of the Lord. I can see her face clearly in my mind, can see her at her desk in the office at church. And I can see the smile on her face that greeted me every time I passed by the church office. She served till the very end of her life and then she went home to heaven. Now she is “at home with the Lord,” in the place of eternal springtime. 9:39 AM In my weekly sermon email, I mentioned that two of the transformers behind the church caught on fire Sunday morning, plunging the children’s Sunday School area into darkness just as the 10 AM service was ending. We dismissed the children and held the 11:30 AM service in the sanctuary the old-fashioned way—no lights, no electricity, no sound system, and no air-conditioning. (The transformers were replaced by Monday morning so we’re good to go for this weekend.) My friend Paul Lynch (we grew up together in Russellville, Alabama) read my sermon email and added this story from the days when his father pastored a Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Highway 24 between Russellville and Belgreen:

Your Excitement Sunday reminds me of my Dad’s church in Alabama (where you spoke on occasion). We had electricity (Thanks TVA!) but only a window AC unit which was just a little quieter than a jet plane taking off. Anytime there was preaching we had to turn off the AC. This was especially fun during our second Sunday in August Revival meeting. We kicked off the week on Sunday Morning, followed by dinner on the grounds, a special afternoon service usually kicked off with a Southern Gospel Quartet singing and capped off with a wind-sucking preacher who said “huh” after every phrase. 2 PM second Sunday in August in Alabama usually ranges between 92 – 98 degrees F. Often it is over 100 degrees F. It doesn’t take long for any cool air to disappear. My father would complain that I was a little sleepy during these meetings. I know now I was merely in the first stages of heat stroke.

Then he added this note: “Hope you are doing well. Praying for you, Marlene and the boys. God Bless, Paul Lynch PS: “Ray, Marlene and the Boys” sounds like a Country music group. Keep that in mind for your next career.” 9:31 AM Details, details … I’m speaking in the chapel service at Crossway Books in Wheaton at 11:30 AM. Afterwards I’m going to lunch with Ted Griffin… . Then at 5:45 PM I’m doing my first-ever radio interview in Yuma, Arizona, on radio station KCFY. I’ve never been to Yuma, but I know it’s in the middle of the desert. Click here for the current weather in Yuma. At the moment, it’s 82, going up to a balmy 104 this afternoon.

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