Thursday, November 6, 2003

November 6, 2003

3:27 PM Tickets for Two From Galilee (December 6-7, two performances on Saturday, one on Sunday afternoon) go on sale this Sunday. We sold out quickly last year and expect the same this year. 3:26 PM The congregation gave $24,601 to the Building Fund last Sunday. 2:50 PM Chuck Colson offers some historical perspective on President Bush’s signing of the ban on partial-birth abortion. One excerpt:

Often Christians say the culture war is too much for us: We’re losing all the battles; we can’t win; maybe we should just give up and take care of our churches. No. No. No. Never despair. Never give up. It would have been tempting that dreary September afternoon in the marble room when we saw yet another defeat to just give up. But the movement kept pressing on. Now, finally Congress has passed a ban for the third time, and–thank God–a president has the courage to sign it into law. The lesson? Don’t quit–truth wins in the end. Don’t retreat into our sanctuaries. Let’s do our duty and resolve to keep fighting until this dreadful villainy–taking innocent human lives–is eradicated.

1:49 PM Construction update: I just took a little tour of all the various construction areas at the church. Amazing progress everywhere. Gym: Drywall is up, new ceiling being installed today. Former gym stage: Huge progress here. New classrooms and hallway rapidly taking shape, electrical work appears to be mostly done, metal framework in place, drywall soon. West wing air conditioning: Lots of duct work in the Dining Room, Parlor and Heritage Room. Unit to be installed on the roof. New electrical service: Installed and working. New nursery: Work continues. Portico: Dramatic progress here. Much stonework around the new entrance, massive steel beam installed by the former west wing entrance, wood frame for the portico roof about halfway done. I ran into Scott who works for Bulley & Andrews, the construction company. He said they were pleased to finally be making progress after quite a few delays and unforeseen issues that slowed us down for a few weeks. I am told that the gym and new classrooms will be usable sometime around Thanksgiving with the entire project scheduled for completion by mid-January. 8:36 AM William E. Blackstone one final time: Here’s an article linking Blackstone, the evangelical commitment to Israel, and President Bush. It’s called Zion Haste. There are some fascinating links at the end of the article. One excerpt:

Christian Zionism began with William E. Blackstone, a real estate developer and unconventional minister who settled in the Chicago suburbs in 1870. Intense emphasis on Palestine’s role in the upcoming end of the world began even earlier, notably with the work of Plymouth Brethren leader John Nelson Darby. Yet Darby’s views, known as dispensational premillennialism’ had more detractors than supporters in the late nineteenth century. This didn’t bother Blackstone. Blackstone, who could almost hear the clock ticking down humanity’s final days, called Palestine “God’s sun-dial.” He frequently advised, “If anyone desires to know our place in God’s chronology, our position in the march of events, look at Israel.” By the mid-1880s, Blackstone had shifted from mere timekeeping to attempts at speeding up the cosmic chronology. In 1887, he helped form the Chicago Committee for Hebrew Christian Work to evangelize Jews and thus ready them for Christ’s harvest. On a parallel track, he agitated for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, both to shield Jews from oppression (particularly in Russia) and to fulfill biblical prophecy.

I have noted before that Blackstone lived for a time at 941 Lake Street, which is now our west parking lot. Here’s a picture of the Blackstone home, taken in the 1920s. 8:19 AM This Sunday we join thousands of other churches in observing the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We begin with a prayer breakfast on Saturday morning, a film about the persecuted church on Saturday night, then on Sunday morning Dr. Scott Hafemann of Wheaton College will speak in all four services. On Sunday night we will have a panel discussion on the persecuted church and an opportunity to write postcards to imprisoned Christians around the world. This is my personal comment: These are busy days for all of us, and they seem to get busier as we approach the holiday season. Please don’t let this weekend pass by without getting involved. Few of us know anything about persecution for our faith. We may be laughed at or ridiculed from time to time, and someone may make a snide remark, but few of us will ever go to jail for our faith or be physically attacked because we believe in Jesus. But that happens every day to believers in other countries. Whatever we do this weekend will hardly recompense for the suffering that Christians endure for the sake of Jesus every day. I write these words from the safety and comfort of my computer terminal, knowing that my greatest frustration is getting a citation for not having an Oak Park parking sticker on my car. I appeal to everyone who reads these words to get involved somehow this weekend in remembering our brothers and sisters who suffer for their faith. Do something, however small it might be. “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). 8:17 AM Some noteworthy articles: John Kass on President Bush and the ban on Partial-Birth Abortion. David Limbaugh on the culture wars. Ross McKenzie on the culture wars.

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