4:35 PM An unexpected e-mail from a man who read An Anchor for the Soul and wrote to say that he was giving a copy to his parents who, though religious, do not know Jesus:
As I have done in the past and will continue as long as the Lord gives me breath, I will witness to them. They have a greater knowledge of the scriptures today than they ever have, however, they still have not asked to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts. I will give them this book to read. Pray that all that you have laid out in the book will sink in. Then pray for the Holy Spirit to be loosed into their hearts so that they can enjoy what I have enjoyed all these years of being “born again.”
Authors love receiving messages like that. Then he added this detail:
By the way, you state in the beginning of the book that you wrote it in memory of Gary Olson. This wouldn’t have been the same Gary Olson that was the head football coach at Oak Park High School, would it? I knew him as I was a member of the coaching staff at Proviso East for many years before I finally got out of education.
That would be the very same Gary Olson. I recall that Gary only wrote me two e-mails—but the last one he wrote came the night before he died. He wrote to say he would be glad to read the manuscript version of “An Anchor for the Soul.” The next day he was in heaven, and I was honored to dedicate the book to him. 4:18 PM Passion Movie Update: I just received a copy of John Piper’s brand-new book The Passion of Jesus Christ. (Hat tip to Bob Johnsen.) Piper wrote this book specifically for the opening of the movie. Ted Griffin did the editing. He tells me that Crossway Books turned the manuscript into a book (a very beautiful one at that) in only five weeks. Piper offers 50 short (500-600 words each) meditations on why Christ died. The emphasis is not on who killed Jesus but what purposes he accomplished in his death. The result is a highly readable compendium of biblical theology. Note: He does not discuss the events of Good Friday—the movie covers that in detail. Piper explains what it means for you and me and the rest of the world. Highly recommended. Excellent for Lenten meditation, small group study, personal devotions, and most of all, as a suitable gift for a seeker who goes to the movie and wants to know what it all really means. Buy two copies—one to read, one to give away. 10:54 AM Renovation Update: The workers are putting in the red ceramic roof tiles in the new portico … Work continues on the doorway with the cracked lintel … Tomorrow they will begin painting in the ABF room in the former Resource Center area. 10:53 AM Craig Hammond reports that 98 students and leaders are going on the Allied Force Winter Retreat this weekend. 7:32 AM Bad news from Haiti. That impoverished land is undergoing yet another in a long series of violent rebellions. So far 41 people have died in the uprising—aimed at forcing the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. I was in Haiti last May along with my brother Alan and Von and Vilma Matthews. We pray for the safety of Kent and Linda Lou Ragsdale in Port-au-Prince, and for Henoc Lucien and his family in Cap-Haitien (the 2nd largest city—and scene of some violence in recent days), and for Caleb and Debbie Lucien, for Pastor and Mrs. Sidoine Lucien, and for all our friends at the Jerusalem Baptist Church in Pignon. We pray also for Dr. Guy Theodore and the work of Hospital de Bienfaisance. We have sent teams from Calvary to Haiti on several occasions. I have been to Haiti four times, our youth ministry sent a team to help build the new church in Pignon, and Pastor Caleb Lucien spoke for our Thanksgiving service a few years ago. (To read about our trip in May, click here.) 7:19 AM Passion Watch—15 More Days. Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ premiers on Ash Wednesday, February 25. John Armstrong offers a strong endorsement of the movie, and explains why you should see it. Don Feder, writing from a Jewish perspective, says the movie is not anti-Semitic. And in a related story, NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte, a devout Christian, plans to put an ad for the movie on the hood of his racing car in this Sunday’s Daytona 500.