11:37 PM Cotton Bowl countdown: 37 hours, 23 minutes. 11:35 PM The house is empty again. Nick and John Mark and Caleb are at a party in Elmhurst. Josh and Mark and Dave McKee went bowling and then downtown. So it’s Marlene and me. We had some some sparkling cranberry juice that curled my hair. She went to bed and I’m going soon. I watched the festivities from Times Square—that’s close enough for me. 11:30 PM Wonderful time at the Prayer Party tonight. We filled the Dining Room and had to put down extra chairs. Over the years, this service has always drawn a very eclectic crowd. There is always a core of people who come every year, and then there are always lots of new people who come to the service. In many ways, the Prayer Party is a microcosm of our church. I knew most but not all of those who came tonight. During the service we were given time to write down one specific need we faced in 2003 and the way God met that need. Then people taped their pages on bulletin boards around the room. We ended up with dozens of testimonies that were like the Old Testament “stones of remembrance.” I read many of the stories and found myself greatly moved by the living memorials to God’s faithfulness in the nitty-gritty details of life. Lots of music tonight and plenty of time for people to share their personal stories. Deeply moving and faith-building. Good for the soul to hear how God answered prayer in 2003. 6:55 PM Michael Novak and John Templeton look ahead to 2007 and predict what America will look like if the ACLU has its way. Read this article! It’s not a pretty picture, but read it anyway. (Thanks to Randy Birkey for the tip.) 5:38 PM Ramesh Richard will be speaking tomorrow on a global evangelistic telecast that will reach millions of poeple around the world. Here are his own words:
Recent activity worldwide (25,000 dead after Iran’s earthquake, hundreds dead in China after a gas explosion, dozens dead in Pakistan over an assassination attempt), have sensitized international audiences for the upcoming New Year’s Day telecast, “Kill Death: Confronting Humanity’s Inevitable Enemy.” As you know our Lord Jesus shines at death more than any other alternate claim for ultimate allegiance.
5:32 PM More good renovation news: The permanent surface has been completely installed in the gym. It is medium brown in the court area with a dark green border. The workers have placed hundreds of bricks on the surface to ensure a tight bond with the plywood subfloor. 5:23 PM Quick hits … The “Prayer Party” goes from 7:30-PM tonight in the Dining Room… . New Year’s Eve greetings to Kent and Linda Lou Ragsdale in Haiti. Heard from them earlier today. Just ran across an article called Is the U.S. the Next Haiti?. It begins with this depressing sentence: “Haiti, independent two hundred years Thursday, holds a distinction that is almost but probably not quite unique: it was richer per capita in 1804 than it is in 2004.” Having been to Haiti four times, I can attest to the truth of that statement, amazing as it seems. The article offers reasons why America in 2204 could be worse off economically than it is today… . Also a special shout-out to our good friends Dave and Joy Mitchell. Dave is the pastor of Calvary Church of Santa Ana, California. During our Dallas Seminary days, Marlene and Joy rode together for a year when they both taught at Trinity Christian Acadamy in Addison. 5:11 PM Took my final bike ride of 03 this afternoon. Incredible weather today—low 40s, clear and sunny. Final total for the year: 3646 miles. Since I started riding my bike a few years (and a few bikes) ago, my grand total is 14,040. Last Year Skip Olson told me I should try to ride “round the world,” or 24,000. So I’m over halfway there—which means I’m in India or Thailand or somewhere like that.