This has been a rather downer of a week. Last week we returned home from Alabama to three days filled with long hours of office work—plus teaching Wednesday evening (I've just begun a series on Israel's National Anthem—Deut. 32) and doing another week's radio—and then driving to Ohio on Friday to teach over the weekend. We got back home on Monday afternoon and Tuesday I was completely washed out.
I have begun to have some new “site specific” pain, so I was at the doctor's office Wednesday and Friday. I did get the next Grace Journal to the post office on Friday, after visiting the doctor—45 mailing trays and $2,300+ in postage! Look for it in your mail box soon.
By the way, the doctor gave me an antibiotic that turned out to cost $16.90 per tablet! Good thing it was only for 10 days!! As Cynthia and I left the Pharmacy she commented that if I got any worse we'd end up in the “poor house” this year instead of next. With no insurance to cover these things, it has become a real challenge just to decide to stay healthy.
This morning I attended a Bible conference in Oak Park, sponsored by West Side Grace Ministries. This is largely an African-American congregation (one of three genuinely outstanding Black grace churches in Chicagoland—Art Johnson and James Kelley lead the others). Brother Mike McDaniel is doing a fine job ministering to and with this excited group of grace believers. Mike is a good preacher of the message of grace and I rejoiced to hear his opening message—a really powerful presentation of the clear, unadulterated grace gospel.
As I listened to Mike, I was struck by the surroundings. Oak Park is one of the most “sophisticated” and “blended” communities in America. It prides itself in being on the cutting edge of societal evolution, as it were. We met in a beautiful community center on a gorgeous day. Our second floor meeting hall had the windows open so the delicious spring breeze could waft through the room. As Mike spoke it was to a background of city noises—traffic passing, an occasional siren, a ball game at the nearby park, two people arguing in the distance, families out enjoying the lovely morning—all the things that make up life in the city. And there was Mike, patiently and passionately presenting the gospel of grace over it all. Just what ministry is all about.
One "funny:" Just before the morning meeting got underway, a brother who goes to great lengths to denounce me arrived. As he entered the hall, he saw me across the way. This caused him to immediately depart the scene! Funny how I seem to have that effect on some folks! The Baptist preacher who sat next to me didn't seem to have the same problem! This departed brother missed out on a blessed time. Romans 15:6 comes to mind, but then, who'd ever believe a verse like that!
This evening I took Cynthia to supper at Panera Bread and then to buy a few things for her Sunday School class' graduation tomorrow. We ended up shopping at WalMart—not exactly my favorite place. As I waited on her to finish up, I stood by the checkout lines. The WalMart in Bloomingdale is a veritable united nations. I could identify at least six different languages—doubtless there were more!--as I “people watched.” The world has truly come to us! Again, what an opportunity to reach the world by reaching the world where we live!
Now I'm resting. I'll teach twice tomorrow: Colossians is almost done, maybe three more lessons. I'll probably finish Galatians tomorrow night. It's like a perfect storm for me to conclude both a.m. and p.m. series at basically the same time! Can't remember that happening before. I'll start Philippians and I Thessalonians respectively in the next few weeks so I'm reading them tonight a couple of times before hitting the pillow.
Thanks again for your prayers and interest both in my health and the work of the ministry. There is so much to do and I am so grateful to God that we have so many willing workers to stand in the gap. This is a wonderful day to be serving our soon coming Savior. I occasionally hear someone say something about the “grace movement” not having much grace or movement. That's just not the case in the circles where we fellowship!