Cynthia and I arrived back home yesterday afternoon. We had a delightful time in Arizona enjoying our kids and the saints of Southwest Bible Fellowship. Their second annual conference went off without a hitch, all their work paying real dividends.
The messages are available at www.ButNow.org. I'd recommend at least listening to John Verstegen's study on prayer; its outstanding. The attendance was actually larger than expected (a high-grade problem) and the Saturday afternoon Q&A demonstrated folks are really studying the Word! The sessions covers several "grace alternative" topics--practical instructions indeed.
Sunday afternoon I had to opportunity to preach at the Maricopa County jail. "Sheriff Joe" bills himself as "America's toughest sheriff." Upon entering the jail, I was immediately impressed with how clean and efficient it is. The staff is professional and no-nonsense, yet very helpful. Sheriff Joe considers the volunteers his "secret weapon," so Calvin and Rick have good access to the inmates. I've preached in a lot of jails and prisons but don't recall one of this caliber. My hats off to Sheriff Joe and his deputies. The inmates may be criminals, but they are clearly treated with respect and dignity--unless they prove themselves otherwise (this is the sheriff who puts rule offenders in pink shorts to identify them).
We were announced and a group of over 20 gathered in the meeting room. I taught for the whole hour, going over the gospel and basic right division. There were several first timers, but most meet weekly with Calvin Wright and have a good grasp of the gospel and issues of grace.
It is a benediction for a dad to be able to labor with his son in the work of the ministry and I praise God for the work in Mesa--September marked their 10th anniversary. Rick is clearly his own man and the men who are working with him seem to have a genuine appreciation for his leadership and vision. That too blesses a dad's heart. When you have mature men (and women!) to do the work of ministry with you, you are blessed indeed. My son is, indeed, so blessed--and his ministry is a blessing.
I have another follow-up check up with my urologist this week. So far the cancer seems to be well into remission. Although I'm still enjoying a few lingering symptoms they are nothing I can't deal with--they keep me mindful of my "age & stage" as I progress through life. Just "bumps in the road," as the saying goes. Thanks to so many who keep asking about my progress. I do appreciate your interest and prayers.
Tomorrow I'll be doing radio--4 half hour programs and 20 quarter hour ones. Next week I go to Detroit to do TV. Also trying to finish the next Grace Journal and getting ready to teach John 3 tomorrow night. I love being a preacher of the message of grace!