Book Signing Update & Other Stuff

booksigning1The book signing was a blast. A big thank you to everybody who braved the cold rain and stopped by.  For two hours, a steady stream of friends and well-wishers walked through the doors.  The owners at Bibles, Books, and More were excited–it was great exposure for them.  I really want to support the Christian bookstores in town.

I was so encouraged by each one who took the time to show up and to pray.  Thank you.

booksigning2I’d appreciate your prayers as an army of germs claws through my sore throat.  I’ll be conducting the funeral services this Friday, in Chicago, for a very dear uncle. “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.” (Psalms 116:15, NKJV). Pray for comfort for our extended family… and that I’ll be able to share Christ clearly and powerfully.

ATTENTION CHICAGOANS:  I’ll also be speaking at Windy City Church on Sunday, Feb 22. Please come and visit.  The service starts at 10:00 a.m.  We can have a mini-reunion… I hope to see you.  For a map, click here.

An Artistic Soul?

fisheyelaneI have never possessed an artistic soul–not consciously, at least. I like action moves and adventure stories. Give me some Louis L’Amor and Jack London, and I’m good to go. For movies, the Mummy and Independence Day. I thought Alien was high art, and Tremors is genius.  Excuse me…

Honey, if you keep rolling your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.

I’m back.  I was going to say, before the interruption, that as artistically challenged as my soul may be, I am genuinely moved by the art that adorned my high school.  You read that right.  Lane Technical High School towers like a Dickensian factory over the well-traveled route to Chicago’s Wrigely Field.  Today, its student body hovers over 4,000.  In my day, almost 5,000.

Lane has a 100 year+ history, glorious both for academics and athletics. But one feature in its history has gone almost overlooked, until recently:

Hallway art.

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Yep. Gigantic murals, 20 feet long, adorning the hallways of an ancient Chicago Public High School.  I remember feeling small when I looked at them. Sixty-six works that captured in freeze-frame the dawn of the industrial age.  The murals date to the 1930’s and before. The pictures on this page don’t do them justice.  Check here for more details.

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woodrelEach one tells a story. Each one triggers memory.  The murals were restored in the 1990’s, and are currently on display in the Chicago Cultural Center (itself, an architectural work of art). I have thought of them lately, and found some online. I find them moving. I’m sure there’s a touch of nostalgia here, but that’s not all.  I love them. Maybe because they tell of an era when everything seemed possible and we were all optimists.  Maybe because they’re amazing expressions of talent.  Or maybe because they’re simply beautiful.

Maybe, I dig art after all, and have never realized it. Maybe, as I’m growing older, I’m also growing more mature.

Yeah.  That’s it… I do have an artistic soul.  Excuse me…

Thanks, Babe. Be right there!

American Idol is on.  Gotta run.

Evangeli*&!@#$, pt 2

scaryevangelist.jpg

Today’s post continues the previous post on Evangelism as a dirty word.

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” Acts 8:35, NKJV.

The “him” in question is an Ethiopian traveller, a court official from Egypt. He had been reading the Suffering Servant prediction from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. God supernaturally leads Philip to an encounter with him just at the right time.

I love the verbs here. Peter 1) opened his mouth. 2) preached Jesus to him. May I lovingly, humbly suggest the same two verbs for all who would practice evangelism today? Continue reading

HeavenQuake… (on LOIS PETERSON)

There was a high magnitude quake in the evangelistic spiritual realm over Chicago today. At its epicenter was the passing away of one of the finest evangelists I have ever known.

I first heard the name of Lois Peterson disdainfully–almost as if the speaker was spitting. She was not popular among the old guard at my church.

  • “I can’t believe that she lets people smoke at her Bible study.”
  • “A woman shouldn’t teach men.”
  • “She’s not under anybody’s authority.”
  • “She doesn’t believe in the old sin nature.”
  • “Her ear rings are too big.”
  • “She said ‘damn’.”

Others despised her for these reasons. The rest of us loved her for them.

Continue reading

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (on Airplanes)

I am posting this story before I know the ending. I just got off the plane in Sacramento. I don’t know how the story ends yet…

This post is about my experience with U.S. Airways this past week.

In order to make this post as interactive as possible, I wil invite you to insert the adjective of your choice at opportune times.

Please select from the following list: asinine, moronic, imbecilic, rude, ridiculous, troglodytic, stupid, silly, needless, blasted, cretinous, half-witted, daft, insane, lunatic, maniacal, lousy, disgusting, crappy, ignorant, dense, wooden-headed, stinky, pea-brained, half-baked, piece-of-junk, cheap, poorly-made, defective, shoddy, deficient, laughable.

Continue reading

Kung Fu Suburbia

I am really proud of my nephew, Joe Giovannetti. A student at North Park University in Chicago, Joe co-wrote a play: a rock ‘n roll graphic novel for the stage. It was the best attended play in North Park history. Check out this video preview.

A fun play about courage, purpose, love, loyalty, and friendship.  I wish I could have been in Chicago for it.

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Margi’s Memo: Some Morons I Met

Margi’s Memo
April 18, 2007
From: 
Margi.  A wife, mom, attorney, professor.  Married to a pastor.
To:
All the Gals in our Church
Re:
Some Morons I Ran Into

As a parting shot, I called out, “You morons!” Then I hustled my daughter to her ballet class.

The morons in question were total strangers. The event was me rushing to get Josie to ballet on time. The occasion was them stealing my parking spot. The bottom line was how well I represented Jesus Christ. Not very well, I’m afraid.

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Downtown Redding is confusing. Josie’s ballet school is downtown. One thing you should know about me is that I am extremely time conscious, or at least I was until I had children. I now understand why people are late.

Click here for the rest of this entry.

Laugh Attack

It’s all Pam’s fault. She started it. This has never happened to me before.

I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically, at church, on stage, while preaching, during the middle of a message, while reading Scriptures. I mean snorting, out-of-breath, laughter with tears coming down my face… in front of an almost-packed house and our comfortably full Video Cafe where over a hundred more people watched a live feed. Har! Har! Har! laughteronback.jpeg

This has never happened to me before. At least not while I’m preaching.

Continue reading

Chuck the Chicago Mechanic

The following encounter is true… it happened in Chicago at a repair shop in the 1990’s. The repair shop wasn’t Chuck’s and wasn’t named after him. He just worked there… 

Here’s a teaser: this is the start of my Easter Message this weekend… what do you think the point is?

Chuck the Mechanic

car on lift

I’ve got to tell you the story of Chuck, the car mechanic. Some time ago my car needed a brake job. This was when I lived in Chicago. So I brought my car in, and they took it right away, put it up in the air, and started working on my car. I struck up a conversation with a very interesting mechanic named Chuck.

Chuck was a guy’s guy. He was tough. He was smart. He was completely rough around the edges. Meaning he was a typical, blue-collar tough guy.

The only thing that Chuck knew about me was that my car needed brakes… actually it needed to have the wheel cylinders rebuilt. So Chuck felt all kinds of freedom to say all kinds of things to me, because to him, I was just another normal guy just like him.

Continue reading