Thursday, September 29, 2005

Secular Bible Text Developed For Public Schools

Yahoo had the following link to a Christian Science Monitor article. Link.

I'm all for studying the Bible in puiblic schools. In fact I took a Bible as Literature class at the community college I attended. But, it is a very hollow feeling for a Christian to look at the Bible as purely literature and not the inspired Word of God. And it is very frustrating when the professor or teacher doesn't agree with your view on the Bible's authority and inspiration. The Bible is worthy to be studied as an incredible assembly of literature, but it is so much more than a good read.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dad's Health: An Update

My Dad continues to improve slowly. I talked to his wife Sharon yesterday and the doctor told him that the reason he was vomitting was due to a viral infection. He appears to be doing better physically. He still is not doing well as far as memory and disorientation. They have been referred to a neurologist for him to undergo testing to see if he has an onset of dimentia or alzheimers. His memory has been fading over the last few years, but we have written it off to aging. Maybe it is more than that, so it will be nice to know. But, for now his health has improved to the point where he is not in critical condition. I will continue the updates periodically. Please continue to pray for him, Sharon, and our family. It was a scare with the possiblility of a stroke, but now we have a little more time to work with. You just never know when the Lord will be calling you home, and it is sobering when you realize you don't have any control over the end of your tiime on earth. Please don't wait until it is too late to trust in Jesus Christ. Do it now!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dad's Health: More Progress

I talked with my Dad a little bit today and he sounded fairly coherent, but tired. He said he was feeling better, but that he has a lot of things wrong with him. He wasn't very forthcoming with information. I have a suspicion that there is something major wrong with him and he is afraid to tell us. I'll keep probing. But, it was good to actually talk with him today.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dad's Health: A Little Progress

Well, my Dad had a little better day today. He ate a little more and spoke a couple of more words. He still seems disoriented, and is very shaky, to the point that Sharon must feed him. But, he is making a little progress. Because he felt a little better today they did not go to the hospital. They will visit his doctor on Monday and she will probably admit him for more tests.

I am still worried about him, and I think it was either a stroke or a very quick onset of Alzheimers. Either way the prognosis isn't good.

Please pray for my Dad, his name is Dick. Please pray the the Lord gives strength to both him and his wife Sharon as they go through this. And please pray for the salvation of both of them. They both attended church at times in their lives, but neither one has ever given their life to the Lord. I have been praying for their salvation daily for about 10 years, but it is never too late.

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Dad's Health

I got a phone call from my Dad's wife last Saturday and she told me she was taking my Dad to the Emergency Room. He had bee vomitting all day and was very shaky. They couldn't find anything wrong with him other than his upset stomach so they released him. I have been trying to call him all week and would get Sharon, but she said he couldn't talk because he wasn't feel up to it. The last two days I haven't been able to get through. Finally I got through this afternoon. From what she told me today it sounds a lot worse than she told me at first. It sounds like my Dad might have had a stroke. He has been vomitting all week, has only said 2 words since last Saturday, is shaky, and very disoriented. They will be going back to the hospital tomorrow for more tests. Please pray for his health and for all of us surrounded by this situation.

A 30 Year High School Renuion Shocker

As you can tell from the last post, this hasn't been a very good week. Last night wasn't a good time either.

I haven't had too much of an interest in High School reunions. But, this year marked my 30 year reunion. I live in St Louis, about 2000 miles from the high school I graduated from (Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta, California), so I didn't attend, but have had some wonderful connections with my old classmates through E-Mail and our alumni webpage. In particular I have gotten to spent time with Mark and John a summer ago and have had a flurry of E-Mail traffic come through from my fellow Fremont Elementery School alumni. They are a great group of people.

But, last night I was looking through my alumni webpage and noticed that a favorite friend of my named Nancy had passed away. I knew Nancy from Junior High and High School and we had attended church together for many years while we were in school. I was a bit troubled by the write up about her on the alumni page.

Nancy was one of the sweetest and most caring people I knew. But the In Memoriam write up said,

Sadly, Nancy passed away in January, 1995, shortly before our 20th reunion. Since learning of her death, it's haunted me that I couldn't help her. If only I'd known of her troubles, I might have been able "be there" for her. So, this is my way of "being there". Nancy was a lovely, kind-hearted person, who gave of herself. As a very talented artist, she saw the world through, perhaps, different eyes, but eyes that saw and interpreted the world beautifully in her art. She was a free-spirit, but down-to-earth in many ways. Nancy had a way to make you feel "better", like everything was going to be OK. And it usually was. Unfortunately, Nancy made some choices that eventually took her away from all of us. She will forever be remembered for the dear person she was, and her friends will hold close to them always, the memories of the true angel that she is.

This doesn't even sound like the same Nancy. So, last night I E-Mail one of my freinds, the one who wrote the in memoriam and asked him what had happened to Nancy. Larry told me she had passed away from a heroine overdose. I was floored and am still floored today. This can't be the same person I went to church with and thought was so sweet.

Apparently Nancy had met someone that she later married that got her into all sorts of things I could never have imagined. I am left speachless. How does someone who walked the Christian walk abandon all that they stand for and end up perishing from a herione overdose? How does someone ruin another persons life, a person they love so much that they marry and plan to stay together forever, so completely?

I guess I'll be pondering these questions for a while. I didn't sleep much last night after hearing Larry's explanation of what happened. If you have any words of encouragement please leave them here in the comments for all to see.

I praise God that I know I am secure in my relationship with Him, but hearing this scares me for the type of life my kids will grow up living. They love the Lord, like Nancy did when I knew her, but it is hard to think that this could happen to them. It kind of shakes your world.

I Used To Be A Fervent Christian

"I used to be a fervent Christian". This is the second most disappointing statement I have heard in a long time. It came right after the most disappointing one.

A week ago our ministry at McKendree College hosted a good friend and a dynamic brother in the Lord, Phil Nelson. Phil is the collegiate evangelism strategist for the Illinois Baptist State Association. He is so bold in the faith and shameless in his witnessing that I feel convicted about my lack of witnessing every time I am around him.

Before our Thursday night service Phil and I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Dr Jazz in Lebanon, Illinois. A lot of the students active in our collegiate ministry work at Dr Jazz. Last Thursday we were served by a young lady that had been to our ministry a couple of times last year. One of Phil's callings is to make Jesus Christ an issue in every setting he is in. He also never wastes an opportunity to try to get people to refocus on their relationship with God. So, after we finished eating he asked our server his first questioin , "I am a campus minister and I always ask, If you were to die tonight where would you go?"

Knowing that the server had been to our ministry and had heard the Gospel explained last year I knew she would say, "I'm going to heaven." And she did! I was very proud.

Phil's next question is, "Why do you believe you will go to heaven?"

Knowing that the server was well trained last year the few times she attended our ministry I knew she would say that she believes she will go to heaven because the blood of Christ her Lord covers all her sins.

What was her reply? "Because I have done right with most of the people that I come across."

What? I couldn't believe I heard her say that. She thinks she will go to heaven because she is a good person? To hear that out of someone you have taught Bible Study to is shattering. It was the most disappointing statement I have heard in a long time. It made me reevaluate what I have been doing and whether or not we are reaching students with the proper message in our ministsry.

Then Phil askes the server if she has any religious affiliation. And her reply? "I used to be a fervent Christian." Another horrible thing to hear.


"Because there are just too many hypocrites in the Christian faith," she responded.

Phil did what I thought was an excellent job in explaining to her that her relationship with the Lord is a personal thing and she shouldn't let the hypocracy of others get in her way of pursuing a relathip with God.

I was floored, maybe I take the ministry we do at McKendree too personal, but it really shook me last week. We can't make students believe in the Lord and we can't force them to make a commitment to Him. That isn't our responsibility. Our responsibility is only to present His word. I guess I took comfort in one of my favorite passages,

Isaiah 55:10-11:

10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat,

11 So My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it [to do]."

Praise God that if we present His word it will not return empty!

I know that the server at Dr Jazz will be running this scenario over and over through her mind the next few weeks. And I know that because of Phil's obedience to witnessing she will be pondering her future. Praise God for the faithfulness of servants like Phil.

Thank You Erin


I owe you the world's biggest apology. I am terribly sorry and deeply embarrassed that I haven't pass on a word of thanks yet for the tea and the encouraging note. Your envelope came while I was on vacation and when I returned I was immediately immersed in a new semester at the McKendree College Baptist Collegiate Ministry and then leading the Air Mobility Command geographic information support for Hurricane Katrina. I walked into my kitchen at home last night and began shuffling papers around and uncovered your envelope. I felt terrible. I can't believe it was covered up for nearly 2 months! I guess it shows what a state of panic I have been living in lately.

Anyhow, I read the incredible note, brewed some wonderful tea, and relaxed for a few minutes last night; exactly what I needed. Praise God I have a wonderful friend like you. Please accept my apology and a heartfelt belated wish for a happy blogging birthday!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

This Week At The Gate

Thanks to all of you who came out this week to help us kick off a new year at The Gate. We appreciate the great turnout.

Wednesday Night we had a super Bible Study with Emma leading us in "Being Real With The Lord." Thanks Emma for a wonderful evening dedicated to knowing what it means to be truly broken before the Lord. It fed right into Thursday Night when Phil Nelson came and shared with us about our responsibility to make the Lord an issue in each class we take and use our lives on campus as an opportunity to tell others about our Lord. Thanks Phil for a convicting evening. I came away knowing that I haven't taken my responsibily to share Christ as seriously as I should. I let way too many opportunities to make Christ an issue slip by.

Please join us this week. Here's what we have planned:

Monday Sept 12:
Men's Bible Study at 8:00pm at Mike Cheeseman's Apartment in West
Women's Bible Study at 8:30pm at The Gate

Tuesday Sept 13:
Prayerwalk at 6:30am in the McKendree Quad

Wednesday Sept 14:
Bible Study at 7:30pm at The Gate

Thursday Sept 15:
Bible Study at 7:30pm at The Gate
Lounge Worship at 9:00pm at The Gate

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois. Here's a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate. Link.

Visit our Blog located at for the latest information on meeting times, events, and news.

I hope to see you this week. God bless you all.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Help

Hey everyone,

Below is an E-Mail from Serena Butler of the Illinois Baptist State Association to the BCM Directors. She is planning a hurricane relief trip during Christmas break. Please see the details below. Please keep this in your minds as you plan for your vacation.

God bless you

Rick Marshall

Subject: Hurricane Relief and Mission Trip
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 10:38
From: "Serena Butler"
To: BCM Directors

I hope that the first two weeks or so of school are going well with you. On top of regular things that students deal with at this time, they are now feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina. I have several students from my group at ISU that have been effected by family members losing their homes and not knowing where to go for help. One student was planning to begin seminary at New Orleans in January, so his plans have changed.

Many of you may know that I took a group of students to Florida over Christmas break to help with cleanup after the hurricanes of last year. I have received several emails about a trip to the Gulf Coast this coming Christmas break and am in the process of planning such a trip. If you or your students would like to go, or would like more information, let me know. There is a strong possiblilty that we could send several teams to different places if there is enough interest.

By now you should have also received some bookmarks to help with promotion for Axiom.

If you have specific prayer requests, please let me know so that I can intercede for you.

In Him,