my caribou coffee homeless friend

This afternoon I’m spending a couple of hours at Caribou.  This is where I come when I want to get a bunch of work done, particularly if that involves studying as it does today.  There are a couple of benefits of being a regular at the coffeeshop.  One of those is that the wonderful baristas are making my drink before I even order.  “The regular” for me is a small, in-house, espresso.  Oh man, it’s so good!  And just the trick for that post-lunch sleepiness.  Another benefit is that I get to catch up with some of my homeless friends who I would normally only see at Parkview on Sunday.  A couple of days ago one of these friends told me she hasn’t been feeling well.  Today she told me that, while she’s not well yet, she is feeling better.

I probably will never know the crap many of these folks go through every day.  I mean, what would my friend do if she wasn’t feeling better but worse?  Where would she go to rest?  I guess I was reminded to pray for this person today and the others she represents.  I’m glad I’ll see her on Sunday, and maybe the next time I’m at Caribou.  Sometimes I wonder if, aside from praying and ordering her the occasional smoothie and muffin, there’s something else I could do for my homeless friend.

Something to be praying about.

summer funner theatre: it’s coming

I heard from Terry this morning that the morning Summer Funner Theater (referred to as “sft” by those in the know) session has filled up. Very cool. There are still a few spots in the afternoon session. If you, or someone you know, wants to sign up their kids, call Bette at the church office (630 469 4306).

Terry also mentioned that they are looking for camping equipment to use as props next week during sft. If you’ve got anything that fits the bill- you know, that box that’s somewhere in your basement- let Bette or Terry know this week. Thanks!

scott mcknight on the "robust gospel"

One of the blogs I link to on this site is Leadership Journal’s Out of Ur.  Today there is a post from Skye Jethani, who recently attended a conference where he heard Scott McKnight (whose blog, Jesus Creed, I also link to here) speak on the nature of the Gospel.  Scott, who teaches at North Park University, is that rare theologian who speaks and writes in language most of us can understand.

If you have a couple of minutes, take a look at Skye’s recap of Scott’s conference talk.  Scott differentiates the “popular evangelical gospel” with a “robust gospel presentation.”  Included among the characteristics of a robust Gospel are,

  • A robust gospel cannot be “tractified.”
  • Bible readers cannot skip from Genesis 3 to Romans 3.
  • The “problem” is finally resolved in “four atoning moments”: the life of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Fascinating stuff.  It’s these kinds of thoughts and questions that make me think about how we invite people to place their faith in Jesus.  While the Gospel message is beautifully simple, it’s also wonderfully deep.  I think it’s that balance, simplicity and depth, that Scott is encouraging us to consider.

volunteer celebration…tonight!

OK, if you don’t know about the Parkview Community Church Volunteer Celebration by now, well, I’m not sure what to say.  But here is your one last reminder.  Tonight is the night!  If you have volunteered at PCC over the last year you are invited.  If you have volunteered somewhere in the community over the last year you are invited.  I believe close to 200 people have told us they’re coming.  However, (pastor) Brian and (pastor) Chuck are in charge of food for the celebration and I know for a fact they bought more than enough, so showing up tonight even if you didn’t RSVP is not a problem.  The bottom line: if you gave your time to serve this year we want to honor you tonight.

The staff is showing up at 4:00 to get things set up, but everyone else is invited to come at 6:00.  I really hope you can make it.

the book fair, cicadas, leaders, and baptism

  • This Saturday and Sunday is the Printer’s Row Book Fair in Chicago. I’ve wanted to go to this for the past few years, but I think we may actually make it on Saturday. This could be dangerous…I’d better let Maggie hold onto the money.
  • For the past few months (pastor) Brian has been saying that cicadas are edible and that he wanted to eat one when they finally showed up. Well, I beat him to the punch. At a party last Saturday night, some guy I’d never met had a Tupperware full of bbq’ed cicadas. Wings, eyes, and all. Yes, it was crunchy. No, it didn’t taste like chicken.
  • Today I had lunch in Chicago with one of PCC’s elders who works in the city. We had a great conversation about future ministry at PCC and I walked away once again thanking God for the great leaders He’s blessed us with. Please pray for those at PCC who have been charged with leading the church.
  • We’ve got some baptisms coming up this Sunday. The staff is really excited about the stories we’ll be hearing from those being baptized. You really, really don’t want to miss it! Every baptism is an awesome experience, but I think the stories we’ll hear on Sunday will be particularly energizing.

ray’s random thoughts: honoring our volunteers


HONOR – to direct applause toward those who deserve it.

Did anyone watch the MTV movie awards Sunday night? Ok. . .I didn’t either, but I read about them on Monday morning. Is it me, or do people in the entertainment business love to applaud themselves? Every other week it seems some award show is on TV as the Hollywood glamour crowd pays tribute to their own accomplishments. Part of me cringes at such behavior, yet at the same time, maybe we in the church go to the other extreme and rarely, if ever, acknowledge and applaud the efforts and accomplishments of our people. When it comes to recognizing and honoring others, could it be that somewhere in between never and constantly is a good healthy balance? I think there is.

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