Dear friends, September 2019
John Bacon (1740-1799) is widely accepted as one of the greatest sculptors in English history. Winner of numerous awards and given high acclaim by the public, his peers, and the royal court, Bacon’s work impressively adorns such treasured landmarks as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey.
Bacon was a committed Christian who wrote his own epitaph which he directed to be etched on his gravestone when his body was buried at Whitefield’s Tabernacle in Tottenham Court. That gravesite (as well as the church itself) was destroyed by Nazi bombs in WW II but the epitaph still echoes through history: “What I was as an artist seemed of some importance while I lived; what I really was as a believer in Jesus Christ is the only thing of importance to me now.”
“The only thing of importance.”
I wrote the above for a recent Vital Signs Blog post. I did so because the account so strikingly shows the grasp all believers should have in the security of their soul’s salvation, coming as it does from the finished work of atonement which Jesus accomplished on the cross. But I was also moved by the artist’s confidence in the eternal result of Jesus’ sacrifice; namely, the Christian’s eternal habitation in the heaven that Jesus is (even now) preparing.
I should also mention that John Bacon’s epitaph was of special relevance to me because of a momentous weekend I have coming up. Indeed, tomorrow Claire and I will drive to Denver for the reunion of Bear Creek High School’s Class of 1969. Now there are only a few things stronger than such a reunion to spark one’s thoughts, emotions, and evaluations of life. But, in my case, there are only a few memories from my high school years that actually seem fresh or vivid. Most of them are like trying to recall scenes from an old movie that you haven’t seen for many, many years — a movie that you didn’t care much for in the first place! You see, it wasn’t until a year after leaving high school that I trusted Christ as my Savior and was thus given His pardon, cleansing, and empowerment to live a new and truly abundant life. Like the English sculptor, I too had discovered “the only thing of importance.” So, Lord; once again I lift my enthusiastic thanks to You for my rescue. And now, please send Claire and I back to this reunion with the same kind of winsome, engaging testimony that your servant John Bacon presented — in both his life and in his death.
Okay, next is a little news about Vital Signs Ministries’ recent happenings. August was an especially busy month for in addition to our regular pro-life presence at the wicked Planned Parenthood abortion business, the ongoing activity on the blogs and social media, and the 11 different “When Swing Was King” presentations, Claire underwent the second of two carpal tunnel surgeries. (She’s recovering nicely.)
We also worked on the itinerary for our October ministry in Great Britain and we finished the summer reading challenge of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia we had created for our church.That finish, by the way, was a very engaging celebration picnic and discussion with 31 people – a third of them kids or teenagers!
And finally, August had me in the study quite a bit as I prepared a) a sermon on hospitality for Grace Bible Church, b) 4 sermons and 4 adult Bibles classes to deliver throughout September for Wellspring Church in Papillion, c) a presentation for a fundraising banquet on September 16th for the Women’s Resource Center in Ogallala, d) an upcoming talk for staff at Assure Women’s Center, and e) dealing with other Bible-oriented topics for essays and correspondence including one on trusting God’s providence despite the chaos all around us and another on what all is involved in a Christian’s being “sealed” in the Spirit.
And what else is coming up – that we know of? Well, besides the September items I’ve already mentioned and the October adventure in Great Britain – all of which we earnestly entreat your prayers for – we have scheduled a festive, fun, and faith-building Vital Signs Ministries pie social on Friday, November 8 at 7:00 PM at Converge Church. (The church is the former Harvey Oaks Church located at 144th and Harvey Oaks Avenue. It’s where we had last year’s pie social with Christine Fidler.) At that meeting, we will enjoy fellowship and delicious desserts while also giving you a review of our ministry in Great Britain, a preview of the Vital Signs Christmas happenings, and an announcement about a couple of neat, new outreaches in our Mercy Ministries to seniors.
Oh yeah, one other thing about the pie social. You can help Claire and I celebrate our 48th anniversary!We really hope to see you there. In closing, let me again encourage you to pray for us in the coming weeks.We deeply appreciate your partnership with us.
P.S. Earlier in the year, I was including in the postscripts a few of the books we had been reading that we would recommend.Well, I’m afraid I overlooked that feature these last few months but I’ll try and return to it now. So, here you go. Our highest recommendations from our reading since way back in April would be: C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia; Joni Eareckson Tada’s Heaven: Your Real Home; Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ; a couple from Jan Karon’s Mitford series; Edith Schaeffer’s L’Abri; C.S. Forester’s WWII novel, The Good Shepherd; Paul Tournier’s The Seasons of Life; John Hampton’s Mere Churchianity; Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations; and Francis Schaeffer’s Pollution & the Death of Man.