Just to remind you, the
cutoff for the price breaks for the 24-Hour Advent Retreat of Silence
is Thursday, October 29. We’re extending it ten days from the
original cutoff date of Thursday, October 15.
David and I have
spent the last three years making special vacation time to take a
little bunch of grandkids here and there with us as we travel.
Nathanael Mains, aged 12, talked his way into our France pilgrimage, as
did Joscelyn Timberlake, aged 10, who persuaded us we needed her to go
to Scotland with us. We have eight grandchildren who are fast
approaching the time when being with their grandparents won’t be such a
So we are using this window of grandparental
opportunity as much we can—little bunches of kids to the Shakespeare
Festival in Stratford, Ontario each summer, another configuration down
to Aunt Val and Uncle Steve’s cabin in North Carolina, a trip to
Branson, Missouri, etc., etc. David is trying to figure out how to get
them all to Africa to go on a family safari! This past June we took two
of the oldest children on a cruise up the St. Lawrence Seaway from
Montreal, through Quebec City, around and down the Maritimes, finally
disembarking in Boston—and then we spent a week with them on Cape Cod.
donors have given time-share weeks to the ministry (which we used as
thank-you gifts for pastors who have worked with us in the past). David
discovered we could apply our time-share points toward a cruise and
take guests with us (as long as they didn’t mind bunking in our cabin)
for only $99 extra. This is a perfect grandkid opportunity.
of the greatest memories for me of this sea journey was David gathering
Caitlyn, age 16, and Nathanael, now age 13, around him for studies in the
Book of Revelation. David has spent the last two years working in the
Book of Revelation while putting together a study for a client, and my
husband just got hooked!
One of David’s greatest gifts is to
take complicated material and reduce it to its most essential meaning.
This was evident to me again as I listened to him lead the
grandchildren through the book, beginning with chapter 17 (which
includes “The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast”), not chapter one.
To say the least, they were eager: “Papa, are we going to do Revelation
today?” “Papa, we didn’t do our Revelation study this morning. Can we
do it tonight?” (Move over all those popular apocalyptic and
post-apocalyptic films: The
Day After Tomorrow, the to-be-released The Book of Eli, Endgame, The Road, Cyborg and WALL-E; we’re doing
I, who feel like I’ve had enough Revelation for one lifetime, was also
captured by the study. “David, the kids want to do Revelation today,” I
nudged. “Make sure you fit it in.”
teens to be intrigued with a Bible study on this level was amazing!
David decided he would begin a book titled Revelation
for My Grandchildren.
He actually wrote four more chapters during downtime in Africa (I use
my down time to collapse; David through the years has been consistently
productive with his down time!).
He sent whatever he had
completed so far out to the Phoenix grandchildren contingency. I
happened to be in the office last week when the phone call from them
came through to David’s desk. “Oh, Nathanael,” I heard him say. “So
good to hear your voice!”
It seems that their Christian
school gives the kids a fall break in the academic calendar. That
Monday, when Nathanael called, the cleaning ladies had taken over the
house, Carmel herded her kids into Caitlyn’s room to keep them out of
the way, and they had taken an hour and a half to read out loud to each
other the chapters David had sent. “Was your mom afraid?” I asked over
the speakerphone. There had been some comments about the scary portions
of Revelation when we were ship-side. “No,” I could hear my
daughter-in-law’s voice saying in the background. “We really liked the
book. But we want to know what happens!”
With that as
encouragement—something every writer needs; a positive review committee
in the target market—David ducked his head again, determined to finish
up the final chapters and has worked through influenza, and another
grandkid-sitting stint, with the Timberlake kids this time. I left him
this morning rewriting his work by hand onto clean binder paper.
does David feel so impelled to complete this self-assigned task? After
three years in Revelation, he is convinced we must prepare ourselves
and the generations that follow us for the cataclysms the Bible warns
are part of the “end of the age” and before the Second Coming of
Christ. It is impossible to read deeply in the Word and not see what
all the concerned generations before us have seen, beginning with the
New Testament age: Great worldwide suffering is coming for those who
follow Christ. Indeed, much of the international church is undergoing intense persecution even in this hour.
The theme of
Revelation is: Get ready. Be prepared. Make sure you are aligned with
the winning side.
I know this is a well-worn theme. During periods of instability, whacko
self-proclaimed prophetic types have always shouted out doomsday
scenarios. That does not mean, however, that the prophetic messages are
not true and will not come to pass. It means we have to be astute in
our study of Scripture, not fearful ourselves and not manipulative of
those inclined to fear. And we have to accept scenarios that are not
particularly of our own feel-good designing. John, the Apostle, writes in chapter
one: “The Revelation of
Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must
take place. … Blessed is
he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
(Revelation 1:1-3, NKJV)
it be that our Heavenly Father, in His great concern for the American
church—which often blows hot and cold in its devotion, and which
certainly is often indistinguishable in its lifestyle from the general
secular culture—gave a warning with the Y2K chimera? I certainly
stocked several months of dried food in the basement, bottles of water,
extra household supplies, and a 50-gallon drum of water, because when
the power goes out at our house, the electric pump to our well goes
out. Did I do this because of all the apocalyptic notices about our
Internet grid going down as we turned into the 21st century? No, I used
that as an opportunity to be wisely ready, to begin collecting what we
would need to survive for a few months should any kind of systemic
another, more horrific,
opportunity a merciful God gave His American children—to look into the
possibilities of how the national safety we assumed we enjoyed was
really ephemeral in the face of determined national assassins?
this economic collapse—more widespread in its impact on more people,
stretching across the world, not going away quickly—isn’t this another
way God is saying to us, “Get ready. Be prepared. Make sure you are
aligned with the winning side”?
Due to globalization,
worldwide infrastructures are in place—the World Wide Web, for
instance, individual registration unparalleled in previous generations,
that were not in place when those voices cried out in the wilderness of
their days, “Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye! Get ready! Get ready!”
The 2009 24-Hour Retreat
is themed around the Baptist’s cry, “Prepare Ye!” Natalie Lombard, the
fabric artist, is designing an opening session to turn our hearts
toward the questions of preparedness for celebrating the first Advent.
She will be “painting with brooms” to create the visual focus for the
entire 24 hours. We will then go into silence. We will provide prayers
for those who need personal bedtime prayers. We will observe daybreak
the next morning, light moving into the darkness, in silence. We will
eat our meals in quiet. The guided meditations will be formed around
ways to get our hearts ready to hold the holy during the Christmas
season. There will be time for private prayer appointments. Then David
Mains will come and, simply and briefly, as though you were his
grandchildren (he is a white-haired elder, after all), turn all our
hearts toward those meaningful thoughts of preparing ourselves for the
Because we know that many of you carry stress
in your bodies that makes it hard to relax into the silence, Laurie
Mains, my daughter-in-law, a licensed clinical massage therapist, will
give, for an extra fee, 15-minute massages to those who might need a little healing touch.
Advent on the church calendar begins the first week of December, and in
liturgical churches all over the world, readings will include the cry
of John the Baptist, “Prepare
ye the way of the Lord.”
This really is an existential cry, one for all days and for all times.
The question is this (and you need to think about it right now
in order to be ready): “How am I going to prepare myself to celebrate
the First Advent in a holy and meaningful way? What is it going to take
to get myself and the ones I love ready for the Second Advent?”
Count this Soulish Food
as your Advent Alert.
ANNUAL ADVENT 24-HOUR
RETREAT OF SILENCE
The deadline for price breaks has been moved from
Thursday, October 15 to Thursday, October 29. Those who register for
either the Wednesday/Thursday (December 2-3) women’s retreat or the
Friday/Saturday (December 4-5) men and women and couples’ Retreat of Silence will
pay a registration fee of $100. After the October 29 cutoff date, the
fee will be $120 for Wednesday/Thursday or $125 for Friday/Saturday. The cutoff date for registration is November 25. Please register with our volunteer registrar, Melodee Cook, at the following e-mail address:
If you are new or bringing a friend who is new, the fee is $90 each for
Wednesday/Thursday and $95 each for Friday/Saturday.
Prepare Ye! Time: Check-in begins at 4 p.m. on December 2 and December 4. Dinner is
at 6 p.m. Silence Begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday/Friday, and ends at 3:00
p.m. Thursday/Saturday. Ending:
We try to end by 4 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday. Place:
The Bishop Lane Retreat Center in Rockford, IL.
The Lord seems to work each year in remarkable and lasting ways in the
lives of many. He seems, for reasons beyond our knowing, to enter with
us into the silence. Don’t miss this opportunity to become still and to
listen in our increasingly busy, noisy world.
Laurie Mains’ fee for short neck massages (15-, 20- and 30-minute
sessions) will be posted with the materials
you receive upon registering.
The Perfect Eco-Christmas Gift!
Are you interested in focusing more on Christ and less on mass consumerism this Christmas? Proverbs 19:17 reads: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Try multitasking your gift-giving by Buying a Bag … Feeding a Family … and Preserving the Planet! The Global Bag Project’s reusable kanga-cloth bags:
• Are made of sturdy, eco-friendly fabric • Are sized big enough for grocery shopping (instead of using plastic or paper bags) • Include a matching, zippered change-purse with recycled beads rolled from paper • Come in gorgeous kanga patterns and colors with Swahili sayings • Contain a DVD telling the story of the seamstress who made it (and more) • Provide a fair-trade opportunity for needy families to eat and send their children to school!
Note the kanga-cloth sample above with the traditional Swahili proverb. This one reads, “One’s fortunes are planned by God.”
What a great opportunity to honor the person to whom you are giving! “In
your name I’ve purchased this Global Bag Project shopping bag, which
provides sustenance for families lifting themselves out of poverty
while also helping the environment.” Such a simple idea with profound results! Consider purchasing a Global Bag Project shopping bag as a viable option gift-giving option this holiday season.
The Soulish Food e-mails are
posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web
site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to
register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might
want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.
"The question is this (and
you need to think
about it right now in order to be ready): 'How am I going to prepare
myself to celebrate the First Advent in a holy and meaningful way? What
is it going to take to get myself and the ones I love ready for the
Small bags (12” x 10” x 4.5”, without
change purse) = $15.
Add shipping & handling of $4.95 per bag.
Currently payable using checks (made out to "Global Bag Project") or money orders only. Mail to Box 30, Wheaton, IL, 60187.
Global Bag Project shopping bags are sent via priority mail same day as
order received. Immediately available quantities are limited, so order
Our Web site address is www.GlobalBagProject.org
and should be ready to take orders online by the beginning of November,
but the bags we have in stock right now are selling fast with
presentations, store demonstrations, home parties, and people stopping
by the office to see them. We strongly recommend you order
ASAP. There are another 150 ready to be shipped from Africa, and
an order for 300 is in the pipeline, but we are still learning about
supply and demand! If you want to stop by the Mainstay Ministries
offices in West Chicago to choose fabrics, colors and designs, contact
us at email@example.com.