Friday, April 25, 2014

Vital Signs Ministries: An Update

If you are a frequent visitor to Vital Signs Blog, you will have noticed that activity has cooled here in the last few weeks. I previewed a few of the reasons for that in a post last month (Changes in Vital Signs Blog?) but I thought I would be a bit more specific this morning about what other Vital Signs activity has been getting our attention.

* The regular schedule of "When Swing Was King" continues. That means presentations at 11 senior living facilities (including nursing homes and dementia care centers) every month. Most of the work in creating our 23 different volumes has been done. (Each of those volumes has 12 original big band songs, a couple hundred photos in a Power Point slide show, and an original narration to accompany the program.) However, I still take a few hours every month to change a song or two...and a lot of the photos. We want to make sure each volume is as sharp and entertaining as it can be.

* Another important element of "When Swing Was King" outreach is the development of friendships with residents and staff. We have begun to emphasize this even more by planning into our schedule plenty of time after the show for visiting.

* We continue our prayer presence in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion mill. We are there at least 4 mornings a month.

* I recently finished a major revision of a pro-life lecture I gave a couple of years ago, "Warnings to the World: The Mad Scientist in Literature." It will appear on our new website and we may have a reading and discussion event at our home. I am also editing selected sermons for use as web articles, possibly to compile them into a single publication. And finally, I'm also writing something that started as a short story which has turned into a much larger project. It's called "The Christmas Room."

* I gave a talk to a Grace University class in March. Upcoming presentations include a memorial service, a talk at Country Bible Church, and a talk at Pius X High School in Lincoln.

* We have been hosting (here at our house) a series of lectures on the Monday nights of April. These taped lectures are from the Rocester L'Abri conference we attended in late February. To prepare for the evening, I go through my notes from the original lecture and then edit them, add illustrations, and print off copies for those attending in order to help make the lecture easier to follow. We had seven people the first night, fourteen the second Monday, and eight last Monday. Next week is our last lecture. We have talked a bit about continuing such a practice (there are an awful lot of tapes out there of Francis Schaeffer and other L'Abri folks), but we haven't decided anything yet.

* Claire has been working (a lot!) on transferring the Vital Signs Ministries website to a brand new template and server.

* Claire spent some time in correspondence and phone conversations with local political candidates.

* Though the number of posts on Vital Signs Blog has decreased, I have actually increased the number of posts over on The Book Den.

* Claire and I decided to step up considerably step up the pace of our personal correspondence. To that end we created our own stationary and three versions of greeting cards and are now writing 15-20 people every month. That is in addition to the regular LifeSharer letter that is written, printed, folded, stamped and mailed to everyone on our our Vital Signs mailing list. The last one was "The Place of Art in the Christian Life" and you can read it on the website.

* I continue to prepare and preach a weekly sermon at Faith Bible Church. And though I'm technically just the PGS ("perennial guest speaker"), I do get involved in the lives of the people there. That takes a bit of our time too.

* We had a letter-writing party in March which resulted in about 70 pro-life, pro-family letters and cards being sent to politicians, business leaders, and others. We have another scheduled for May.

* We are involved in two reading/discussion projects this spring and summer that involve both Vital Signs and Faith Bible Church. The first is the seven short books of The Chronicles of Narnia. The second involves three books: Heaven by Randy Alcorn, The Heart of Prayer by Jarram Barrs, and Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks.

* Sanity check. Two mornings a week I have coffee and stimulating conversation with Vital Signs colleagues. I find this of great value.

* Other social activities have included visiting with a dear friend who was in from Colorado; meals with friends (including our hosting an Easter dinner for 7); a hospital visit; several coffee meetings with a grieving friend; Claire's attendance at a "double baby shower;" Denny's correspondence with international friends; attendance at a volunteer appreciation dinner at Brookestone Meadows; and attendance at a dinner for Board members of Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research.