Monthly Archives: July 2019

30 Jul 2019

Uptown’s Gangster History

By |2019-08-05T09:04:10-05:00July 30th, 2019|Everyday People|0 Comments

Uptown is full of gangster-related history.

John Dillinger’s body was on 4506 N. Sheridan Rd. in 1934.
Now it’s time for some life-giving history!
I was walking around my Uptown neighborhood on a recent evening, praying some, and inviting a few folks to our new Uptown Church on 939 W. Wilson Ave.  On my journey, I made a stop outside the large dwelling located at 4506 N. Sheridan Rd. This was the building where John Dillinger’s (the notorious bank-robber) body was available for public viewing, a few days after he was gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934.
I had been aware of this building’s morbid history for at least the last 20 years.  (Note: Unless one had been knowledgeable about Chicago’s crime history, one would never know this house’s ghoulish past.  There are no historical markers of any kind.)  I had even convinced the one-time landlord to let a friend and I view the basement room where Dillinger’s body had laid.  And as I recall the room did seem to engulf us in a rather macabre, sickening atmosphere.
Well enough of that. But there is a quote of Dillinger’s that indicates that he knew “his luck” could not last.  “I’m traveling a one-way road, and I’m not fooling myself as what the end will be,” he said. “If I surrender, I know it means the electric chair.  If I go on, it’s a question of how much time I have left.”
So that is a part of Chicago history.  Now it’s time for Uptown to become known for something that’s life-giving.  And Uptown Church, just a block away for where Dillinger’s body once was laid, is now offering a place where one can find hope, deepen relationships, and discover the love of Jesus and a few of his followers.
Everyone is welcome. Sundays.  10 am.
Thanks for stopping by.
22 Jul 2019


By |2019-08-05T08:59:21-05:00July 22nd, 2019|General|0 Comments




I was riding around my hometown of Scotia, NY with my wife, Sandy. I had just recently attended my 50th high school reunion. Now that was a “trip”—in a good way—and I’ll be happy to share some more that another time. I was satisfied to cruise by my family’s old houses, and just think back on 50+ years ago and how life was for me growing in the 50’s and 60’s. Of course, a lot had changed, but then again a lot had not.

Anyways, on our site-seeing jaunt we ran into this garage on the side of the street and it had, “It’s All About Jesus!” proudly displayed for all to see… and ponder.

Now this proclamation was not new to me. Indeed, it had been humbly modeled and repeatedly announced by a dear sister that I got to know many years back. And her “witness” had touched me so much that I just had to write about it. And it is a story that is found in my book, Discovering Jesus in the Least. The following is reprinted from the book.

There’s this one sister who puts a smile on my face nearly every time I
see her. Maybe that’s because she always had a smile on her face.
Janice was a humble, sweet lady, who carried herself with a lot of poise
and dignity. But it did appear as if she was just caught up in another universe.
I mean, she would hear whatever it was that you said, but it didn’t seem to
matter much to her.

In any case, this sister would come by to visit intermittently, whenever
she felt led. And the one utterance that would spring from Janice’s lips more
often than not was: “It’s all about Jesus!” It became her mantra, and it soon
became mine whenever our paths would cross.

One day we were short-handed on the serving line, so I asked her if she
wouldn’t mind helping to serve the food to our guests. She readily agreed,
and joined right in with our other volunteers. As each person made their
way through the serving line, many of them were greeted with “It’s all about
Jesus!” as they were receiving their food.

As I was watching her I felt a little uneasy, thinking, “Oh no, did I make
a mistake? Maybe her approach is going to turn folks off.”
But then I continued to observe the reactions of most of our guests.
Frankly, most folks didn’t seem to pay much attention to her mantra. They
were just happy to receive some food, and move on down the line.

But I’m sure she also received her share of mixed reactions. In other
words, some would’ve readily agree with her mantra, and offer an affirmative
response. Others, in all likelihood, were not so amused. And some were
undoubtedly more than a little irked at this sister’s seeming insensitivity.
Not one to get overly concerned, I chose to just sit back and think about
the profundity of what she was saying.

To be sure, I agree with her that it really is “all about Jesus!” And so, if “it”
really is all about Jesus then what’s wrong with expressing our beliefs—even
if it’s done in an unconventional manner or at an unexpected moment? If the
lady’s tone is sincere and humble, and she’s just being herself—I mean, I don’t
think I have a problem with that.

And I can guess who else doesn’t have a problem with it. After all, Jesus,
said it referring to himself in so many different ways. He was declaring in
no uncertain terms: “It’s all about me!” (See John 8:12, 11:25, 14:6, to cite
a few examples)

And so, if this is true, then Janice’s way of praising his being will be more
than welcome. For myself, I freely admit that I’d much rather hear this truth
proclaimed from this sister’s lips than from almost anyone else. When she
says it, I believe it a little more so.

And here’s a pic of “Sister Pattie” that was on her memorial service notification.

Just another fine example of “the least” teaching us exactly “Who” it’s all about.

Thanks for stopping by.


17 Jul 2019

Down But Not Out in Montpelier, VT 

By |2019-08-05T08:59:10-05:00July 17th, 2019|Everyday People|0 Comments

Meet Nic, Jay, and Robby

I was visiting my wonderful relatives in Montpelier, VT in late June 2019.  My cousin Larry took my wife Sandy and I on a little downtown tour of the State’s capitol.  We wandered the streets taking in the old, historic buildings as well as the blend of hip, welcoming cafes, bars, restaurants, vintage and book stores.  And along the way, we ran into Nic, Jay, and Robby.  They were just hanging out on the streets, with a sign that said they would tell a joke for a quarter.

I stopped for a few minutes to chat with them while Larry and Sandy continued on down the street. I discovered that Nic was from Houston TX, Jay was from Gooding, ID, and Robby was from Memphis, TN.  Nic told us he’d been living the life of a modern-day vagabond, traveling all the country for the past couple of years.

I asked him what was his experience of choosing that type of lifestyle.  He thought for a moment, and then said, “Things are sometimes good . . .  and then there’s times when things are not so good.”

We chatted a little more, talked about Jesus a bit.  And then they OK’d me sharing their pic on my blog.  And then I made a small contribution to their cause, which was to simply carry on another day.

Please say a prayer for these beggars, bums, hobos, panhandlers, wanderers, outcasts, and anything else you can think of to label them. There’s a lot of folks just living from day to day to see what might come their way.

And I believe God is not looking down on them.  But he is looking at how we treat folks such as these.

Thanks for stopping by.