Everyday People

5 Aug 2019


By |2019-08-05T08:59:38-05:00August 5th, 2019|Everyday People|0 Comments






Woody is an acquaintance that I’ve known for many years.   He’s been up on the Northside for about the last 13 years. He immigrated up from the Southside, where he grew up in President Obama’s neighborhood.  He came up “north” because there were more opportunities to better himself.  

Woody is an easy-going, faith-filled guy, who likes to lend a hand to whoever is need.  On a recent Saturday afternoon, serving our neighborhood a hot meal, I was in definite need of an extra hand.

“Hey Chris,” he said.  “Do you need some help?  It sure does look like it.”  

“Yeah, you’re right,” I said.  

“Well, why didn’t you ask me earlier?” he said.  “You know I would have helped.”  

“Ok, go wash up,” I said.  

Woody was a great help, and we had a good time serving together.  And we got to talking about our God and how we each viewed our present-day world.  

“Chris, do you know what I believe is the biggest trick that the Devil plays on humanity?” he asked. 

“No, I don’t,” I respond.  “What is it?” 

“It’s the belief that he doesn’t exist,” he said.   

“Hmmm, yeah, that’s pretty good,” I said. 

And then Woody went on a little more.  He talked about how Dr. King used to preach how poverty breeds violence, and the observation that if the Devil did not exist, then there wouldn’t be all these drive-by shootings.  “Because you see,” he said. “The Devil simply encourages you to do what he does.”   

Later that day, I felt led to look up some Scriptures and some commentary on the Devil, evil, murder, temptation.  And here’s what I discovered.  

 In John 8:44, we discover Jesus’ portrait of the devil. …”He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”      

And in John 10:10 we hear Jesus saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”    

Then I turned to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.  And this is where I stumbled on some poignant truth that everyone of us need to ponder: “Satan is not simply the personification of evil influences in the heart, for he tempted Christ, in whose heart no evil thought could have ever arisen (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15); moreover his personality is asserted in both the O.T. and the N. T. , and especially in the latter, whereas if the O.T. language was intended to be figurative, the N.T. would have made this evident.”   

And so, I guess we can think about “the Devil” however we want … or not.    

But whenever we are confronted with all these “mass shootings,” I believe that it’s not ”a stretch” to believe that  there’s “a real Devil” behind it all.   

How about you?  

Thanks for stopping by. 



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.
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.

15 Mar 2019

Everyone Has a Story to Tell . . .

By |2019-08-05T08:57:29-05:00March 15th, 2019|Everyday People|0 Comments

And everyone has a story to live.

The question is: Where are Dave and his friends going to live?

Now if I’m sure everyone’s heard the saying, “There’s goes the neighborhood!”  Of course, this is referring to “those” folks who are now moving into “our” neighborhood.   And it’s primarily understood to carry a negative implication.  It usually involves those of a lower economic bracket moving into a step or two up from their previous neighborhood.

But how about when the roles are reversed?  How about when some upscale developers come into a much “lower-income” area and build a very, fancy high-rise condo building right across the street from the local MacDonald’s and Uptown Baptist Church?  Well, that’s what’s happening in our part of the Uptown neighborhood.  And as you can see, the developers wish to attract buyers who are ready to “Live Their Stories.”

Nothing wrong with that, right?  Aren’t we all free to prosper and dream and earn the right to purchase a nice condo if we can afford to?  Don’t we all have the right to “live our stories?”  Surely, this sounds good to most of us.  But there is a downside  to this “right.”  How about the man, Dave, standing next to the sign?  Although, he tells me he has a nice “spot” (adequate housing) for now, there’s just no telling where he and so many others are going to live out their stories?

From where I sit, less than 1 block away from this brand-new development, it’s apparent that I’ll be having some “new” neighbors soon.  And they won’t be looking like so many of Uptown’s long-time residents . . . folks like Dave.  But I’ll do my best to adapt because it won’t be impacting me “personally” for the moment.  But I do have to wonder (no, I don’t have to wonder!) how it has already impacted a number of my former neighbors.

So the question is—what story will those folks who have been or will soon be “priced out” of this neighborhood have to tell?  And will there be anyone listening?

Take care,