It was an amazing four-day weekend for me, beginning on Friday.
Early in the morning on Friday, I did the memorial service for a war veteran who served in Korea and Viet Nam twice, being awarded the Bronze Star. There were over 70 people at the graveside, the service being held at the Riverside National Cemetery. The firing of the rifles and playing of "Taps" always makes my hair stand on end. The family was so grateful to me and I received many comments from those I had never met. It is incredible how using the 23rd Psalm still invokes such a response from people.
That afternoon, I was at the annual Alumni Association meeting for my alma mater, California Baptist University (as it was California Baptist College back when I attended). I began my Cal Baptist experience as a freshman in 1968, and finally finished my degrees (B.A. and B.S.) both in 1978. Yes, I was on the "ten year plan." Getting married, serving in the Army and having a few kids delayed my pursuit of higher education "for a moment."
After the alumni meeting, the annual Homecoming Chapel was held with Dr. Henry Blackaby speaking, where I gave the Invocation Prayer. It was as if God came and whispered his thoughts for us to hear. Dr. Blackaby is working with 200 top CEOs in the Fortune 500 list. God is doing incredible things with this man. Last year, he sat next to the president of Liberia and is having constant contact about spiritual matters through that meeting. Dr. Blackaby told us he doesn't know exactly when the return of Christ will be, but he said we must heed the warning signs that we see all around us. He was merely pointing out the obvious, not trying to stir a rally about end times.
Friday evening was the annual Alumni Banquet and Awards Dinner. I was honored to give a short presentation for the Lancer Medal to Jim Murcray posthumously. His wife Patty accepted the medal for the family. I also had the privilege of giving the Prayer of Benediction for the event, as Dr. Blackaby gave the Prayer of Invocation.
All day Saturday events were held at CBU to celebrate homecoming and also the institution's 60th year in existence. A birthday cake cutting ceremony was held in the afternoon. Several bands had been invited to play during the "block party" held for students, alumni and the community. I was the coordinator behind the scenes to take care of the bands in the "green room" where they could relax and prepare. The Block Party was held in the afternoon from 1 - 4 pm. I sat in the sun and got a great tan.....ha ha.
Saturday evening, we skipped the school festivities to spend a little more time with Patty Murcray before she left to go back to her new home in Oklahoma City. We went to the Claim Jumper restaurant and had another sweet time of fellowship and memories.
Sunday morning, I preached on "love" as it was Valentine's Day. We had three baptisms and a wonderful service. I spoke of God's love for us, and how we show our love to him in return. It was a good sermon, even if I say so myself.....just kidding. After church, a young man I know who had just got out of prison and then 60 days of rehab came up to me. We talked at length about his life and need for Jesus. He poured out his heart and made his confession through prayer right then.
That afternoon, we left for San Diego. I had made reservations at the Sheraton Suites Hotel at Symphony Hall earlier (through Priceline, getting a scorching deal at $52 per night). We arrived, checked in and then went to dinner in Old Town at the El Fandango restaurant. I had the combination meal of taco, chile relleno and tamale with rice and beans. Wonderful dinner for Valentine's Day with Sondra.
Our suite was sweet! That morning we ate breakfast at Mimi's and then spent almost the whole day sunning ourselves in 70 degree weather at Mission Beach. We bought a little shirt that had the imprint of "surfer" and took it to little grand-daughter Bailey on the way home that evening.
Now, I am winding down to gear up for what this week holds!