Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday, February 25, 2005

Well, at practice tonight we learned of several performances that are upcoming. I will be posting those on the "Isle of Dreams" page as soon as I sort them all out.
We also discussed the various things we are/will be doing that will lead us up to the performance in Rolla on April 15th. Tracy has stated that she feels led to go down to Rolla to pray over the theatre and hearts of the people once a week until the performance. We gladly send her with our prayers and love. A group of us will be going down to a pastor's luncheon on Tuesday, March 8 to sing a few songs. The idea is that we will allow the power of God to move through the music, lyrics and our hearts and touch these ministers of God, prompting them to promote the performance to their congregations. It should be a great 20 minutes or so, and a great preliminary sneak peek. We will also be going down several times to sing at different Sunday morning services at various churches.

This will be the most prepared location that we will have performed in since I joined the group over three years ago. Usually, we only have the opportunity to sing at the morning service of the church we will be singing at later that afternoon/evening. It works out okay, but this allows us the chance to sing for several congregations and connect with hundreds of people prior to the performance. It also gives us the chance to pray over the performace venue multiple times in advance of the day we will actually sing in it. I believe that God is going to move powerfully in Rolla, and I believe He is giving us the opportunity to prime the city and pray over it while we are in it.

Michael O'Hara (our director and one of the co-writers) also informed us that we will be learning a new song next week. So we will learn the song next week and possibly implement it in the upcoming Easter Sunday performance at St. Alphonsus Rock Catholic Church.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

We spent the morning of our final day in Chicago visiting the Art Institute. We arrived a few minutes early, so we walked a few blocks over to see the lobby of the Palmer House Hotel, which is quite beautiful. We then grabbed a bite to eat at the Corner Bakery and spent the time watching people pass. We took the almost obligatory photos of each other outside with the Lions of the Art Institute. We worked our way around the museum quite quickly, since we only had an hour and a half to spend there before we had to go catch our plane. The museum had a huge collection of art, from many different styles and time periods. It also had a textile section (which I haven't ever really thought of as art before), a paperweight collection, and a room filled with suits of armor and swords. It was quite the collection of various forms of art. We probably could have spent a considerable more amount of time there, but we just didn't have it. In retrospect, we should have skipped the Museum of Contemporary Arts on Day 1 and visited the Art Institute instead. Lisa and I have decided we aren't huge fans of "modern art". We live and learn I suppose.

We rode the bus to the hotel to grab our bags. We rode the Orange Line back to the airport and made our way home safely. All in all, it was a great trip to a fascinating city that has tons to see. We talked of how we hope/plan on going back someday to see more of it. It was the perfect way to spend the holiday weekend and the perfect chance to spend time with each other learning new things and experiencing them together.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Day 3 in Chicago would prove to be our busiest day of the trip.
We got up and went walking to the Field Museum, which was across Michigan Avenue from our hotel(half a mile?). Upon entering the Museum, we went through the Africa display, which was quite intriguing. Then we spent some time going through the Egypt exhibit. The highlight of this exhibit was a recreation of a pyramid which you could walk through. Upon entering the third room of the building, you found yourself surrounded by the actual bricks from the tomb, which had been transported over from Egypt. It was amazing to see the detail of the carvings on the wall the paintings and the heiroglyphs which were thousands of years old.

After being wowed by the structures, mummies and other artifacts of the Egypt exhibit, Lisa and I made our way to the exhibit which we quickly nicknamed the "Dead Zoo". This exhibit was case upon case of stuffed animals. The dioramas they were placed in were very nice and it gave you an idea of the habitat the creature lived in. There were literally hundreds of these cases, with animals from all around the globe represented. A lot of the animals were from the early 1900s (1904 in the case of the Mexican Grizzly for instance), and some of them(like the aforementioned Mexican Grizzly) are now extinct. It was interesting to note that the White Tailed Deer display had a sign that proclaimed that the deer were on the verge of extinction. It's amazing how times have changed and now we plan hunting seasons to try and regulate the population a little. We also saw the infamous Lions of Tsavo, which had a movie made about them a few years ago(The Ghosts in the Darkness).

We spent 3 hours at the field museum and saw maybe a fifth of it, but it was time to walk over to Shedd's Aquarium. The aquarium had some nice displays, particularly one on the Amazon River habitat. It followed the changes of the habitat based upon the flooding season and contained lots of different species of exotic fish and animals. We made our way to the Oceanarium for the Dolphin show, which was educational as well as entertaining. After the show we went to see the view from below the tanks. After watching the river otters for a while, and having a snack while observing the dolphins from underwater, we decided to leave for Adler Planetarium.

We had a limited amount of time at the Planetarium before our show "The Stars of the Pharaohs". We say a majority of the exhibits, and I was not all that impressed with what I saw. Basically, our Science Center has spoiled me. The exhibits at Adler were not as interesting or as hands on, and they had many fewer exhibits. So we went to the show, which was education to a point, but I found it kind of boring - too much computer animation and not enough star scenes for my taste.

We closed out the Planetarium and decided to go eat at Giordano's Pizza, which is famous and had been recommended to us. We walked to where we thought it was, but couldn't find it. We called and found out the location we thought we were looking for was in fact several miles away. So we decided to try and find one of the other locations. After walking for what was probably 2 miles, we found the Giordano's in the theatre district. We ordered the deep dish pizza pie, which was quite amazing. We enjoyed our meal after a long day of museums, crowds and tons of walking. We hopped on a bus and rode it back to the hotel and spent the remainder of the evening reading our books.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Day 2 in Chicago began with some snow which then turned into a steady drizzle.
Lisa and I hopped on the red line and rode it to Chinatown. We made our way up and down the street ducking into little shops along the way. These shops were usually crammed from front to back, floor to ceiling with a multitude of different items. After browsing the merchandise, we decided it was time for lunch. So we ate in a nice restaurant in Chinatown which gave us some of the largest helpings of Chinese food I have ever seen. It was delicious but altogether too much food. On our way out of Chinatown, we stopped in a Chinese bakery and bought some Chinese cookies. (They were okay, but a little too crispy and airy for my liking.)

We dropped the cookies off at the hotel and boarded the bus for Navy Pier. We ended up walking quite a distance to get to the pier itself, but that simply allowed a chance to see more of the Chicago streets. Once at Navy Pier, we purchased tickets for the 3D Imax film "Aliens of the Deep. This film was directed by James Cameron(also directed the movie Titanic) and basically was about the creatures that live in, on and around the steams vents on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The film was a bit disorienting at times, and there didn't seem to be too much that utilized the 3D effect. Overall, Lisa and I decided the film would have been better if it were just a normal film and not a 3D film.

After the movie, we walked around for a while looking at the shops. The weather was too nasty to be outside, so we didn't get to ride the Ferris Wheel or the swings - maybe next time. We did, however, stop by the Popcorn Palace and buy three varieties of the yummy goodness - Butter favored, Cheddar flavored, and Caramel Macadamia Nut. Mmmmmm. Then we stopped by a hot dog place and each enjoyed our meal. There was a cheerleading competition taking place at the pier the same day we were there, so there were literally hundreds of middle school girls running around and thousands of parents trying to keep up. By this time, we were ready to leave and crash at the hotel, which we promptly did.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Lisa and I spent the extended holiday weekend in Chicago. We left from St. Louis on Saturday morning, flying Southwest Airlines to Midway. Upon arrival, we purchased a three day visitor's pass for the CTA and hopped on the Orange Line toward our hotel. Some guy climbs on the train after we do and falls asleep in the seat directly behind Lisa. It was a great start to our trip to the city.

We dropped our bags at the hotel and road the bus up Michigan Avenue through the Magnificent Mile to the John Hancock Building. We entered the building, climbed aboard an elevator and were whisked to the Signature Room on the 95th floor in about 30 seconds. We had a wonderful buffet-style lunch with an amazing view of Chicago. Our seat was on the southeast corner of the building, overlooking Michigan Avenue. You could see everything from Navy Pier to the Sears Tower to the Aquarium. It was spectacular and delicious. It was a great way to get an overview (literally) of the city we would be traversing for the next few days.

We then walked to the Center of Modern Art, which was just a few blocks away. Upon entering the building, you are greeted by this wall. This stairwell was actually one of the highlights of the museum in my opinion. We left the museum and waved goodbye to the spaghetti men that stood as sentries to the door.

We then made our way back to Michigan Avenue and walked the Magnificent Mile, stopping in The Pottery Barn, Gap and Crate and Barrel. We also stopped and browsed in Border's for a while, where we both purchased books to read on the trip. Feeling quite tired, we hopped on the bus back to our hotel and checked in. We took a little nap, then made out way back to the southern end of the Magnificent Mile (the intersection of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River). We watched a fireworks show that was set to showtunes, along with a couple of hundred other people. It was quite the experience, with the explosion of each shell reverberating off the buildings around you, and their colors reflected in the windows. It was great fun to be downtown in the city, at night, with tons of other people. This is what I'd like to see take place in downtown St. Louis, but I know that a lot would have to happen to bring that anywhere near to reality.

Day One was a huge success and we were both thoroughly exhausted but very happy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Welcome to the new and improved(maybe?) Jeremy Walker dot US.
Today I finished the total site redesign that I have been wanting to implement for quite some time. This new layout should promote easier navigation, less clicking, and it will hopefully be a little more appealing to all of those pesky search engines. We shall see. There is still some work to be done, but I like the way it looks so far. I haven't really added or changed much of the content of the site just yet, but I plan on doing some updating soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Today was a busy and long day. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It is just the truth of it.

Here’s the recap:

(9:00 – 10:00am) The “Hour of Power” at St. Louis Avenue Nursing Home. This is our weekly service that we have been leading/participating in for over a year now. It is truly a blessing to visit with these dear people, and they really seem to enjoy and appreciate the time we share together. “Mother” Elvira Coleman was in her true form today, with her most notable comment coming during Brother Sam Nichol’s sermon. While speaking about working for the Lord and the blessings that come from it, Mother suddenly blurted out "And you get paid!". Amen. What a precious woman of God.

(10:30am - 1:15pm) We travelled to St. Luke's AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church off of Page to participate in the morning service with Pastor Claudine Murphy, one of our growing list of supporting pastors/bishops. We sang "Listen to the Rain" and then "Everybody is God's Child", which were both well-received. We always give the church that will be hosting the "Isle of Dreams" a little taste of what is to come later in the afternoon/evening. Pastor Murphy preached on how you have to let God make the change in you from the inside out - it's an "inside job". Afterwards we all were treated to lunch in the fellowship hall by this wonderful group of Believers.

(2:00 - 2:45pm) During this time, we prepared the sanctuary for the performance, bylining up chairs and covering them in black cloth. The stage was too narrow and shallow to hold us all, so we moved down to the floor level - placing us within 2 feet of the people in the front row. We proceeded to cover other seats and pieces of furniture which became the backdrop for this particular performance. After setting the stage, we proceeded to begin getting into our costumes, which were hand-stitched by Michael after the Lord's prompting). As is our custom and orderly way, we also read from Scritpure, prayed and sang praises to God throughout this time.

(3:00 - 5:20pm) The performance started promptly at 3pm, after a marvelous introduction by Pastor Murphy. It was readily apparent that this audience was very receptive and was going to thoroughly enjoy the musical. They were eager to join us in clapping and felt the freedom to stand and shout and move as they desired throughout the performance, which was nice. The music was kind of hard to hear at times due to using a boombox positioned directly behind us in the center stage area. Along with this difficulty was the fact that we had no monitors and were standing behind the auitorium speakers, so basically it was hard to hear the lead vocalist at times. Despite these two hindrances, everyone sounded great and performed just like the professionals that they are. Our two newest recruits, Mike and Lisette, seemed very relaxed in their first public performance, singing their respective songs with passion, emotion and strength.

After the scene in which Christ defeats Satan, we took a brief break to allow for an offering. Typically, we would leave the stage area and gather in a back/side room during this time, but due to the time restarints and space issues, this was not possible. So we sat there as the pastor and her aid led the audience in collecting a love offering to benefit the minstries of the "Isle of Dreams". It's odd for me to sit and watch people give to your cause while sitting in such close proximity to it all. God continues to bless us in our ministry, and the action fo taking the offering and the gift that was received are both heart-felt and appreciated.

After the performance, we met with the people and shared how God is leading us to something utterly amazing. It was a nice time of interacting on a personal level with some of the people, and it was good to give them a chance to come speak to us directly about what they had just experienced.

While sometimes it may be easy to question God's timing through all of this, it is obviously for our benefit that He is waiting to launch us beyond our current ministerial region. While we wait for the necessary events to take place that will lead us beyond our comfort zones, we continue to pray that God will use us in whatever fashion He deems is necessary. We also continue to ask that God will bless those who are working on the business side of the "Isle of Dreams", those who are actively taking this ministry before the Lord on our behalf and those of us who are partaking in the performance aspect of it all.