A Pastoral Visit


This painting called A Pastoral Visit (1881) by Richard Norris Brook.

This work reminds me that spiritual formation doesn’t just occur in weekly worship, but also in homes, around tables, and in casual settings.  The practice of conversation is a pastoral tradition, and an important custom of society.  Plus, our hearts yearn for meaningful conversation.

If you like this painting, take a couple of minutes to read its description from the National Art Gallery, and it will add depth to this picture.


I enjoy the resources from Biola Univesity’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts.  In their Lent devotionals, they highlighted this painting, which led to further investigation on my part.


Aubrey McGowan set as CIL elder on March 11


If you have been around CIL very long, you have probably been blessed by the worship leading, preaching, or prayers of Aubrey McGowan.  Aubrey, his wife Jen and their four children have been such a gift to CIL for several years.

Aubrey has been in vocational ministry since 2006, serving on staff for many years at one of our mother churches, Hope Fellowship in Frisco, Texas.

23795879_361065947637991_606063428957257186_nOn Sunday, March 11, 2018, the CIL elders will recognize publicly the call of God on Aubrey’s life, and set him in place as an elder at CIL.  Aubrey will transfer his ordination to our local body.  We are honored to have this man of God, with a pastor’s heart, continue his service to the body of Christ under the authority of our church.


We also will be blessed to hear Pastor Aubrey preach in both services on Sunday!

Don’t forget to set you clocks ahead one hour for the start of Daylight Savings on March 11!

How’s Your Marriage? Work on it!


Strong marriages are not a result of fate, luck, or destiny.  Strong marriages occur when two people work on it for a long time.  There is no such thing an automatic “happily ever after.”  Happiness comes when two people build a life long friendship though healthy habits and shared experiences.  You will not have a strong marriage if you do not personally invest in your marriage.

On Saturday, March 10th from 9am to 12pm CIL will host a marriage seminar called Two Becoming One.  Brent and Janis Sharpe are coming from Tulsa to share their expertise.  Brent and Janice will teach couples in how to understand their unproductive interaction patterns when conflict arises and how to resolve issues in a way that builds emotional intimacy in marriage.

The cost is $20 per person.  If you do not have the funds right now, please register and come anyway.  We would love to scholarship you!

Register at cil.churchcenter.com

Childcare will be provided to families who register for childcare.  We will not be able to accommodate drop-ins.

Whatever place your marriage is in, work on it!

Thanks Billy for not disappointing us


I joyfully mourn the loss of Billy Graham upon his death today.  As I grew up in the Christian faith, I often heard, “Who is going to be the next Billy Graham?”   Well, there will not be another Billy Graham. That does not mean Graham is set apart as better than the rest of us.  Like Elijah, Graham “was a human being as we are (James 5:17).”

There will not be another Billy Graham because of the dramatic changes in our American culture (future blog to come).  Graham was known as America’s pastor, but America does not want to be pastored anymore.  I studied Graham’s life pretty extensively, and like me, he was not perfect.  Still, Graham knew how to handle earthly power over multiple decades in a way that honored God and lifted the reputation of Christianity.  (The above picture is of Graham and friends on White House lawn in 1950 – he was close to power at such a young age). We are all so grateful this prominent star maintained his morality.

He was committed to evangelism, and turned down lucrative offers in entertainment to stay focused on the ministry.  I particularly admire Graham’s outspoken opposition to nuclear weapons.  In 1979, he spoke against nuclear proliferation at a time when Christians in America almost blindly supported the build up of these weapons.

In Christianity, we are always looking for the next hero, and we are usually disappointed by them somewhere along the way.  Thanks Billy Graham for not disappointing us.

It is evil, not just mental illness

So much chatter on the morning news shows in response to the mass shooting in south Florida. Not much was worth hearing, but I heard one commentator state with moral clarity, “we have to admit that we have polluted a whole generation.”
If you want to do your part in preventing mass shootings in the future, then contribute positively to the moral fabric of our culture. Do not entertain yourself with violent content. Do not make heroes out of the bad guys, as so much of our entertainment glorifies the villain. Do not participate in bullying (adults do this in sophisticated ways).
Clean up your language. Demonstrate civility. Operate with integrity. Commit to your marriage and family. Contribute to the success of a church, civic club, or community orientated organization.
This is not about “mental illness.” Some of the finest people I have ever known have struggled with mental illness. The systematic execution of people is a result of unrestrained evil.
We are a selfish people. I suppose the ultimate manifestation of selfishness is mass murder for personal pleasure. So, as much as we can, let us push against the pull of selfishness. If we do not live selfishly, we can demonstrate to our young people a better way.