Christmas Eve at CIL Church

Christmas Eve services are a special time to be together and worship Jesus! This year, we have two opportunities – 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Aubrey and his team have some incredible music, and I will be sharing a Jesus-centered sermon that will lead us to the Lord. We will have communion passed out to everyone who wants to partake, and all are welcomed to do so! We will also have candles to light and remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.

Childcare is provided for age 3 and younger.

There will be no service on December 25, so make sure to prioritize one of our Christmas Eve services!

I’ll see you on Christmas Eve!

Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership

I had the privilege to be a reviewing member of the editorial team for the Fall 2022 edition of the Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, a publication of the Regent University School of Business and Leadership in Virginia. These scholars did great work emphasizing leadership principles from Biblical perspectives in the study of leadership.

I am thankful for this opportunity from my long-time friend, Dr. Carlo Serrano (Manna University).

If you want to read the journal, click below for the PDF.

A working definition of Joy

Our Advent theme this week is Joy, which can be tricky. I have preached on joy often in my ministry, so I have thought about this subject thoroughly to create a definition.

In our era of authentic leadership, people lead through transparency, so stories about weakness are not just allowed; these stories are celebrated. What we used to hide, now we use. With this shift, culture is more aware that comedians, musicians, artists, and pastors who inspire us with joyful presentations are often struggling internally. Joy is no longer associated with mood because moods change so quickly.

So the definition of joy I presented in Sunday’s sermon and I share now is this:

Joy is finding and living in God’s centrality.

I recognize this is not a spectacular definition on the first read but think about it more. “Finding” is a process that can take minutes or decades. We keep looking for God in the middle of every situation.

When we do find God at the center, we do not always initially like the conclusion, and we find that God is in the middle of all kinds of things we do not prefer. This process to find and live with God in the center produces the allusive joy we long after.

There is joy in the house of the Lord

Our Advent theme this week is Joy, and I was so happy to preach on this subject. Joy should not be an intimidating subject that produces more guilt but an opportunity to see our situation differently. I pray this message will give you a new perspective as you identify more of Jesus in your life.
We had David Ask, and his daughter Kate, join Aubrey and the worship team for beautiful holiday music. 

It was a great day to worship Jesus at CIL Church, so watch and worship with us.

Christ is love!



Constant change points us to Advent

Please get a cup of coffee or tea and slowly read this article from Dr. Dan Scott. Dan is a great thinker on culture and Christianity, and his recent article to the Wilberforce Society was so insightful I want to share it with you. Dan is an impactful mentor and dear friend to me.

From Dr. Dan Scott
November 22, 2022

Dear Wilberforce friends, 

In 1970, Alvin Toffler wrote a bestseller, Future Shock. The book’s premise was an allegory about the challenge of dealing with rapid change.  Toffler begins the book talking about culture shock, the psychologically dislocating process through which human beings adapt to a change of culture. 

When one moves to another country, the first weeks are usually exciting. We feel like we are on an adventure. We are more than tourists, but not yet residents. We learn many new phrases in a new language. We eat new foods. We may even wear different clothing. For many of us, that is extremely exciting. 

After a couple of months, the adventure sours. We want to eat things from home we never even liked before. We realize that even if we are speaking the new language, we are engaging in glorified baby talk. We begin to meet people who do not want us in their country. If we cannot go home, we plunge into deep despair. 

If we persevere a year or two, we experience something else: we begin to feel at home. We have begun to adapt. Our language skills improve. We make new friends. We become a bicultural person. 

Now, were we to return home, we would find ourselves altered. The people of our home country will now notice some odd traits we have picked up. We may pronounce some words of our native language a bit differently. Some of them will not like the changes we have made. We will begin to feel “neither here nor there; neither this nor that.”

Toffler’s brilliant insight in 1970 was that soon, people who did not travel away from their native town would begin to move through a process very similar to culture shock. Only in this case, it would be one’s native culture that would change. Of course, cultures always change. The difference would be that change that once occurred over a century would happen in a decade. Then, the pace would pick up to radical change every five years. Then two years. 

People would experience “future shock,” the inability to adapt to one radical change before facing a new wave of change. Adaptation would become continuously incomplete. 

I think this book was one of the most prophetic pieces of all time. It accurately described a previously unheard-of societal condition to which nearly all of us can relate. 

At nearly every level – social, political, technological, and religious – future shock leaves many of us dazed, confused, and irritated. 

The answer is to ground ourselves in timeless things. That doesn’t mean we will not experience future shock. It just means that underneath all the change we will feel the solid foundation on which we stand. Of course, nothing in the universe is timeless. To find timeless things, one must transcend the visible, temporal plane. One must enter the company of God the judge of all and “the spirits of just people now made perfect.” 

Spiritual practice is the habit of routinely, habitually, turning our awareness to our eternal place and state.  Strangely enough, healthy spiritual practice does not make us irrelevant or weird. We still pay our bills and enjoy ballgames. We participate in the temporal world because that is where we are living now. However, we are aware that neither here nor now is the full picture. History is headed somewhere good – the Kingdom of God. The flow of life is guided by the wise and good Creator of all things. The tide of time moves us Godward. 

This past week, many of us lost another person known and loved by our community. Little by little, the community as we knew it shifts. We want at least our own little world to remain stable and unaltered. However, we look around and realize that so many have already moved into eternity. Piece by piece, our familiar world, like a great kaleidoscope keeps moving and we fear that soon we may not be able to discern the features of the familiar even there.   

It can be quite upsetting. We are tempted to become despondent, angry, even embittered.

Then we look ahead: Advent is coming. We will enter the joys of that past generation which in their own bleak midwinter had, like many of us, lost all hope. Then, a star and a baby revealed the glory of God that was about to break into the darkness. 

I founded Wilberforce to address some of the spiritual needs that I felt around me. Then, the world changed. And changed again. I have continually asked the Lord what to do. But all I get is the words of an old song: “Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

As we met to thank God for Daniel Bell’s life (the member of the community to which I referred above), we told stories about the past. We touched one another and remembered good times. Finally, we gathered around that Table where past, present, and future all converge into timeless space. At the thin veil between here and there, now and then, we met God, holy angels, and the saints – including people we once knew that were not yet ‘saintly.’ 

Then, we walked back into a time and space that had, once again, changed. 

Alvin Toffler had no answer for future shock. He anticipated endless social unrest and irresolvable psychological dislocation. All of that has unfolded as he predicted for everyone who belongs only to their own time and space. 

For those of us who, amphibian-like, have become spiritually bicultural, future shock is only part of the picture. The other part preserves, heals, and completes everything we have ever known that has been true, good, and beautiful.  

So, lift up your hearts! Every morning and every evening. When the journey gets long and weary, look at the star that never fails to lead us home. 

Keeping touch with Eternity,


CLC Men’s Discipleship is Making an Impact!

CLC is a Men’s Discipleship ministry making a significant difference at our church and around the nation.

CLC Men’s Discipleship (not to be confused with CIL) is an acronym for Christ Led Communities. For over 40 years, this ministry has been calling men into relational discipleship as it challenges men to an uncommon pursuit of Christ. CLC facilitates small groups of intentional believers who refuse to be satisfied with the status quo. CLC equips men to be leaders based on a growing, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and dedication to sound biblical principles.

We have started several CLC groups at Christ Is Love Church since 2018. I have seen these groups impact men for Jesus, creating bonds of brotherhood that are not easy for men to establish. If you want to learn more abut CLC groups starting through our church, contact Pastor Jacob Bell.

In 2022, I joined the national CLC Board of Directors and have the privilege of serving this organization with 18 full-time employees in several crucial markets across the United States. Dr. Craig Frye is doing an outstanding job as CLC’s president, and the future of expansion continues to be promising.

CLC is impacting our nation one man at a time.

Advent – A Call to Repentance and Peace

It’s the second week of Advent, and Pastor Deborah Jackson shared an insightful teaching on Peace. Deborah reminded us that repentance leads to “shalom,” or the peace we desire. Aubrey and Jen led us with a great mix of carols and modern worship songs. 

I love this time of year because everyone makes a big deal about Jesus, and He deserves all the fuss!



China and the Liberated Spirit

Beijing, China, November 27, 2022
Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

In the last few days, protests have happened in China over COVID restrictions, among other things. It seems like things have settled with looser rules in the last few hours, but I greatly hope the protesters in China are the front end of a liberated spirit that will resist government overreach. If reports are accurate that children are taken from their parents to confine COVID, that is an assault against the most basic human instinct to care for one’s child.

In every culture, self-determination and family welfare cannot be repressed indefinitely because those qualities reflect the character of God. I pray for the Chinese people.