We need covenant relationships

We instinctively long for covenant relationships. What is this? It’s a sacred agreement between two parties. This covenant takes away the fear of abandonment. I wish I would have learned this principle earlier in life. It would have saved me from sin, mistakes, and the destruction of meaningful relationships.

An example of this is Jacob and his father-in-law, Laban. Their poor relationship turned into a covenant relationship.

Genesis 31:44 (CSB)
“Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”

Genesis 31:49 (CSB)
… “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.”

Covenant requires trust. Both the Lord and the covenant watch over the two parties when they are apart. None of us have been perfect in this, but we can live with this understanding and aspiration from this point forward.

To listen or watch my sermon on this, watch here:

No In-Person Services on February 21

What a week!  

It has been a few years since we experienced winter storms like the ones we just endured. Our area just does not have the equipment to clear all the roads and parking lots in a timely manner. I have visited the church property three times in the last 16 hours, and the CIL parking lot is still in terrible shape

After consulting several people who looked at CIL’s parking lot with me, I have decided to have an online service only tomorrow (February 21) at 10:45 AM. We will not offer 242 Childcare and 242 Students on February 21.  

Stay safe, and I’ll see you online!

Prayers for those Impacted by Weather

Well, this is an unusual week for those impacted by the weather. It is a reminder we are mortal, and our plans have to yield to nature. My heart goes out to all the Texans and others around the country who have struggled this week. Tennessee has experienced challenges, but most of us have energy for our homes.

Each power outage, busted pipe, and stranded car is an emotional gut-punch for the affected person. I am so sorry for those of you going through disruptions. May God strengthen those who suffer, and may better days come.

Spring is before us.

Happy Valentines, Beth

We were fortunate to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday night when we took this picture. We had a great night!

A year ago, we had a peaceful Valentine’s dinner, not realizing 2020 would be the most challenging year of leadership our generation has ever known.

I could get through the last 12 months because SHE HAS BEEN THERE FOR ME. The song I chose for our wedding was James Taylor’s “Something In the Way She Moves.” The lyrics state:

I feel fine anytime she’s around me now
She’s around me now
Almost all the time

That song is a reality all these years later, and I am grateful.

I LOVE YOU, Beth, and I am so glad YOU ARE MINE. Happy Valentine’s forever!

Unity asks – “Can I love you?”

The biggest question about preserving unity we often overlook is, “Can I love you?”

I love you when we disagree.
I love you when you tick me off.
I love you if you are deceived.
I love you if you are immature.
I love you if you understand something I won’t comprehend for years.
I love you if you have had experiences and hold a worldview I’ll never be able to comprehend.
I love you no matter who you voted for.
I love you despite your sin.
I will be friends with you.
I will talk to you before I write you off.
I will give you another chance.
I will turn the other cheek.
I will restore you with gentleness.
I will choose love over the offense.

That is a hard way to live, and I do not always live to this standard. This perspective is Jesus-style living and a goal of our faith.

Honoring Randy Visconti

I want to honor Pastor Randy Visconti, whose Celebration of Life service occurred today in Mesa, Arizona. He was the first pastor to give me a job, as I was his children’s pastor at Paola Assembly of God (Paola, Kansas) in 1995 and 1996. Randy was a great pastor, and he was very good to me. He gave me opportunities to preach often to the adults, which launched my ministry career. Under his and Jason Edward’s leadership, it was the first time I was called “pastor.” He always made time for me.

Two regrets:

  • I haven’t talked to Randy in years, but I always knew that relationship would pick right back up at some point. His unexpected death came as a shock and way too soon. So, don’t wait around to keep in contact with someone important to you.
  • We didn’t take a lot of pictures in the 1990s like we do these days. Regretfully, I do not have a photo with Pastor Randy. So, don’t bristle when someone wants to take your picture (Beth has been telling me this for years!).

I want to express much love to his wife, Dawn, and adult children Ryan, Kyle, Kirstyn, and Aaron.

See you in heaven, Pastor Randy!

Well done, Ronnie Meek!

Sunday was a touching experience to be part of Pastor Ronnie Meek’s retirement service at Springhouse Worship and Art Center in Smyrna. Ronnie has been the congregation’s pastor for 33 years, and they honored him in a fitting but extraordinary way.

I had the honor to be one of several speakers who surprised Ronnie, and it was my pleasure to share with the Springhouse family my perspective on this great man. Ronnie has been such an example of authenticity, creativity, friendship, and love.

Well done, Pastor Ronnie! See you at our next lunch.

Spanish service started at CIL

This is my partner in ministry, Pastor Jesus Bermudez. Last Sunday he started a Spanish service that is hosted at CIL Church. Each week, the Spanish service will start at 12:30 PM in the sanctuary.

We are so excited about this development! Please spread the word to all your Spanish-speaking friends. Pastor Jesus is an outstanding worship leader and preacher!