The ups and downs of ministry, in 4 days

It’s been quite a few days – the highs and lows of being a pastor. We had an amazing men’s retreat, and it was a dream come true to see so many CIL men engaged in community and Christian growth. It was also wonderful to have my two adult sons voluntarily attend with me!

Some long-time friends and ministry partners with CIL Church lost their one-month-old daughter after her brave fight to qualify for a heart transplant. Beth and I were with the family during this process, culminating with a Celebration of Life service at CIL on Sunday night. There were many heavy and holy moments these last few days.

I am so grateful for the church and its consistent testimony of Jesus each Sunday. My soul needed this Sunday’s service, and I was particularly touched when singing the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”



Lean into prayer, instead of guilt

We have had eight prayer gatherings so far in the CIL’s Week of Worship and Prayer. Some meetings have surprised us with the amount of participation, and others have been sparse. Regardless, they have all been good.

Gathering a church for corporate prayer has challenges previous generations have not encountered. Traffic. Entertainment options. The complexity of the overscheduled child. The awareness of social anxiety. These are just the start of the list. When I bring this conclusion to other believers, I immediately sense the guilt Christians feel from a lack of prayer. After all, one of the slam-dunk sermons to preach is the theme – “We should pray more.” That message will be effective every time because it’s true for every person. Easy preaching. 

So, this post is not intended to add guilt. I want to call myself and you to lean into prayer. Pray often, even if it is short. Pray with your heart, even on the go. Prayer is not an all-or-nothing experience. Prayer is a call to a conversation with God that will extend into eternity. He loves to hear us pray anytime a bit of our attention is directed toward Him. He delights even in our hurried prayers – what grace.

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!

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.

Sumner Summit for Men

Guys, September 22 is for you! 

Pastor Jacob Bell has been working hard to create CIL’s next men’s event – Sumner Summit. Men, will you prioritize this night be registering right now! 

This night is a gathering for men looking to engage in truth, community, and service. Sumner Summit is a series of 15-minute talks on unique topics to inspire conversation and action amongst men.

We have invited community leaders to speak:

Raising a Godly Family

Dr. Bryce Fox, Professor at Trevecca Nazarene University

Walking Above Pornography

Chad Hutton, Graduate Intern at the Babb Center & Pastor of City of Refuge Church

Finances Unto the Lord

Jason Cline, Author of Financial 180

Sumner Summit is free to attend, but for just $12, you can join us for dinner from Moe’s!

Free childcare is available (with dinner included for your kids)!

Get more information and register HERE!

Are you working on your marriage?

I have been married for over 24 years to Beth, and I love our life together. It has been a lot of work for us to build this marriage as we have experienced significant marital conflict and some daunting relational challenges. We have a great marriage today because we have worked hard and not quit during the tough times. Both professional counseling and attending marriage conferences have been an important part of our longevity.

CIL Church is having a marriage conference on September 16-17, and I want engaged and married couples to participate. Brent and Janis Sharpe are licensed therapists and pastors – they are EXCELLENT teachers! The practical things the Sharpes teach benefit couples at all stages.

We also have fun activities planned for your kids! Pastor Faith and her team are creating a fun experience for elementary kids. Your children will not want to miss this chance to connect! There is also childcare for nursery-age children.

The cost is only $40 per couple, and this conference will bring about immediate, positive change.

Refresh Conference: July 16-17, 2022

I am so excited about the second annual Refresh Conference coming July 16-17 to CIL Church. This weekend is a time to receive from the Holy Spirit. Far Flung Tin Can returns to lead us in worship. Evangelist Lynn Wheeler and Pastor Derrick Jackson will be preaching. Mark your calendars for Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night services.

No registration. No cost. Join us and be refreshed!

Israel Trip in 2023 – Join me!

I am so excited to announce this!

CIL Church is going to Israel in 2023. Aaron and Beth are leading a ten-day tour to Israel from June 7-16, 2023. On Sunday, July 24, at 5 pm we will join by ZOOM Dr. Joe Davis and Dr. Charles Gaulden from Southeastern University in Florida, who will be our guides on this trip.

Please register if you want to participate in the interest meeting so we can get you the details.

Venture is here!

I am proud of our Venture family conference and anticipate great things Sunday-Tuesday. A few years ago, our team decided to revamp the traditional VBS experience to provide a family event. We do VBS for the kids and training for the parents, so it is a combined family experience.

Pastor Aubrey McGowan leads this endeavor, and children’s pastor Faith Hannula, and staff member, Cori Fuller, have been partnering with him for months to create this experience.

There is still room! You may not get all the Venture swag since the deadline has passed, but you will still get the essential things – inspiration, information, and vision for your family.

Register right now!