Keep smiling in difficult times

Even though it is a difficult season with so many hurting, I still smile and laugh. There are nuggets of joy because life is good, and life is eternal. Thanks be to God.


Even some we have served in their suffering have demonstrated moments of humor, which is part of our humanity. Grief takes away our shallowness. Humor affirms our humanity.


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Thomas McKenzie – A Significant Loss

I am sorry this blog has recently had so many death notices. It is an unusual time. However, I want to acknowledge and inform you of this impactful death.

Thomas McKenzie was a strategic and important voice in Nashville and America. I am so sad to learn of his sudden and tragic death on August 23. My prayers and love for The Church of the Redeemer, and all who are mourning this loss. He was special and needed.

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Sunday Summary – August 22, 2021

I loved during worship how Pastor Aubrey invited us to pray for one another. When the Holy Spirit moves in a particular service, he desires to accomplish His work at that moment. I am so glad we are learning as a community to listen and obey. My message on Psalm 84 came across at times with more intensity than I anticipated, but I trust the Lord was at work.

It was a good day in the Lord. The Lord’s Day!

Memorial Service for Dave Gerkey and Barbara O’Guin

On August 2, I was at Vanderbilt Medical Center with Dave Gerkey when he lost his life at age 55 from the coronavirus. Dave and I were close, so it was a sad and haunting experience. On Saturday, August 21, I will lead his memorial service at CIL Church.

Dave’s mother-in-law Barbara O’Guin also lost her life from the coronavirus, and we will remember her, too. Barbara was a faithful participant in our church, and I will miss her cheerfulness. May God comfort Denise Gerkey, who lost her husband and mom in ten days; my most profound compassion and sympathies are with her.

Dave Gerkey helped Aubrey McGowan and me lead the Alpha outreach program. This group picture from the 2017 Alpha Retreat brings memories of a happy time, with Dave at the bottom center with a big smile. Dave and I would lock up the church together and talk about every subject imaginable for another hour when Alpha meetings were over. He was a trusted partner, and I thought we would have more opportunities together.

I know God will help us honor both of these lives on Saturday, but it will be a tough day for many people in mourning.

Memorial for Dave Gerkey and Barbara O’Guinn
Saturday, August 21
Visitation at 2:00 pm.
Service at 3:00 pm.

Link to Livestream of Service:

Dave Gerkey’s obituary: https://cil.church/2021/08/20/dave-gerkey-obituary/

Barbara O’Guin’s obituary: https://cil.church/2021/08/20/barbara-oguin-obituary/

Sunday Summary – August 15, 2021

My wife Beth spoke and did such a great job. What a talent, with a great heart for God. I was very proud of her, and her message impacted me. We had a theme about Identity that weaved through the music, prayers, and sermon.

We kicked off 242 Small Groups, and that makes me feel good. I do not believe we function as a church unless smaller groups are going deeper in Chrisitan community. We are going somewhere, and He is leading us!

Avoid being one of the crazies

We are living during a time when seemingly ordinary people are acting crazy. The pressure of the lingering pandemic makes us feel out of control, so we find simplistic issues and attribute extreme significance to their outcome. This phenomenon happened to me at least once in 2020. I overreacted to a situation, so a friend talked me off the emotional ledge before I went too far.

So let’s all move slow, do not panic, and give grace to each other if we crack.

Reflections on the Afghanistan War

Four years ago, I wrote about the need to end the war in Afghanistan. I highly respect the men and women who have served there. Too many have died there; Still, there had to be a time for an end, and 2021 is that time. It is a painful but necessary withdrawal.

Aaron's Angle

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I still remember the vivid emotions I felt leaving a church service in 2001, when I heard the United States invaded Afghanistan.  An alarmed friend asked out loud, “What does this mean?”  Her husband soberly responded, “We are at war, honey.”   In that moment, I felt like life as I knew it would permanently change.  But, it did not.

For the last 16 years our soldiers have died in Afghanistan (and Iraq), and my life has proceeded in comfort.  During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, I do not remember meaningful public discussion on the validity of fighting a two-front war overseas while so many were hurting domestically.

Barak Obama campaigned on the position of pulling out of Afghanistan. Donald Trump was more ambiguous on his plans, but there was hope that he would end our longest war (and he may still). I believe both wanted to end the…

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Sunday Summary – August 8, 2021

I loved our 242 Connect on Sunday. Jacob Bell – or Community Life Pastor, did a fantastic job creating this event. 242 Connect was a chance for CIL people to meet the leaders of 242 Small Groups in the lobby between services. Coffee, donuts, and laughter were big parts of this focus. We’ll have 242 Connect again this Sunday (August 15).

It was great to have Josh Johnson back from his missions training and leading worship. What a voice! I preached a message titled Imitators of God. This teaching seemed to prick a lot of hearts, so thanks be to God for his Word!

If you missed the service, may God minister to you through this video:

Have a great week in Jesus!

Tammy Groves

We recognized another saint going home today during the funeral of the amazing Tammy Groves. I have not attended the same church with Tammy for over 16 years, but she impacted Beth and me as an incredible co-worker in youth ministry. In one of my most stressful times of ministry, she lifted my arms.

I mourn with Jeff, Daniel, Alivia, and the spiritual families from Cornerstone Church and Restoring Hope Church. She has heard, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

https://www.wilkinsonwiseman.com/obituary/tammy-groves

Give the book of Romans a read

Recently I read the book of Romans and was reminded that this Scripture’s impact on the Christian faith is paramount. In 2007 I attempted verse-by-verse teaching through Romans but realized a few chapters in that its depth would take more time than a Sunday series could provide. I called that series “God Did It!” – and I still think that is a great title to summarize Romans.

While I typically preach from the CSB version of Scripture and use the NRSV version for personal devotions, I love reading Romans in the NLT. The NLT makes Romans flow smoothly, and when the NLT launched in the late 1990s, I thought then that the work on Romans was beautiful and helpful. The NLT doesn’t use some important theological words in its translation, but the fluidity of the writing makes the overall theme come alive.

Give Romans a read sometime. You’ll discover what the apostle Paul so persuasively explained about salvation – God did it!