I know it doesn't seem like it but spring is literally just around the corner - just 16 days away! I can't wait! And this Sunday is time change Sunday - we "spring forward" - meaning we lose an hour of sleep this Saturday night. Before long, the days will be longer and the weather will be warmer - nice thoughts on a day that began below zero!
Much is happening at Clinton FCC - here are several thoughts and reminders:
** Huge thanks to Tom Ewald for sharing w/ us during the 9:30am hour the past three Sunday mornings on lessons from the life of Judas - blessings to you Tom!
** Our new sermon series WHY? is underway - we looked yesterday at Every Member Ministry and why the Priesthood of All Believers is a biblical mandate for each of us! This Sunday, we consider the importance of FIRST KIDS and Student Ministry and we will hear from Allison, Ben and Cassandra as part of the morning message.
** Pancakes and Sausage are on the menu! Our annual Student Ministry fundraiser is Saturday March 16 beginning at 7am - get your tickets now and support your student ministry!
** CAMA "Lent" services will take place each Wednesday from now until Easter - this Wednesday March 6 a special Ash Wednesday service will take place at 6:30pm at the Methodist Church - join us!
** A special Easter week event sponsored by FIRST KIDS will happen on Wednesday evening April 17. Plan now to attend WALK with JESUS - you won't want to miss it!
** Our current ROOTED groups continue to move through the 10 week discipleship experience - so blessed to hear ongoing testimonies of how God is working!
** A new elective class will begin on Sunday March 17 and it will be a follow up on the I Am a Church Member series from February - Cody Monkman will lead us at 9:30am in this journey - look for more info moving forward!
** A men's group looking at Sexual Integrity is being formed - if you are interested in learning more about this group, see Samuel Green or myself.
** The March Bible reading plan is available - get one at the welcome center or the office, or find it online at clintonfcc.com.
** The Elder Recommendation process is underway - forms are available at the welcome center of in the church office - forms are due by March 31 should you choose to recommend someone. See any Elder w/ questions or concerns.
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
We are just a couple of days away from the month of March - before long the activities of spring will be here and longer days will bring a smile to our faces! I can't wait. At FCC, we concluded the I Am a Church Member series yesterday with a message on LEGACY - thanks to Tom Ewald for giving us much to think about and thanks to all who read the book and took time to consider what their role a member of the church at Clinton can and should look like!
Several thoughts and reminders as we begin on this cold morning:
** Super thankful for all that participated in the Small Town Ministry Summit last week in southern Indiana! I am especially thankful for Ryan Baker, Les Evans, Casey McCormick, Jeff Mayfield and Cody Monkman for our time spent together during travel and around our table. I am better equipped to serve the Lord and the church because of last week!
** Time change Sunday is less than two week away - Sunday March 10 - SPRING FORWARD - I can't wait for the longer days to become a reality!
** Student Ministry is hosting their annual Pancake/Sausage Breakfast Fundraiser on Saturday March 16 from 7am until 1pm - get your tix and support our students!
** Elder Recommendation Forms are available at the Welcome Center and in the office and will be available during the month of March. Please see any Elder if you have any questions.
** Our "Change for Life" baby bottle campaign is wrapping up - please return your baby bottles to the office or the welcome center on Sunday mornings.
** Tom Ewald will be with us in the Family Life Center for one final Sunday this week March 3 at 9:30am - join us!
** Reload for Men meets this Friday March 1 at 6:15am at the Clinton Y - all men are welcome!
** A new elective class will be launching on Sunday March 17 led by Cody Monkman - it is a follow up to I Am a Church Member and the curriculum helps us look at taking the principles of our study in February and putting them into practice in our lives and at our church.
** The Intentional Church Conference is right around the corner and there is room for YOU! Saturday April 6 at Decatur FCC - our church is a partner church and you can attend for free if you let me know ahead of time.
** This week brings a new sermon series entitled WHY? - looking at why Clinton FCC is so committed to certain principles or ideals. This Sunday brings a message on Every Member Ministry from Romans 12!
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
Short blog post this week - I'm in southern Indiana at the Wooded Glen Retreat center for the Small Town Ministry Summit along with several ministry friends from our area: Ryan Baker from Moweaqua, Les Evans from Tuscola, Jeff Mayfield from LeRoy and Casey McCormick from Mt. Pulaski, as well as Cody Monkman from Clinton. We will have 40-50 gathered to learn from Richard Crabtree, Barney Wells, Russell Johnson and others - looking at the unique context of small town ministry and how we can encourage one another as we serve! Special shout out and thanks to the Solomon Foundation for their very generous sponsorship of our event and to my friend Randy Kirk from having the vision and helping make it become reality!
Several "quick hits" before the summit begins:
** Dr. Tom Ewald did an incredible job teaching us on the life of Judas and helping us better understand the Antisocial personality - Tom will be with us the next two Sunday mornings - Feb 24 and March 3 - in the Family Life Center at 9:30am teaching from his recently published book Judas and the Criminal Mind - join us! Copies of the book are available to purchase. All are welcome!
** This Sunday is week 4 of our I Am a Church Member series by Thom Rainer - we will look at LEGACY and how that unfolds in the life of the local church, especially Clinton FCC!
** Pancake breakfast for Student Ministry is Saturday March 16 - get your tix!
** We will begin a brand new sermon study in March entitled WHY?
** We continue to raise $ for the Change for Life Baby Bottle - have you picked up your baby bottle? We are raising money for the New Life Pregnancy Center in Decatur - our goal is $5,000.00.
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
We are halfway through our February look at Thom Rainer's book I Am a Church Member - yesterday brought a message on the importance of UNITY in the life of a church - in the life of OUR church! Here are a couple of the teachings from the New Testament we looked at yesterday:
Jesus said in John 17 - "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." Jesus desires complete UNITY so the world will know the name of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4 - "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. May every effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Paul is telling his friends in Ephesus have important UNITY is for the local church, and shares a great paradigm to operate within: HUMILITY, GENTLENESS, PATIENCE and LOVE.
We also looked at one of the early slogans of the Restoration Movement - FCC's heritage: “In matters of FAITH UNITY; in matters of OPINION LIBERTY; in all things LOVE.”
We each play a part in moving toward this COMPLETE UNITY Jesus and Paul shared about. We can do this Clinton FCC! And hopefully, some day, John 13:34-35 will ring 100% true in our community: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are MY disciples, if you have LOVE for one another”
This Sunday brings week 3 of our study, and message entitled "The Church is NOT about ME!" Please read chapters 3 and 4 as you prepare for church on Sunday!
We are in a busy and important season in the life of our church - here are multiple reminders to be aware of:
** TONIGHT - Wild Game Potluck at 6pm in the Family Life Center - all are welcome!
** Beginning next Sunday morning, we will host Dr Tom Ewald from Lincoln Christian Seminary for three consecutive Sunday mornings at 9:30am in the Family Life Center - he will be teaching lessons from his recently published book on the life of Judas. ALL are welcome - please join us!
** RELOAD for Men - this FRIDAY Feb 15 at 6:15am at the Clinton Y - please read chapter 11 for this gathering.
** COFFEE BREAK for Women is this FRIDAY Feb 15 at 9:30am at FCC
** Our church is providing workers for the MOBILE FOOD PANTRY this Saturday at the American Legion - if you can help, call the office - 935-3139 or connect with Cody Monkman.
** Christian Practices retreat at FCC is Friday evening and Saturday Feb 22-23 - please find a registration form at the Welcome Center or contact the office - 935-3139.
** Our Pancake and Sausage breakfast fundraiser for UNDERGROUND student ministries will be Saturday March 16.
** We continue to raise money for the New Life Pregnancy center in Decatur by participating in their Change for Life baby bottle campaign - our goal is $5,000.00 as a church - let's make this happen FCC!
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
Blessings to each on you on this first Monday of February - several questions to think through today:
#1 - I certainly like 53 degrees instead of -17, how about you? Hopefully Mr. Groundhog is correct and spring is coming soon!
#2 - How are you liking I Am a Church Member? Do you have your copy? This week we will look at chapter 2 and the importance of UNITY in the local church - in our church. Read John 17:17-23 and Ephesians 4:1-11 as you prepare for church on Sunday.
#3 - LADIES - are you signed up for the IF Gathering this Saturday at FCC? It is NOT too late - connect w/ Mandi or Jen in the office at 935-3139 - you will be blessed if you do!
#4 - Are you ready to enjoy some WILD GAME next Monday night at the 12th annual Wild Game Potluck? Monday night Feb. 11 at 6pm in the Family Life Center.
#5 - Will you consider participating in the Christian Practices retreat at FCC on Feb. 22-23? Find out more information at the welcome center on Sunday or contact the church office at 935-3139.
#6 - FAMILY worship night hosted by FIRST KIDS is this Wednesday evening - ALL are welcome - are you planning to attend?
#7 - Did you realize a MOBILE food pantry takes place in Clinton each month at the American Legion? Did you know FCC is in charge of the February 16 event and needs multiple volunteers? Contact Cody at 935-3139 if you can serve on Saturday Feb. 16.
#8 - Did you claim your copy of the 2018 Annual Report? What a blessing to see how God blessed us last year!
#9 - Are you aware that the Neighborhood Market in the Neighborhood Care Center is open each Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3pm?
#10 - Will you join me for Dr. Tom Ewald and his three week study on the life of Judas and the criminal mind on Sunday mornings February 17, 24 and March 3 at 9:30am in the Family Life Center?
** RELOAD for Men meets at the Y on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month at 6:15am - next gathering is Friday February 15.
** Area Men's Fellowship meets at area churches on the first Tuesday of each month and raised money for Little Galilee - next gathering is tomorrow - Tuesday Feb 5 at 6:30pm at Heyworth CC.
** Breakfast Club meets each Friday morning Clinton schools are in session at 7:15am in the Underground - ALL HS and Jr HIgh students are welcome.
** FIRST KIDS meet on Wednesday evenings beginning at 6pm in the FIRST KIDS area.
** UNDERGROUND for Jr High and Sr High meet most Sunday evenings in the Underground.
** Young at Heart will meet once again on the first Friday of each month beginning in April at 10:30am in the Family Life Center.
Blessings to each of you! Have a great day!
During the month of February, Clinton FCC will be looking at the Church - at our Church - and why it exists. We will be using the book I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer as a guide and source of encouragement - we have a copy of this book for you! It has become standard in our culture - and especially in America - to challenge and criticize almost anything and anyone for almost any reason, and this "perspective" seems to be alive and well in the local church. One of my close ministry friends shared this honest assessment during a very difficult season of church life, "we have mastered the art of eating our own." Not good and certainly a much different vibe than we seem to read about in the New Testament! February will bring four messages looking at the Church - at our Church - and our CALL:
** This Sunday, February 3 we will study the Church and how Church Membership is really different than being a member of other organizations and clubs. What exactly does Paul mean when he tells the church members at Corinth "You are the BODY of Christ.?"
** Sunday February 10 we will study the Church and why UNITY is a non-negotiable - those are not my words, those are the words of the Apostle Paul himself to various churches in the first century world. I firmly believe this simple truth: UNITY warms the heart of God.
** Sunday February 17 we will study the Church and why the Church should NOT be about ME! Obviously this is quite a challenge considering we live in a consumeristic country and society. How can we pull this off? The answer is right in front us: embrace and live out the attitude of Christ.
** Sunday February 24 we will wrap up this study on the church with a message about Leaving a LEGACY. I can't wait for February!
Yesterday, we looked at Christian COMMUNITY and Acts 2:42-47. This description of the first "church" following the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus is inviting and exciting! These Christ Followers created a COMMUNITY passionate about LEARNING, LOVING and CARING, GATHERING, PRAYING, they allowed people to be VULNERABLE and they were SHARING - both of their personal wealth and blessings, and most important of all, they shared the good news of Jesus! Special thanks to FCC staff Mandi Ries and Lindsey Moody for sharing during the message yesterday!
Also at the end of services yesterday we heard from Jacey Wickenhauser, a 22 year old that grew up in our church and has made an incredible commitment to serve the Lord in Africa for 8 weeks this summer. Jacey was part of ROOTED back in the spring of 2018 and God is doing some really awesome things in her life! She is serving in study ministry at FCC and I asked her to share a little bit about her two month long mission endeavor this summer:
"Hello everyone! I'm in last semester of my senior year of college and recently God had laid it on my heart to go and serve His people in a big way. I had no idea what that would look like or when, but a few months ago he dropped Journey right in my lap. Journey is a 10-week missions and discipleship-based internship in Kenya, Africa. Myself and 10-15 other college age students from all over the US will be joining together to carry God’s love and word to the people of Kenya. It’s very humbling to think that through Journey, God is giving me the opportunity to be a part of carrying out the Great Commission. I'm so excited to see God work in all of His people and witness His amazing love. With Journey, I'll be working with every generation, and traveling to remote places all over East Africa to serve and teach beside so many others. The team I am a part of for Journey will be teaching, discipling, rejoicing with and loving indigenous people of all generations in Kenya. We will be visiting schools, churches, homes and putting on summer-camp like activities, all while being discipled ourselves through the leaders going with us.
The goal of Journey is to leave those indigenous leaders with the tools and support they need to continue to be able to teach God’s word to all who are searching for it. Please be praying for me during this time as I prepare physically, mentally, and spiritually for Journey. Pray that God may use me and others on my team to show His love in ways we couldn’t even fathom. And finally, please pray for peace and the clarity I need to listen to God as He helps prepare me as well.This trip is funded 100% by the donations of all of the generous people in my life, so each and everyone one of you will be a part of helping me to live out my calling and to follow where God is sending me. Please reach out to me if you’d like to know more about Journey as I would be happy to discuss it! Thanks, love, and blessings to you all!”
The cost of Jacey's trip is almost $7,000.00 and she is halfway there in fundraising. Would you consider supporting her financially? She is selling t-shirts as fundraiser or you can make a direct contribution to her trip. I'm so excited to see how God is working in her life! On a side note, an almost identical trip in the summer of 2012 is how Samuel Green and Ben Pertl first met - really neat stuff! Go get 'em Jacey!
Several quick reminders:
** WILD GAME Potluck is Monday February 11 at 6pm
** RELOAD for men is this Friday at 6:15am at the Clinton Y
** BSF groups meet at Clinton FCC on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8pm
** If Clinton schools happen to be cancelled due to bad weather, any FIRST KIDS or UNDERGROUND activities will more than likely be cancelled.
** I am blessed to be a part of the Direct Line Radio show with my friend Wayne Kent on 1340AM WSOY in Decatur most Wednesday evenings from 5-7pm. You can listen at 1340AM, 103.3FM or at nowdecatur.com.
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
Tomorrow - January 22 - is a day that forever changed our country. In 1973, the landmark Roe vs. Wade case brought the legalization of the practice of abortion to all fifty states. During these 46 years, over 60 million legal abortions have happened in the land of the free. Many of you are aware this is an issue I am very passionate about - it is very personal for me. I am adopted. This summer I will turn 50. I have never met my birth mother and do not know the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy from late 1968 into the summer of 1969, and I probably never will. Questions like these will go unanswered more than likely, at least on this side of eternity.
But here is the unmistakable truth: I am forever thankful for the gift of LIFE I received from my birth mother! I am blessed beyond words by the gift of ADOPTION - Jim and Dorothy Taylor ARE my parents and raised me in a Christian home and gave me opportunities and experiences to grow and develop! Because of this gift of LIFE given to me, I was able to marry the love of life Marla Knackmuhs 26 1/2 years ago! Because of this gift of LIFE given to me, I watched last summer as my daughter Jordan had the opportunity to both graduate from college and marry Jacob, the love of her life! Because of this gift of LIFE given to me, I watched last Saturday as my son Peyton competed in his first college track and field meet in Terre Haute, Indiana. I cannot even allow myself to consider a world without Jordan Vangen and Peyton Taylor - this gift of LIFE was and is really something special!
What's the point? Every. Life. Matters. Yesterday at Clinton FCC, we were so blessed by Penny Weaver, executive director of the New Life Pregnancy Center in Decatur. If you missed yesterday due to weather or other factors, please take time to watch the message on the Clinton FCC Facebook page - Penny had so much to share about LIFE - you will be blessed! And grab a baby bottle - we are once again participating in the New Life "Change for Life" fundraiser - I would LOVE to see Clinton FCC raise at least $5,000.00 for New Life this year! Every. Life. Matters. Thanks NLPC and Penny for all you do for the cause of LIFE in the land of the free!
This Sunday January 27 at Clinton FCC - keep in mind the following opportunities for you:
#1 - DISCOVER FCC will take place at 9:30am in the Family Life Center Alcove at 9:30am - we will look at the BELIEFS, the HISTORY and the MINISTRIES of Clinton FCC - all are welcome! Please RSVP if possible w/ the office at 935-3139.
#2 - PIZZA POTLUCK connections event at 6pm in the Family Life Center. Grab your favorite pizza and come on out for pizza, pop and games, and also receive a copy of the 2018 Annual Report - they will NOT be available before Sunday evening so come on out!
#3 - I Am a Church Member - we will be distributing this book by Thom Rainer to each family this Sunday as we prepare to study this book together on Sunday mornings in February. I am really looking forward to all four Sundays in February as we consider:
** Feb 3 - The Church is the Bride of Christ - what does this mean? How should this impact us?
** Feb 10 - UNITY warms the heart of God - what does this look like as a church?
** Feb 17 - The Church is NOT about me - how does this work in a consumeristic culture?
** Feb 24 - The Church has an opportunity (and a calling) to LEAVE a LEGACY - how can we make this happen?
Have a great week - see you Sunday! And hopefully we can have a weekend sans snow, wind and ice!
Many of you were like me this week - you were walking in a winter wonderland. Maybe you really enjoyed it - the beauty of falling snow and frozen trees sure are beautiful. Or maybe you are like me - ready for temps in the 30's and 40's and dry weather for the next couple of months. Whatever your thoughts were, one thing rings true - we really have no control over the weather, so simply enjoy (or tolerate) it! And guess what? Looks like another snow event is very likely this coming weekend - I'm sure hoping this proves to be incorrect!
With winter weather in mind, here are a couple of reminders related to bad weather and FCC programming:
1. Our leadership is committed to making wise choices and we will do our best to communicate quickly when programs or services are cancelled. Check both the church and my personal Facebook pages and this blog site for the most current information. If cancellations happen, please help us spread the word.
2. Like yesterday, if church is happening but the weather is not good and you are unsure if you can or should make it, please be wise and don't put yourself at risk. We are regularly sharing at least a mini-sermon on Facebook when cancellations or bad weather occurs so take advantage of this opportunity.
3. Do not be afraid to dress casually and for warmth on days like yesterday. We have no dress code at FCC so don't worry - dress warmly!
4. Be supportive of your leadership when decisions are made on either side of the decision - either to cancel or to still meet. I can still remember my conversation with a longtime member the weekend following the winter storm of 2015. We cancelled on the advice and strong encouragement of law enforcement on a Saturday evening, and the storm slowed down and didn't actually arrive until late morning - it was dry as a bone at 8:15am. Needless to say, it wasn't an ideal situation. This longtime member greeted me at 8:10am the following Sunday by sharing what a disgrace I was and how I should be fired immediately - not exactly a helpful context to enter into worship or preach the word of God!
Thank you for loving your church and please continue to pray for your leadership! We need every single prayer!
Sunday brought a message on the Clinton FCC VISION to become a "Passionate Community of Disciple Makers" and the challenge to live it out in our daily lives. Two primary challenges - make sure you are living the life of a Disciple and not merely a casual Christian and make sure you are intentionally engaging and connecting with your ONE! Let's do this FCC!
Several calendar items to keep in mind:
1. ROOTED groups launch this week - over 50 are signed up! If you have yet to commit to a ROOTED group, please begin to clear your fall - September is YOUR time!
2. RELOAD for men - this Friday at 6:15am at the Y - all men are welcome!
3. Next Sunday - Sanctity of Human Life Sunday - Penny Weaver from New Life Pregnancy Center in Decatur will be our special guest and we will launch the annual change for life Baby Bottle campaign! Thanks to our liaison Anne Marie Hubbell for keeping us connected w/ New Life!
4. Discover FCC - 9:30am on Sunday January 27 in the Family Life Center Alcove - come and learn about the BELIEFS, the HISTORY and the MINISTRIES of Clinton FCC!
5. PIZZA Potluck connections event - Sunday January 27 at 6pm in the Family Life Center! The 2018 Annual Report will be available for the first time at this gathering.
6. I Am a Church Member all-church study during the month of February - we have a copy of this book for YOU!
7. Prayer for mission trips happening this week:
** Pray for Don MacIsaac from our church who is traveling w/ Barb O'Donohue to Kenya for up to three months to help construct the safety wall for COPE and the children of POKOT ministry! Blessings to Don for his willingness to answer the call from God!
** Pray for Tom and Rita Seggelke, Paul Boatman and Dr. Steve Kotterman from Lincoln, IL as they travel beginning today to Northeast India to serve the Kuki Christian Church mission in Imphal, Manipur.
Have a great week - see you Sunday!
The New Year is off and running! Thanks to Samuel Green for his message yesterday on the importance of a long obedience to the Lord - much to chew on! And special thanks to Don and Penny MacIsaac for sharing their testimony via video, and for Don's commitment to travel to Kenya with Barb O'Donohue and help supervise the construction of the wall at the COPE ministry area. Don will be in Africa for up to three months - please pray now for success of this undertaking and the positive impact on one of our monthly mission partners!
Several items rolling through my brain on this windy Monday morning:
** ROOTED! Today is the last day to sign up for the winter session that begins next week, either on Sunday January 13 or Wednesday January 16. Please contact the church office and get signed up today! Let me know if you have any questions or need more information.
** Bible Reading Plan - since January 2017, we have been publishing a daily Bible reading schedule one week at a time and had copies in the weekly bulletin. We are still publishing this plan, but are now doing it one month at a time and the copies are now available at the Welcome Center, in the church office, on our website or can be emailed to you. The February plan will be available to pick up on Sunday January 27.
** Bible Study Fellowship - FCC will continue to host both men's and women's BSF groups on Tuesday evenings this school year - they begin meeting again tomorrow night January 8. It is NOT too late to jump in - if you are looking for another Bible study option and want to connect with Christians from other churches, BSF might just be for you!
** Discover FCC - our next gathering is at 9:30am on Sunday January 27 in Family Life Center Alcove - come learn about the history, the beliefs and the ministries of Clinton FCC - all are welcome!
** Pizza Potluck Connections Event - Sunday evening January 27 - Lindsey Moody has announced one of my favorite connections events - less than three weeks away! Join us for pizza and fellowship on the 27th!
** FIRST KIDS and The Underground Student Ministry - both ministries get rolling this week - make sure you are aware of what is happening with children's and student ministry at FCC! Please note BREAKFAST CLUB will return on Friday January 25.
** Elective Bible School class for Adults in January - The Good Book! Key Themes in the Bible - will meet in room 2217 and EVERYONE is welcome! Cassandra Benton is leading this class.
** Direct Line - Wednesday evening radio from 5-7pm - most Wednesday evenings, I am blessed to be able to talk about life and faith on AM 1340 WSOY out of Decatur with my friend Wayne Kent from Decatur FCC. Listen in! Call in! Let me know if there are topics or interviews you would like to hear us discuss or facilitate!
** Funerals this week at FCC - this Wednesday, our church will host the visitation and funeral for long time FCC servant Peg Reeter and this Saturday, our church will host the visitation and funeral for Shane Peterson. Please be in prayer for both families. On a personal note, I can't tell you how much I personally appreciated Peg and her heart for service she displayed during my time in ministry at FCC. Peg was a member of the Faith Builders SS class I am honored to lead and absolutely loved our church! I'm so thankful for the Peg Reeter's I've connected with in life and in ministry through the years!
** Change for Life baby bottles - January 20 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and we will be blessed to hear from Penny Weaver from New Life Pregnancy Center in Decatur during Sunday morning worship services. You will also have an opportunity to grab a baby bottle and begin collecting your spare change - a fundraiser for NLPC - my hope is Clinton FCC can raise $5,000.00 this year for NLPC through our spare change - let's do it!
** Coming in February: "I Am a Church Member" - the four Sunday mornings in February will bring messages from this book by Thom Rainer and we are making this book available to EVERYONE! If you are able, we are asking for a $5 donation to offset the cost the books, but regardless, we are hoping EVERYONE will grab a copy of the book and read it during the month of February.
** Coming in February and early March: Dr. Tom Ewald from Lincoln, IL will lead us during the 9:30am hour for three consecutive weeks on lessons from his new book, Judas and the Criminal Mind. Tom was one of my favorite professors at LCU and continues to be a dear family friend. You will NOT want to miss this three week study hosted by the Faith Builders class but OPEN to ALL! This class will meet in the Family Life Center on February 17, 24 and March 3 - I hope you can join us!
** Finances! I am excited to announce that 2018 ended really well for our church, and we will finish the year at least $60,000.00 above our 2018 MAP (budget) - final figures will be announced as part of an annual report we will have available to everyone by the end of the month. We also raised $4,557.00 through our Thanksgiving Offering for the Vault and as of Friday, had raised $6,277.00 through our Christmas Offering for the Neighborhood Care Center to provide a commercial generator and sally port. Praise the Lord!
Happy New Year - see you Sunday!
It's early at the Taylor house and Sadie and I are soaked from our early morning walk. The house is quiet as Marla and Peyton sleep. And I sit here alone in solitude reflecting on the year that is almost over - and oh what a year it proved to be! My daughter Jordan graduated from College with the highest of honors - what a blessing. My son Peyton graduated from High School as valedictorian - what a blessing! Jordan married the love of her life - an wonderful man of faith named Jacob - what a blessing! But then she moved 17 hours away from us - not so awesome. Peyton achieved much on the basketball court and in the throwing world of track and field - state champ in discus - what a blessing! Jordan completed her first semester of student teaching in New England - what a blessing! Marla and I have become "empty nesters" - certainly not a blessing but we have spent a lot more time together the past four months and that is certainly a blessing! 2018 will go in the books as one of the biggest and best years of my life - what a blessing!
And tomorrow it starts all over again - a New Year - what will 2019 bring? We can never be 100% assured of what will happen but here are 10 "HOPES" for 2019:
#10 - I HOPE our world and especially our country will become a more civil and loving place to live - my prayer is the new year brings a renewed commitment to live our the words of Jesus: "love your neighbor as yourself."
#9 - I HOPE our church will move closer and closer to an Acts 2 biblical community - a community where we live out Acts 2 nuggets like "they had everything in common" and "they had glad and sincere hearts" and "they enjoyed the favor of all the people" - let's make this happen in 2019 FCC!
#8 - I HOPE our monthly mission partners at FCC enjoy an incredible year spreading the good news of Jesus Christ literally all over the world! So many of our partnerships are producing much fruit, living out the words of Paul to the church at Corinth: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." May much planting and watering take place in 2019 in the name of Jesus!
#7 - I HOPE the ministries of the Neighborhood Care Center continue to shake and shine for Jesus and new efforts and ideas produce much fruit. Jesus said, "you are the salt of the earth . . . you are the light of the world." If you want to shake and shine for Jesus, consider serving in the NCC in 2019!
#6 - I HOPE FCC will continue to be a church where the word of God is front and center in who we are and what we do! "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Reminder: FCC is now publishing a monthly Bible reading plan - get your copy of January 2019 today!
#5 - I HOPE to personally read and pray more in 2019, and watch tv and surf social media much less in the new year. Will you join me in attempting to live out the truth from Psalm 46 "be still and know that I am God"?
#4 - I HOPE 2019 is a year of reconciliation for many of us who are in relationship strain with others - may this be the year we break through and live out the forgiveness Jesus modeled for us throughout his earthly ministry? Don't forget the words of Jesus in the model prayer - words we are told to pray - "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us." Don't forget the famous words of Corrie ten Boom: "forgiveness is to set a prisoner free . . . and realize that prisoner is you!"
#3 - I HOPE another year of ROOTED will bring dozens and dozens of more participants both this winter and during the fall of 2019! I echo the prayer of Paul for the church at Ephesus - may this prayer become reality for YOU in 2019: "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."
#2 - I HOPE more and more people in our lives become Christ Followers in 2019, confessing what Peter said to Jesus in Matthew 16 "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" and submitting to Jesus in the waters of baptism.
#1 - I HOPE the faith community in 61727 and beyond will live out more intentionally the words of Jesus to his disciples "by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)
Happy New Year!
Several quick thoughts as I conclude the last weekly update of 2018:
** Great job Allison and Cassandra on Family Sunday - you both did great! And great job Don and Penny MacIsaac sharing your testimony via video! And great job to my wife Marla sharing the communion meditation, something that is way outside her comfort zone.
** This Thursday January 3, FCC will host the Area Men's fellowship at 6:30pm in the Family Life Center - my friend Jeff Mayfield will bring the message and we will get an update from the camp! All men are welcome!
** This Friday January 4 at 6:15am - RELOAD for Men! See you at Y men of faith!
** Today is the last day to give financially to FCC and have it "count" for 2018.
See you Sunday,
Weekly update on what's happening at FCC! Glad you're here!