Happy Graduation weekly update

Graduation 2017 is either in the books or just around the corner for most of the folks connected with Clinton FCC. Let me share four quick thoughts for ALL of our graduates – whether it is 8th grade, HS, college or graduate degree completion:

1st – CONGRATS! Seriously, well done. We all go through times during the educational process where we wonder if it is truly worth it. And guess what, it is truly worth it! So congrats on staying the course and finishing. Well done!

2nd – Don’t look at your graduation as an ending, but rather a beginning. If you are wrapping up HS, begin to visualize what you can accomplish next. If you are completing your undergraduate education, begin to hope and dream about what might be next. Never quit learning. Never stop having the desire to learn. Make the most of the opportunities in front of you!

3rd – Look at this next phase of life as new beginning. I remember talking w/ an 8th grade graduate several years ago who was a good student but had the reputation at his Jr High of being a trouble maker and clown – and he was really discouraged about this label he was wearing. My message was simple: next year brings a new school, possibly some new friends, a different faculty and the chance to start over – to begin again. If you are not thrilled with where you have been up to this point one way or another, use your graduation – and new beginning – as the chance to start again new.

4th – Most importantly – put your hope and trust in God! In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul shares some important spiritual encouragement for his young son of the faith Timothy. He says in 1 Timothy 4:12 “don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Really good advice! In 1 Timothy 4:16 he says “to watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them . . .” Good advice! And in 1 Timothy 4:9, he says to remember this trustworthy saying, “we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men.” Great advice! Put your hope and trust in God!

Congrats on your graduation! Blessings to you!

Hey Clinton FCC – don’t forget the following:

  • RELOAD for Men – THIS Tuesday May 23 at 6am at the Cable Building!
  • ONE SERVICE SUNDAY – THIS Sunday at 9:30am – no programming at 8:15 or 10:45! This will be a FAMILY Sunday!
  • RESCHEDULED 5K to Raise 5K – Saturday June 3 at 8am!!!
  • VBS at Clinton FCC – June 5-9!

Have a great week!


Thankfulness for God’s people

A day late Happy Mother’s Day to all of those who have sacrificed and loved children and grandchildren through the years! Special blessings to the three “mothers” in my life: my mom Dorothy, my wife Marla, and my mother-in-law Lavina – three special women who have blessed me and my family continually. Honor to whom honor is due!

I want to write this week about three special happenings this past weekend at Clinton FCC – the blessings flowing as a result:

  1. Mother Daughter banquet – back in February, Joyce Mathias asked to have a meeting with me and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what she could possibly want? It turned out to be an idea she wasn’t sure I would be excited about – to attempt to begin a new program/tradition at our church – a Mother/Daughter banquet. I actually was very excited! And Saturday turned out to a an incredible day of blessing after blessing! Thanks Joyce for taking the lead on this event, and her team of Mary Holland, Joyce Trummel, Jan Dial and others hit a home run! It was special to see so many men serving – from teens like Peyton and Isaiah to men in their 80’s – every generation serving the Lord! We had about 160 participants – I would call that a success for year #1! Way to go Joyce and crew!
  2. Post Office Food Drive – also on Saturday – all day for the that matter – was the annual Post Office Food Drive to support the food pantry’s in our community. Barb Baker and an army of volunteers gave up their Saturday to help with this all-day event and our food pantry was very blessed as a result – over 800 pounds of food was donated by our community to our food pantry alone! Thank you Barb and all those who served on Saturday! By the way, if you want to help our food pantry, why not consider buying a ticket for the Rotary sponsored Nelson’s Chicken Dinner tomorrow May 16? Pick up will be at the Junior High from 4:30 – 6pm – tickets are $9 in advance, or $10 day of.
  3. End of the year Choir Cantata – Ruth Davidson and the choir blessed us at 8:15am yesterday with five moving “specials” – each telling a different story about faith and life! Two highlights for me personally: The Mother’s Day special w/ pictures from our church; and the Flash Mob to conclude the service that reminded us we should never apologize for celebrating the blessings of our faith! Christians should the happiest and most joyful people of all – and sadly this is not always the case. If you didn’t leave first service Sunday with a smile on your face and joy in your heart, I don’t really know what to say! Well done Ruth and choir!

Keep the following in mind:

  • Saturday is our 5K to raise 5K – not to late to sign up – get your registration form in the church office, at the welcome center or call the church and we will deliver! Cost to participate is just $20 and ALL monies raised support our summer mission trips!
  • RELOAD for Men – Tuesday May 23 at 6am at the Cable Building! Summer dates for RELOAD will be June 13 and 27; July 11 and 25; August 8 and 22.
  • ONE SERVICE Sunday Memorial Day weekend – Sunday May 28 at 9:30am – FAMILY Sunday – you will not want to miss this special service!
  • Daily Bible readings continue – don’t miss the blessing of reading through the NT with your church family! This week we wrap up Romans and read the book of James!

Have a great week!


Biggie Smalls week

I’m typing this morning from beautiful Southern Indiana as Cody and I get ready for the 2017 Big Church-Small Town gathering in Corydon, Indiana. My friend Randy Kirk had the vision for this gathering last year, and we learned much from other churches that fit our unique demographic: churches of 500 or more located in communities of 10,000 or less. Several quick updates and reminders before we leave for First Capitol Christian Church to learn from one another:

  • Mother/Daughter banquet – this Saturday at FCC – I still need 4-5 men who can help w/ serving the event – can you help?
  • Sunday May 14 – End of the year Choir Cantata at 8:15am service – come on out and support Ruth Davidson and our choir!
  • Tuesday May 16 – Nelson’s drive through chicken dinner sponsored by Clinton Rotary at the Jr High from 4:30 – 6pm – tickets are $9 and ALL money raised goes to support the local food pantries in our community, including FCC’s!
  • Saturday May 20 – 5K to Raise 5K – run, walk, register but don’t participate – all are GREAT options – just $20 per person – supports summer missions trips!
  • Sunday May 28 – ONE service Sunday at FCC at 9:30am!
  • VBS at FCC will be June 5-9
  • Men’s Mission Trip to Casas Por Cristo – August 5-12

Have a great day – see you Sunday!


May Day weekly update

Happy May Day – kind of a cool tradition historically in the USA related to the secret giving of flowers on May 1 – I remember as a youngster hearing the doorbell ring and finding a small basket of flowers on the door step! Not sure it is really happening in our context any longer, but neat none the less – let’s get started w/ the update:

  • First – what a great last week I experienced and if I could summarize w/ one word it would be: REFRESH! Here are some of the highlights:
    • I really loved the Spiritual Formation Leadership Retreat at Eagle Rock Retreat Center on the edge of the Smoky Mountains – what a blessing! I’m planning to share in July and August a series “birthed” last week in my heart as a result of this retreat!
    • I was able to follow up the three day retreat with a couple of days of personal retreat – basing out of the dorm at Johnson University, I was able to read, hike, pray and ponder for about 48 hours – and I was able to connect with Jordan – it had been 101 days (but who’s counting) since I had seen her – far too long!
    • I was blessed to reconnect w/ a couple of ministry friends on the journey home – Benji Maurer, who now lives in Lexington, KY and Wade Thompson from Columbus, Indiana. God has really dropped some great ministry friendships in my lap through the years and I’m really thankful!
    • Saturday brought some AAU hoops in Indy – always enjoy watching Peyton play basketball.
    • Yesterday I had the chance to visit a couple of churches in our area and “learn” – loved being in worship at Jefferson St CC in Lincoln and Vale Church in B-N.
  • This Friday – first Friday of the month – is the new Young At Heart – if you are over 55, this is for YOU! See you this Friday morning at 10:30am!
  • The 4 Sundays in May will bring a return to our series through the book of Acts, looking at Conflict (chapter 15); Calling (16:1-15); Character (17:1-15); and Comfort (18:1-11) – the final Sunday in May will be a one service Sunday at 9:30am – Sunday May 28.
  • Saturday May 13 from 11:30 – 2 will be our Mother/Daughter Banquet – get your tickets this Sunday morning!
  • Sunday May 14 – the Choir led by Ruth Davidson will be sharing an “end of the year” cantata of sorts during the 8:15am worship service.
  • Tuesday May 16 will be the annual Rotary Nelson’s Drive-thru Chicken Dinner – pick up at the Jr. High – tickets at $9 – all money raised supports local food pantries, including FCC’s!
  • Saturday May 20 at 8am – the 5K to Raise 5K – are you signed up?
  • June 5-9 – VBS at Clinton FCC

** Thanks to our ministry staff for holding down the fort this past week in my absence and special thanks to Samuel for preaching and Allison for teaching my SS class yesterday! And thanks to Cassandra for leading staff meeting this past week!

** Bible reading at Clinton FCC – we began a 16 day journey through the book of Romans yesterday – make sure you join in – Romans is considered Paul’s master work!

Finally, huge shout out to a group of 4th and 5th grade girls who had the dream of doing a bake sale to support our Easter offering for LGCA’s Dining Hall project! It happened yesterday at just about $900 was raised, pushing our grand total in the neighborhood of $10,000.00! So thankful for these girls! So thankful for Allison and her willingness to work w/ them! So thankful for a church that never grows tired of asking, “what can we do to make a difference for the Lord?”

Have a great day – see you Sunday!


Late April update

I’m typing my weekly blog from a motel room near Lexington, KY on Sunday evening as I’m on my way to a Spiritual Formation Retreat in the Smoky Mountains led by Dr. Jody Owens of Johnson University, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Five thoughts on this Sunday evening:

  1. So thankful for the 10th Intentional Church Conference on Saturday at Decatur FCC. Our church has been a leader in this event from the very beginning and Saturday might have been our best gathering yet! Gene Appel and Caleb Kaltenbach were so inspiring and over 350 were blessed by the day. Thanks to everyone who gave up a Saturday to learn how to better be the church and make a difference!
  2. So thankful for our staff at Clinton FCC – Melinda and Lindsey did a great job yesterday w/ the Meet and Greet, Allison and Cassandra continue to a great job with our children’s ministry at FCC, Cody is working very hard to make our student ministry the very best it can be, Samuel is overseeing our worship ministry with excellence and I have just loved our 2nd service – what a joy to sit and worship week in and week out! Our office crew continues to serve with the love of Jesus and Kelly, Karen and Rebecca work really hard to make our building look incredible. If you see our staff, thank them for being the blessing they are!
  3. This week brings several important gatherings:
    1. RELOAD for men Tuesday at 6am
    2. Ladies Night Out – Thursday at 6:30pm
    3. Mobile Food Pantry Saturday at the Cable Building – can you help?
  4. Please keep India and the Kuki Christian Church Mission on your hearts and in your prayers. So thankful for the chance yesterday to share about this awesome ministry – and I look forward to continuing to tell the story of the KCCM!
  5. Finally – will you pray for me at I spend the week in Tennessee? I’m blessed this week to attend a Spiritual Formation Retreat and will also spend a couple of days w/ Jordan and in the library. Looking forward to spending some time away and refreshing spiritually!

Have a great week – blessings!


Easter Monday – oh what a day!

Yesterday was such a great day at Clinton FCC! Huge crowds both services and most important of all – everything during the day was ALL about Jesus! So thankful for everyone who made the extra effort to be involved in making Easter 2017 at Clinton FCC so impacting! Here are several thoughts:

  • Thanks to Mary Holland for once again making the FCC Sanctuary look SO beautiful for both Good Friday and Easter Sunday morning – if you see Mary, please tell her thanks for ALL she does!
  • We made a mistake and did not include the Easter flower list – flowers giving in memory or in honor of someone – we will be sharing this list on our email that will send today w/ the weekly news and notes and we will also include it in next week’s bulletin – again, sorry for the oversight.
  • Thanks to Ruth Davidson and Samuel Green for the hours and hours spent planning services on Friday evening and Sunday morning – well done Ruth and Samuel!
  • Several have asked about numbers – we had about 221 on Friday evening for Good Friday service and just over 1,000 for Easter Sunday morning services – Praise the Lord!
  • Thanks to the choir for sharing specials on Friday evening and at 8:15am on Sunday and thanks to all who were involved in the 10:45 service – it was almost a mini-choir!
  • MOST importantly – thank you to JESUS – God’s greatest GIFT and God’s greatest MIRACLE!

This Saturday is the Intentional Church conference in Decatur and there is still room for YOU! Come be inspired by Gene Appel and Caleb Kaltenbach and enjoy great fellowship with churches from all across central Illinois! The FCC van will roll around 8am on Saturday.

Keep the following events in mind as we move from April towards the month of May:

  • Ladies Night Out – Thursday April 27 at 6:30pm – featuring Leslie Kent from FCC Decatur.
  • MOBILE Food pantry at the Cable Building – we need help from 9am – noon – Cody Monkman in charge.
  • Mother/Daughter banquet on Saturday May 13 – get your tickets Sunday!
  • 5K to raise 5K – Saturday May 20 at 8am
  • VBS at Clinton FCC – June 5-9

Finally, this morning at 11:30am at the Y is our final Hide and Seek for spring 2017 – I have really enjoyed the blessing of these 12 weeks of memorizing God’s word! We are looking at bringing Hide and Seek back in the fall – day and time to be reconsidered!

Have a great week – see you Sunday as I share about my recent trip to India.



Holy week update

It is the most important week of the year for followers of Jesus – as we prepare to remember and celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At Clinton FCC, we are hoping this week is memorable and impacting – here are three chances for you and your family to make the most of Holy week:

  • Wednesday evening – the Road to Resurrection – a five stop tour that tells the story of Holy week – RESERVATIONS are required – contact Cassandra or the church office to get signed up! Tours begin at 5:30pm – you will NOT want to miss this unique event!
  • Friday evening – CAMA Good Friday service hosted by Clinton FCC at 7pm – Rev. Steve Hill from the Presbyterian Church will be speaking and our choir will share special music.
  • Sunday morning – two unique services at 8:15 and 10:45 will help you truly celebrate the difference Jesus makes for ALL of us because of the Resurrection!

Other events to keep in mind:

  • Mondays at 11:30am at the Y – Hide and Seek Bible memory class – today we are looking at two more verses from the Roman Road – Romans 5:8 and Romans 10:9 – see you this morning at the Y!
  • This Tuesday morning at 6am – RELOAD for men in the Cable building – breakfast by KP and a Bible study on 1 Corinthians 15 – the Resurrection chapter.
  • Saturday April 22 – the Intentional Church conference in Decatur – I have room for YOU! ¬†Gene Appel is the keynote and Cody, Allison and myself are all part of breakout sessions!
  • Thursday April 27 – Ladies Night Out at Clinton FCC featuring Leslie Kent from Decatur FCC at 6:30pm – Salad Potluck.
  • Saturday May 13 – Mother/Daughter banquet at Clinton FCC at 11:30am – get your tickets soon! Joyce Mathias and Mary Holland are in charge and it will be a blessing!
  • Tuesday May 16 – ROTARY drive through chicken dinner at Clinton Jr Hi – money raised is given to local food banks, including Clinton FCC! Get your tix!
  • Saturday May 20 – 5K to Raise 5K!
  • June 5-9 – VBS at Clinton FCC

Finally, yesterday was a great day at Clinton FCC! So excited to see so many in worship for FRIEND Day, and several changes took place, including:

  • New bulletin format – great job to the FCC marketing team for their work on reformatting the bulletin – I love it!
  • Where is my hospital list? Where is my prayer list? Great question! We are publishing a weekly “news notes” that will be available each Sunday morning at the welcome center – feel free to pick it up! We will also be emailing it to our entire email list – if you do NOT currently get FCC emails, contact the office and they will sign you up!
  • New WELCOME CENTER – this will become your one stop resource for information and help on Sunday mornings!
  • FIRESIDE room – we are so excited to announce that each Sunday morning from 9-9:30 and from 11:30-noon, an Elder will be available in the Fireside room for the purpose of prayer, encouragement and spiritual blessing – you do NOT need an appointment, just arrive and connect!
  • WELCOME teams – each week, you will see multiple folks wearing a lanyard and name tag who are available to serve you – if you need anything, seek them out!

Finally today – I want to thank each of you for the pleasure of serving FCC as part of the ministry staff. It is truly a blessing to be able to preach and teach week in and week out at our church. Let us never grow tired or weary of Loving God, Building the Church and Reaching the World!