New Blog Site for GT’s Weekly Update

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Apple and Pork, One service Sunday and Heat!

Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend on the 61727 for the annual Apple and Pork Festival – next year will be 50 years of A & P! 50 years! This year might have been the hottest ever, with temperatures in the mid-90’s both days. As a result, the crowds were as small as I can remember in my 11 years and unfortunately, many of the organizations attempting to raise money were faced with the challenge of unsold product. Bummer! With that said, I know the following:

  • The Y is selling uncooked pork cutlets in bulk – call the Y at 935-8307 to find out how to get yours! There are really tasty – thin and delicious – perfect for a sandwich!
  • Clinton Rotary has leftover trays (never frozen and never warmed) of Pulled Pork as well – if you are interested in purchasing at Rotary’s cost, contact me!

Great job Ben Pertl and the students and parents of our student ministry for once again running the parking lot with excellence on less than ideal days! And thanks to Cody Monkman for helping Ben is assimilated and indoctrinated in the Apple and Pork culture!

Great job Samuel Green putting together our one service Sunday yesterday – I love when we gather together for one service! We continued our journey through the TELL ME MORE series, looking at Christians and Hypocrisy and will conclude the study next week with a look at relationships and why so many seem to fail. Then on October 8, we will begin a look at some of the concerns/struggles our church self-disclosed during our spiritual formation study last February – sins like Pride, Gossip and Anger – should be an interesting month at FCC!

Keep the following dates/activities on your calendars – much continues to happen:

  • Sabbath End – each Sunday evening at 5pm in the Sanctuary foyer
  • Ladies BSF study group – Tuesdays at 6:30pm in the Family Life Center
  • RELOAD for Men – 2nd and 4th Tuesday mornings at 6am in the Family Life Center
  • Discover FCC – Wednesday October 4 at 6pm in the Family Life Center
  • Doughnut Day at FCC – grab a doughnut and connect from 9-10:30am on Sunday October 15!
  • Ladies Night Out – TH October 26 at 6:30pm

Finally, Saturday night was the latest version of Fan the Flame – at ISU’s Braden Auditorium featuring Michael W Smith. To say I was a kid in a candy store would be the understatement of the year! I had the chance to meet MWS before the concert began (can you say selfie!) and had a front row seat for my favorite concert ever! I love the music of this musical genius, but I think some of my favorite parts of the evening were getting an inside look at key moments in his life and the story behind the music:

  • His moving tribute to Cassie Bernall in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine school shooting with the song “This is your time”
  • His White House encounter with then President George W Bush just weeks after 9/11 and 43’s strong encouragement to MWS to write a song about that American tragedy – the backstory to his song “There She Stands”
  • His human side – sharing intimately about his father, who he lost two years ago, and about his mother, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. So beautiful and moving!

The best part of the evening was the worship! So thankful Michael W Smith – nearing the age of 60 – continues to make worship a staple of what he is all about! Great evening Saturday evening at ISU!

Thanks to Randy Anderson for the vision of Fan the Flame – I still remember his phone call in early July 2013 (I have to admit, I thought he was crazy) pitching the concept.  And five and a half weeks later, the first Fan the Flame happened in August of ’13 featuring Jason Gray, Jake Gulledge and Michael Mallick. Randy and Ann are special folks and they have “spoiled” so many of us with Fan the Flame concerts! Many of the concerts have been at Clinton FCC, but we have also seen Fan the Flame concerts at Lincoln Christian University, Little Galilee Camp and even on Mr. Lincoln’s Square in downtown Clinton. Here are most of the artists of the Fan the Flame concerts:

  • Jason Gray
  • Mike’s Chair and City Harbor
  • Finding Favor
  • Selah
  • Mark Schultz
  • Big Daddy Weave
  • Remedy Drive
  • Rend Collective
  • Plumb
  • JJ Heller
  • Carrolton
  • The Prodigal Worship Band
  • Grayson Reed
  • Michael W Smith

Thanks Randy and Ann! Blessings to you!

Have a great week – see you Sunday!






Apple and Pork weekend is coming – are you ready?

This weekend, ten of thousands are coming to DeWitt County for our annual Apple and Pork weekend – are you ready? Are you already starting to salivate over your favorite food options? By the way, think Rotary pulled pork and YMCA pork cutlet – you can’t go wrong with either! I am super excited about this weekend and hope you are as well – here are ten reminders/updates as we get this weekly update started:

#1 – THIS SUNDAY is a ONE SERVICE Sunday at 9:30am – no programming at 8:15 or 10:45 this Sunday. We will continue our “Tell Me More” sermon series, looking at the question, “Why are Christians Hypocrites?”

#2 – FAN the FLAME – THIS Saturday evening at ISU’s Braden Auditorium featuring Michael W Smith – don’t miss this incredible concert event supporting Midwest Food Bank in BN!

#3 – DISCOVER FCC – Wednesday October 4 at 6pm – coming learn about the history, theology and ministries of Clinton FCC – this 75 minute gathering will include a tour of the building and also have a Q and A time – sign up this week!

#4 – BREAKFAST CLUB – every Friday morning in the Fellowship Hall, Jr High and Sr High students are invited to a breakfast of champions prepared by Kevin Peterson and a devo for the day by Director of Student Ministries Ben Pertl – 7:15am is the time and transportation to school is provided.

#5 – Wednesday’s at FCC – Choir practice, Community groups, FIRST KIDS youth groups – much is happening on Wednesdays at FCC – check it out! And by the way, the CHIMES Choir begins practice  next Monday night Sept 25 at 7pm – see Ruth Davidson for more info about the Choir and the Chimes Choir.

#6 – REVEAL for Jr High and Sr High – Sunday evenings in the main building at FCC – Jr High meets from 5-6:30 and Sr High from 6:30-8 – are your students plugged in?

#7 – SABBATH END – Sunday evenings at 5pm in the Sanctuary Foyer – worship, spiritual teaching and prayer – a great way to wrap up your weekend – join us!

#8 – FCC Food Pantry – currently, the Food Pantry is open from 1-3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays – expanded days and hours are coming – always room for more in this important ministry area – see Cody if interested in serving.

#9 – YOUNG at HEART for October – Friday October 6 at 10:30am in the Family Life Center – if you are 55 or older, WE WANT YOU! Talk to Marcia Wise or Jan Dial for more info!

#10 – MEN’s Opportunities – RELOAD for Men meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 6am in the Family Life Center – next breakfast/study is Tuesday September 26 – join us! Area Men’s fellowship happens on the 1st Tuesday of each month at various churches – next gathering is at Saybrook CC on Tuesday Oct 3 – van leaves FCC at 6pm – see Tim Wenthe for more info and join us!

Have a great week – see you Sunday for our one service Sunday at 9:30am!


September 11 – I hope we never forget

It was a pretty normal day back in 2001 – a Tuesday and I was on the road in my role as Director of Admissions at Lincoln Christian College. I stopped by Wapella Christian Church shortly before 8am to grab a cup of coffee w/ my friend Ed Bacon on my way to schools in Champaign-Urbana when Ed’s wife Susan told me the news of the first plane in the WTC. And then the second plane. And then the Pentagon. All day long in the LCCS car, the news kept getting worse.

That night, back in Chestnut, I was hanging out in the backyard w/ five year old Jordan and almost two year old Peyton as Marla prepared dinner when it hit me – life as we knew it was changing forever. I started crying and Jordan couldn’t figure out what was wrong – she was just a couple of weeks into Kindergarten and so naive and innocent. The questions kept rolling through my mind as the tears continued to flow: What kind of new world were my kids facing as they began to grow? Was this day of attacks just the beginning? What should Christians leaders do in response? Where do we go from here?

As our Tuesday evening wrapped up back in 2001, I found myself reminded of two realities we read about all throughout the New Testament: 1. In this world, there WILL be trouble – the storms of life will visit – and it won’t be fun. Life in this world will be really difficult at times. 2. Jesus makes ALL the difference in this world and for all of eternity – and Christ Followers are needed more than ever when days like 9-11-01 unfold!

Today it is 16 years later and a lot has changed . . . and a lot remains the same. It is more difficult than we ever imagined it would be to get on an airplane (and I’m thankful for that by the way). Terrorism has become a regular reality – cars drive into crowds, bombs explode in buildings, death numbers continue to rise – and sadly, much of this takes place in the name of religion. We are as divided as a country as we have ever been – at least in my lifetime. One of my favorite moments from 9-11-01 was watching members of Congress gather together on the steps of the Capitol and sing “God Bless America” – the common cry that evening was simple: there are no democrats or republicans today, just Americans. Turn on MSNBC or FoxNews most evenings and that spirit of unity and cooperation will be no where to be found.

But much remains the same: Jesus is STILL the ONLY true hope for a world that desperately needs a Savior! Christians are still called to be the Salt of the earth and the Light of the world – the make a difference in the name of Jesus! And, as Christ Followers, we must remember this world is NOT our home – we are just passing through!

I hope we never forget to tragedy of 9-11-01 – and I hope we never grow tired or weary of telling the story of Jesus!

Much is happening at FCC – take advantage of these great opportunities:

  • TELL ME MORE continues on Sunday mornings – this week, “Why do people do bad things?”
  • MEET and GREET at 9:30am THIS Sunday September 17
  • ONE SERVICE Sunday at 9:30am on Sunday September 24
  • BETH MOORE simulcast – FREE event!!! This Saturday September 16
  • FAN the FLAME – Michael W Smith – ISU Braden auditorium – Saturday September 23
  • RELOAD for men in September – TOMORROW the 12th and Tuesday the 26th at 9am
  • FCC Food Pantry is now serving our community on TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS from 1-3pm from the Cable Building – look for expanded days and times moving forward. If you are interested in serving in this important ministry, please contact Cody Monkman.

Finally, please continue to pray for those struggles w/ the realities of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – and look for continued opportunities to give and serve in the weeks and months ahead!

Have a great week!



Father of the fiancee weekly update

What a great weekend for the Taylor family – Marla and I were blessed to be present in Knoxville when our daughter Jordan received a surprise marriage proposal from Jacob Vangen – the man of her dreams – what an incredible experience for a father! It’s hard to believe my little girl is getting married next June! It is pretty awesome to watch as your children grow into adulthood and make wise choices where the Lord is the driving force – my cup overflows!

September is here and so much is happening at FCC – don’t miss it:

  • TELL ME MORE launches this Sunday – our sermon series w/ 20 other area churches – cannot wait to get started. Who are you inviting? Did you use your invite card? We still have yard signs – help us out!
  • FRIEND SUNDAY – this week – make the most of this opportunity!
  • REVEAL for Jr High and Sr High and FIRST KIDS for preschool and grade school begin fall programming next week – teens on Sundays and FIRST KIDS on Wednesdays.
  • WELCOME reception for Ben Pertl – this WED. Sept 6 from 6-7pm in the Family Life Center.
  • BETH MOORE simulcast – FREE!!! Saturday September 16 at FCC!
  • New Attendee MEET and GREET – Sunday September 17 at 9:30am.
  • FAN THE FLAME – at ISU – featuring Michael W Smith – Saturday September 23.
  •  ONE service Sunday – September 24 at 9:30am

Have a great week! See you Sunday!



Great night at FCC for Block Party III!

What a great night – thanks to everyone who played a role in making Block Party III a huge hit! On Friday it looked like rain and storms might cancel our event, but we were able to move forward and it was a blast! My crowd judge (RU) estimated between 800-900 were at FCC at one time or another from 5-7pm, so let’s settle on 1000! (I am a preacher after all) In all seriousness, thanks to the FCC staff (everyone but me had specific assignments and carried them out to perfection) and former office manager Karen Rice for organizing with excellence – way to go!

Busy month ahead for us at FCC – make note of the following:

  • Ben Pertl Meet and Greet – Wednesday September 6 from 6-7pm – come welcome our new Director of Students!
  • FRIEND Sunday – September 10 – who are you inviting?
  • TELL ME MORE sermon series w/ 20 other area churches launches on Sunday September 10 – who are you inviting to join you?
  • SABBATH END begins at 5pm on Sunday September 10 – join in the foyer outside the sanctuary for a time of worship, spiritual formation teaching and prayer!
  • REVEAL for Jr High and Sr High begins on Sunday September 10
  • FIRST KIDS Wednesdays begin on Wednesday September 13 at 6pm
  • BETH MOORE simulcast – Saturday September 16 – FREE!!! Thanks to Mr. Generous Donor who wishes to remain unnamed – we appreciate you!
  • New Member/Attendee Meet and Greet – 9:30am on Sunday September 17
  • Fan the Flame at ISU on Saturday September 23 featuring Michael W Smith!!!!
  • ONE SERVICE Sunday on Sunday September 24 at 9:30am

Thank you so much to Barb Baker for leading our benevolence ministry for the past several years. Barb has made the decision to resign leadership of this ministry team – please pray for this important ministry to our community! Barb has spent countless hours leading this ministry and made hundreds of trips from her home near Farmer City to FCC and I am very thankful for her service to our church and the Lord. We are currently preparing our food pantry for the move across the street to the Cable Building in the weeks ahead – look for more information in the weeks ahead!

Finally this morning, my heart is heavy for the community of Mt Pulaski and especially the students and recent graduates of Mt Pulaski HS. Early Saturday morning, one of their own passed away as a result of an auto accident. Please pray for this community and especially the teens and young adults who loved Evan and are struggling with this heart breaking storm of life. “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in the Spirit” – Psalm 34:18.

Have a great week!