Oops, I forgot

Yesterday in one of the three services at our Tinley Park campus, I promised to post all the verses in the New Testament that teach a wife to be submitted to her husband (as opposed to teaching all women to be submitted to all men – because there is NO verse that teaches that).

I completely forgot to do so last night, so I added it to yesterday’s post today, and I’m also putting the verses here to make it easy for you to have:

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Eph. 5:21-22 NLT

As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. Eph. 5:24 NLT

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Col. 3:18-19 NLT

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.   Titus 2:4-5 NLT

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1Peter 3:1-2 NIV

So there you have it – ZERO verses to indicate women are inferior or subservient to men and 100% that indicate it’s only in the marriage relationship (which is an example of the relationship between Christ and the Church).

Hope this helps-

Sunday reflections

Week 3 of “The REAL” was focused on “Gentlemen’s Club” and we kept it REAL – but it was also a fun “Back to School Sunday”:

Our Hammond campus officially welcomed Isaac Robinson as their new Worship Director, and I heard multiple reports that worship was off the chain today! welcome, Isaac!!!

Menia sang the glory down, too!

Back to School Sunday included praying over all our kids at Hammond…

Phillip Johnson (and his wife Llana) are the new Growth Track Directors in Hammond

Best of all, the altars were full today in Hammond-

Meanwhile, in Tinley Park we think KidsLife oughta be FUN, starting with the Dream Team!

Of course, it’s not all fun & games – our Dream Team’ers PRAY before they serve, too!

Several people told me how much they enjoyed me cussing on stage today. (I promise to be better in the future)

Even the CLC lobby is fun!


And we STILL have the cutest kids in the world! (That’s a future world-changer right there)

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Pastor Moy said something funny for Jorge to translate….but Moy is so serious, it can’t be that.

Love seeing all the kids & students receiving prayer on Back to School Sunday

Every Sunday is FUN in KidsLife!

In one of the services I promised to include in this post the verses in the New Testament that teach a wife is to submit to her husband, rather than all women being submitted to all men:

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Eph. 5:21-22 NLT

As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. Eph. 5:24 NLT

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Col. 3:18-19 NLT

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.   Titus 2:4-5 NLT

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1Peter 3:1-2 NIV

Nigeria, day 4

Today was perhaps the most momentous day of the Congress, as CAPRO presented the new leadership team that will guide the ministry for the next four years.  The way they handle their leadership offices is one of the wisest approaches I’ve ever seen, and today’s voting by the Congress was a beautiful display of integrity and unity as they look forward to the future.

The voting did make for one awkward but fun moment.  After all the ballots had been cast, they didn’t want to take a break so as not to create appearance of fraud in the results, so everyone was asked to remain in the room while the ballots were counted onstage.  To “entertain” us while we waited, they began playing my message from yesterday over the PA system. As gratifying as it was to my ego yesterday to have so many men thanking me for the message, it was deflating to the ego today to see people all over the auditorium paying no attention whatsoever to the message, as they were engaged in conversations, playing games on their phones, etc.  Gotta love it!

Tonight was a semi-formal banquet, with a number of CAPRO partners, senior pastors from Lagos and denominational officials as invited guests.  Enjoy a few more pics:

Tobias Kohler is Director of “Hope for the Brethren” in Germany, a partnering missions organization with CAPRO and he shared a great devotion today – “if you want to walk on water, you must get out of the boat”!

Counting the votes on stage while my message played over the PA system – sure gave me a good laugh!

The CAPRO delegates from Cote d’ Ivoire asked to meet with me to see how CLC could help them – start thinking about a 2020 trip!



I love a parade of flags – it just speaks “missions” to me!

And CLC was right in the middle of it, with Tayo Gbade waving the American flag!

I was very impressed with this young missionary to Oman – with a population of about 2 million people and only 20 Christians – but his story of leading a friend to Christ inspired me!

I love Sonny Wogu and his wife so much, I’ve invited him to speak at CLC during our Missions Emphasis in 2020!

I’ll attend the day sessions tomorrow before heading to the airport for the first of three flights that’ll get me home – thanks for the prayers!

Nigeria, day 3

Thank you for your prayers!


For some reason, even though I’ve been preaching for 50 years, I was really nervous about preaching to the CAPRO Congress this morning, especially because I had been assigned a topic instead of just choosing my own.  But I give my CLC family all the credit, as it could not have gone much better.

My biggest concern was whether the stuff I was addressing would connect and relate to an African audience – but all day long I’ve had people stopping me as I walked through the hotel to tell me how the Holy Spirit spoke to them through the message:

Bishop Mawan Deng Dau from South Sudan told me he wept during my message until he couldn’t weep any more, because the Holy Spirit was speaking to him so clearly.

Pastor Jimmy from Johannesburg, South Africa made it a point to pursue me today.

Pastor Joshua Ishaku from Sudan touched me with his kindness today.

The CAPRO story was just released during this Congress and I’ve been so inspired to learn the humble beginnings that has led to over 700 missionaries from 26 nations now serving in 37 countries of the world! (CLC’ers, if you want to purchase a copy for $10, leave a comment below and I’ll try to bring some to CLC to sell this weekend)




Nigeria, day 2

Jet lag is of the devil!

I was in meetings today from 7am until 10pm (with breaks for meals, of course) and I was  fighting sleep nearly the entire time.  If that’s not bad enough, I was sitting on the front row!

But it was a good day (at least the parts I heard), with encouraging Word and reports of progress by CAPRO missionaries in various countries.  Enjoy a few pics:

One of the “uncles” (respected elders) of CAPRO, Peter Ozodo, brought an encouraging message from the Word.

International Director, Sam Kputo, presented his report to the Congress-

Our long-time friend, Eloi Dogue, was today’s host at the Congress-

John Nartey from Ghana was one of several leaders who introduced themselves to me by saying, “Sheri Postma told me her pastor was coming to the Congress!” – PTL for good reports about CLC’ers in missions!

Guess who sat with me on the front row to help me stay awake?  Love Niyi & Tayo Gbade!!!

P.S. I hear that 19 people at CLC attended Growth Track to learn their spiritual gift today! Now, that makes a pastor happy!

If you get this on Sunday, I’ll be preaching about 2:30am on Monday (Chicago time) and I’m nervous, so please pray!

Nigeria, day 1

Today was the first day of meetings with the CAPRO International Committee and then tonight the opening of the CAPRO Congress, which every four years brings together the leaders from each of the 37 countries where CAPRO has missionaries.

Missionary Sam Are shared his testimony of healing as a devotional to open the International Committee meetings

My friend, Chinedu Oranye gave us the congress schedule for this week

The outgoing International Director, Sam Kputu, welcomed all the delegates

At the end of the evening, this delegate from Kenya caught me to say that Sheri Postma told him her pastor was coming! CLC’ers, everywhere!

Safely in Nigeria

After another unusual incident at the Lufthansa check-in counter in Frankfort where I was upgraded to Business Class for no reason and without requesting it, while others were required to pay if they wanted to upgrade (favor ain’t fair!), I made it safely to Lagos, Nigeria.

After arrival at Lagos, a CAPRO representative met me and made the two-hour drive to the hotel – keep in mind I landed at the airport in Lagos and the hotel is in Lagos.  It took two hours because of:


…..and THIS…..

…..and THIS!

You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced Lagos traffic! Thank God I wasn’t driving!!

Our meetings start tomorrow, so I’ve got time for some sleep and to work on some CLC projects before meeting with the CAPRO International Committee.  Thanks for the prayers-


Ask the Pastor

In case you are new to this blog, on July 20 we did a “Hot Seat” Sunday, where people texted in questions for me to answer on the spot.  (Yes, that seat did get hot!)

Here are some of the questions we didn’t have time to answer on July 20:

  • What about tongues, is it a gift today?

Yes, absolutely.  I’m convinced that ALL of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (there’s a list in 1Cor. 12 that may not be exhaustive) are still available today.  If the Apostles who walked with Jesus for 3.5 years needed the power of the Spirit’s gifts in their lives and ministry, SURELY we do too!

There’s only one passage in the entire Bible that some people think teaches that tongues are no longer available today, but a careful reading of 1Cor. 13:8-12 clearly shows those Spiritual gifts (including tongues) will not disappear until we’re in heaven with the Lord, when we will “see face to face” and “know as we are known”. Until then, every believer can and should use their “prayer language” to obtain the wonderful personal benefits it offers – see 1Cor. 14

  • Gifts of the spirit vs spiritual fruit ?

Since I’m not sure what the question is, I’ll just give a quick summary of the two:

The gifts of the Spirit are listed in 1Cor. 12:4-11.  Each one is supernatural in its operation – not just human ability. The purpose of each one is to enable us to help someone else, and the Holy Spirit chooses which gift(s) each of us is to receive. They are ‘gifts’ so we don’t earn them and they can be received in a moment of time after we are filled with the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  These 9 qualities are produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives as we walk and grow in the Lord. It takes time for fruit to grow, and since they are products of the Holy Spirit, we do have a role to play in prayer, receiving the Word, etc. Together, they represent the character of Jesus – HE walked in each one of those qualities.

  • What do you do when trouble and chaos constantly come knocking at your door but others seem to skate through life unscathed?

Personally, I usually cry and whine a bit.  But that never does any good, so let me quit trying to be funny and give you a more helpful answer. First, I suspect the enemy has been lying to you about all of this, because “trouble and chaos” are not constantly given to God’s children – instead, they are occasional attacks from the enemy.  (Remember from the story of Job we learn that Satan cannot attack a child of God without first getting God’s permission, and we know that God is good and will never allow us to be tested beyond what we can endure.  (see 1Cor. 10:13)

Secondly, I also think the enemy is lying to you about others – because no one skates through life unscathed. EVERY child of God experiences some times of testing or trial, and the Bible clearly shows us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  Some of the bad things that happen in your life are not a result of God testing you or the devil attacking you; it’s just part of living in an imperfect world as a result of the Fall of man in the Garden!

So my advice is to hold on to God’s promises – HE is faithful to His Word, and you can trust Him!  Refuse the lies of the enemy and allow God to bring you out victoriously!

  • My son will be graduating college this year with a degree as an electrical engineer. How do I get over the fear of him going out into the world?

Congratulations!  He should have a great career ahead of him, especially if he applies what he’s learned and works hard!

As to your fear, REBUKE it!  It definitely did not come from God (2Tim. 1:7), so it must either be a thought planted by the devil, or just your human nature (flesh) causing you to worry needlessly. I suggest you read Matthew 6:34 in the Message translation. Instead of being anxious or fearful, give those concerns to God in prayer and watch your son prosper!

Hope this helps!  NOW, what would YOU like to Ask the Pastor?

What starts off bad may end up good

That’s the lesson I learned when I left Miami yesterday. I had checked the flight status for my flight from Miami to Newark during the OneHope event with John Maxwell, and found that the plane had already landed early and everything was showing an on-time departure.

I grabbed a taxi with another pastor who was also flying out and about 10 minutes after we left the hotel, I receive a text from United that my flight would be delayed by 4 hours, and I would miss my connecting flight to Europe!  (That would mean I’d have to wait 24 hours for the next flight and I would miss the first day of meetings with CAPRO’s International Council.

So I called United from the taxi to ask if there were any other options, and the kind lady on the other end of the phone was able to reissue my ticket on Lufthansa for a non-stop flight to Frankfort, Germany, where I would connect with my original flight to Lagos.  Other than having about 5 hours to kill in the Miami airport, it was actually great because I didn’t have to make two flights!

But that’s not all.

The United rep told me on the phone that I wouldn’t lose my upgrade to Business Class  (which I just learned about the night before), as she was able to snag one of the last seats in Business for me!  Yay, God!

But that’s not all.

While I was standing in line to board the flight, I heard my name over the PA system, asking me to come to the Lufthansa counter.  When I did, the Lufthansa agent took my boarding pass and replaced it with a new one and said, “you’re in First Class now”!!!

She didn’t explain why; it didn’t cost me anything; and I still have no idea why I was chosen. Needless to say, I have NEVER flown in First Class before, and I must say what I thought was really bad turned out to be really good!

This pic doesn’t do it justice, but First Class is so much roomier – it didn’t feel like I was on a plane! And when the flight attendant brought me pajamas & offered to make my bed, well, let’s just say I was glad I missed my originally scheduled flight!

I was actually able to work on my message for the CAPRO Congress AND get a little sleep, too. God is good!


OneHope, John Maxwell, and NIGERIA

I flew to Miami yesterday for OneHope’s annual “Day with John Maxwell”.  If you’re not familiar, OneHope is perhaps our premier missions partner at CLC, because of their amazing vision to reach every child in the world with God’s Word!

As astounding as that is, they are well on their way, having reached 1.6 BILLION children in the past 30 years!  Last night their president, Rob Hoskins, shared the “OneHope story” of how the ministry began, and even though I’ve heard it numerous times, it moves me to tears each time.  What a privilege for CLC to partner with this miraculous ministry!

Rob Hoskins, President of OneHope and one of the leading missiologists in the world. Love his heart for people!

This morning I had the opportunity to glean from The Man himself, Dr. John C. Maxwell.  John’s leadership principles have influenced me for almost 30 years now, and it’s ALWAYS good to hear him again.

John Maxwell’s teaching is always FRESH and insightful!

Now I’m heading back to the Miami airport just about 24 hours after I arrived here, this time for the first of 3 flights that will get me to Lagos, Nigeria (Miami-Newark; Newark-Frankfort; Frankfort-Lagos) for meetings with the International Council of CAPRO this Thursday and Friday, followed by the CAPRO Congress.  The Congress only happens every four years, when they bring in their leaders from each of the 35 countries where they have over 700 missionaries, in Sub Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, America and Asia.  I’ll be speaking to them on Monday, so please pray that I’ll have a rhema Word for these dedicated servants of the Lord!


Sunday reflections

What a GREAT kick-off to “The REAL” series today:

Worship was STRONG at Hammond today-

A full lobby is a sign of a healthy church!

Hammond campus praying over names of people they want to see saved thru 21 days of prayer

Byron & Cindy Garrett are new Dream Team’ers in Hammond

John Sullivan in KidsLife

Pastor Sam is rejoicing over 5 people who gave their life to Christ today!

This team led by Pastor Jon Jones was SO anointed today – the Presence of God was SO sweet in the House!

Rodney Young leads our musicians in Tinley Park each week

Joe McGee is one of the FUNNIEST preachers i’ve ever heard, but he dispenses wisdom from God’s Word like a fire hydrant!

Thanks, CLC, for honoring my wife’s 65th birthday!

Father & daughter serving together at Blue Island campus

At Blue Island, we SERVE with a SMILE!

Pastor Alan leading in Communion

that’s what I call “Handsome brothers”!

Ask the Pastor

Here are more questions that were submitted on June 21 when I was on the “Hot Seat”:

  • How do we then honor authorities that are given by God that damage the people who follow him? Is there a case for civil disobedience in Christian life
From a Biblical standpoint, that’s hard to answer.  For sure, Nero was more wicked than any American politician I’ve ever read about, and he didn’t just damage Christians; he slaughtered them in the Colosseum at Rome.  Yet both Paul and Peter honored his position as ruler.
However, to answer the second part of your question we need only look at Martin Luther King, Jr. to see how his civil disobedience and nonviolent demonstrations led to major changes regarding civil rights in this country, for which all of us should thank God.
I think the safest answer is found in Acts 5:29 – if obeying a human authority would cause us to be in disobedience to God (who gave him authority), then we must choose instead to disobey man and follow God!
  • How do I stay faithful to God when I feel so alone?

The best answer to that is that we simply cannot let our emotions or feelings guide us.  The Bible is filled with promises that God will never forsake us or never leave us alone, and His WORD is dependable and trustworthy, whereas my feelings are not.  I recommend that you do a simple concordance search of verses that speak of God always being with you and read those verses and confess those verses over your life instead of listening to your feelings.

  • I have a special needs daughter that doesn’t talk or has limited comprehension. How can she be saved if she doesn’t have the mental capacity to comprehend what that means?

While Scripture doesn’t directly address this situation, I stand with almost every pastor or Christian leader I’ve ever read in saying that those who do not have the mental capacity will  surely spend eternity in the Presence of God in heaven.  My Bible describes God as good, and to cause those with limited comprehension to be lost would not be good!

  • There are too many Bible versions which one is the best? Closest to original?

That’s a question I’m probably not qualified to answer, since I’m not a scholar.  From what I’ve read, if it’s a word-for-word translation (rather than a thought-for-thought translation) that is most accurate, you could probably make a good case for the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  Personally, I like the New Living Translation (NLT) best.

But as I’ve said many times, the BEST Bible version is the one YOU will read and understand.   It doesn’t make much difference how accurate the translation to the original manuscript if you don’t read it, understand it, and apply it to your life!

Hope that helps.  Now, what would YOU like to ask the pastor?

Turkey, day 8

Today was our final day of ministry in Turkey on this trip, and it was another good day.  This time we met with the key volunteers for this ministry and Chris and I were each able to share a pertinent teaching that really seemed to encourage their team.

I really don’t have words to express how quickly and fully we fell in love with these Iranians – as much as we want to be home (believe me, we’re READY to be home!), it was almost difficult to say goodbye – we feel like we have a new family here in Eskisehir!

Then it was a FIVE-HOUR drive to the new Istanbul airport, and with an early flight to Munich and then on to Chicago, I’m ready for bed – but enjoy a few pics of this final day:

The man in gold & white striped shirt celebrated a birthday this morning & was teased mercilessly before we got started


Really, they were in a laughing mood today


I shared a lesson about a leader’s perspective that touched Pastor Afshin so much he wrote the summary on the board for everyone to keep (note Farsi runs from right to left)

After some heavy teaching, we needed a break & Pastor Afshin led us in a game of group ping-pong that had us in stitches

Then Chris taught them about the anointing & how we receive it

As Ali translated, you can see how eagerly the Iranians were studying the Scriptures with us

Then Chris & I went around the room, laying hands & praying for fresh anointing on each volunteer

This was one scene that was repeated dozens of times over the last 3 days – individuals would rush to us between sessions asking for prayer – the lady at left was translating Chris’ prayer for the other woman

This lunchtime shot with all the volunteers is a great way to say goodbye to our new FRIENDS!

Turkey, day 7

The most FUN I’ve ever had in ministry!

That’s how I would describe today in Eskisehir, from start to finish.

The day began with the 23 baptismal candidates and some leaders gathering for a teaching and final instructions before we moved to the baptism.

The mass baptism was unlike any that I’ve ever experienced.  They used a Turkish spa in a nearby hotel, so if you’ve ever been in a sauna, that’s how hot it was as we prepared for the baptism, and then even hotter once we entered the water.  But I’m NOT complaining – it was such a thrill to see the joy in these Iranian faces who came out of the oppression of radical Islam in Iran to find new life in Christ here in Turkey!

Later tonight Chris gave a powerful teaching on “Prayer” and then I preached “How to Receive Abundantly” and there was such an outpouring of JOY that Pastor Afshin turned them loose in a raucous time of praise that I can’t even describe – you really had to be there!

Tomorrow we’ll meet with the church leaders for some teaching before driving to the Istanbul airport hotel to be ready for our early morning flight on Thursday.  Thanks for all your prayers – enjoy the pics from today:

Pastor Afshin introduced us to teach about baptism

After moving to the hotel and getting changed, here are the baptismal candidates

We hope to have pics & video from the church later, but here’s a shot – I’m baptizing on the right behind Pastor Afshin

We returned for a great Iranian lunch & here we’re expressing thanks to the COOKS!

Chris expressing our LOVE for these Iranians believers

Preaching with Ali interpreting has been a joy this week – he’s such a linguist!

then it was CRAZY praise in the House!

This guy is the most JOYFUL worship leader I’ve ever met!

Pastor Afshin turned the whole place loose with laughter at the close-

Turkey, day 6

O.M.G. What a wonderful day in Eskisehir, Turkey today!

We had arrived about 1:30am, so it was well after 2am when we got to bed, but from the time our day began with fellowship and lunch with Ali Hannareh (who had interpreted for us last year, and who is honestly one of the best interpreters we’ve worked with anywhere in the world) and the pastor of the ELAM church here, Afshin Latifzadeh, it’s been wonderful!

I should mention that Ali is a gifted linguist, who speaks at least six or seven languages.  We’re just now meeting Pastor Afshin, who is a brilliant Iranian who moved to U.K. over 20 years ago and has completed his Doctorate of Theology.  He came here to pastor less than two years ago, and we simply fell in love with him as soon as we met!

Then tonight we had two teaching sessions, with some of the most amazing worship times interspersed.  I mean the room was ELECTRIC with the Presence of God as these Iranians  poured themselves out in worship!

I was able to preach the message I felt God had given me specifically for this trip and it was SO well received by the congregation.  After more worship, Chris preached about living a surrendered life and again the people responded so well.  We prayed over individuals and couples for perhaps 30-45 minutes before finally grabbing a bite of dinner with Ali and Afshin and getting back here for some sleep before tomorrow’s very special day.  We have 23 new converts prepared for water baptism and I get to teach them about baptism tomorrow morning AND participate along with Pastor Afshin and his wife – I can’t wait!

Enjoy a few pics from today:

I wish you could have been in the room to experience the ANOINTING & exuberance of this worship team!

Such a joy to deliver what I felt God had given me for this people & know they were receiving it through Ali’s skillful interpretation!

Chris was funny at times, moving us to tears at times, and anointed throughout her message!

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post with pictures of a mass baptism in Turkey!

Turkey, day 5

Today was our last day with the Iranian church in Van, and it was the most fulfilling of the week.  I did my best to share THE message that I felt God had given me for them before I left Chicago, and although the translation difficulties continued, I believe the Word got through.  Afterwards Chris and I ministered in the altar one-on-one, which is why it was so fulfilling – to be able to pray with these precious refugees from iran.

After another delicious Turkish lunch, Chris was able to share with Pastor Mina and the woman who leads their children’s ministry, giving them practical tips from her 30+ years of working with children.

We’ll be headed to the airport soon for our flight to Ankara, and then driving for a few hours to our next destination, Eskisehir, where we’ll minister Monday-Wednesday.  Enjoy today’s pics:

I can tell what a Poppy I’ve become, because I notice every child in the place – this is Atis, the 6 yr old daughter of our interpreter – what a cutie!  Today she wanted to show me her craft of Noah’s Ark (below)

Today was the first time we saw their worship team – they gave passionate praise!

Then I shared from 1Peter 1, written to Jewish refugees in Turkey 2,000 years ago – “You are not forgotten!” (and neither are these Iranian refugees in Turkey today!)

Fardat sat near the back & gave me encouraging nods throughout the message (plus he corrected the translator numerous times – I think his English may have been better than hers)

Sharing children’s ministry tips: (L to R) Mehrnz, Mina, Chris

Turkey, day 4

Today was a full day of ministry, but once more not what we usually experience. After a nice lunch with our interpreter and her husband, we returned to the church for a session with the youth of the congregation. (It’s been over 40 years since we were youth pastors, so this was a s-t-r-e-t-c-h…but Chris was up to the challenge).  Then it was time for a session with the women of the church, which is a staple of Chris’ ministry, so that went very well, (although men weren’t welcome, so I’m just taking Chris’ word for it)  Finally tonight I taught a lesson the pastor had requested, about faithfulness in ministry.

Enjoy a few pics of our day here in Van, Turkey:

Lunch w/our interpreter (whose name we still can’t pronounce), her husband, Ali, and their beautiful 6-year old daughter


Chris taught the teens how God has a plan to use them in the world.

The teens were also able to answer questions & share what they had learned

Then she used a game where whoever caught the ball had to share something they learned

Before the youth session closed, they practiced a song of worship in Farsi

A group shot of the ladies who came for that special session with Chris today

The pastor’s son led us in worship tonight

I tried to bring a teaching about the importance of faithfulness, but my interpreter was so tired I felt sorry for her

Pastor Yacoub said some very kind things afterwards

Tomorrow I’ll minister at the Sunday morning service and then Chris will do some training for their Children’s Ministry before we head to the airport for the next conference we’ll do. I’ll try to post again when we reach tomorrow night’s hotel. Thanks for ALL the prayers!

Turkey, day 3

Today was the busiest day of this trip thus far.  We began with an outing to Lake Van and the Akdamar island, where we looked at this ancient church which became one of the sites of the Armenian genocide about 100 years ago.

We arrived on the tiny island of Akdamar (after a drive to Lake Van and then a short boat ride to the island)

The Armenian church is a reminder of the genocide when 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman empire about 100 years ago-

inside the ancient chapel

The 3 ladies wanted me to take their picture inside the chapel

David & Goliath adorn the outside walls of the church (along with other Bible scenes)


Then we did more counseling this afternoon, trying to help some of the leadership team here. Tonight Chris and I taught the married couples of the church what we’ve learned in our almost 47 years of marriage-

They went all out for a “Married’s Night”, arranging the auditorium with small tables for two and providing a cake, some fruit, candles & petals to create a romantic atmosphere

Pastors Yacoub & Mina set the tone from the beginning

We taught a lesson about what we’ve learned in almost 47 years of marriage (here Chris is explaining that we must LOOK for the good in each other – perhaps not just the ‘faults’ that may be obvious

After we led them in renewing their vows, the couples enjoyed the ‘goodies’ at their table

Pastor Mina shared for the first time while we’ve been here, to close out the evening

Turkey, day 2

Our second day in Van, Turkey was unlike almost any of our previous missions trips in that we are not scheduled to teach during the day, simply because almost none of the church members are available due to their jobs.  Instead, the pastor has scheduled individuals or couples who have needs to come to our hotel for “counseling appointments”.

Tonight on the other hand, I tried to teach a lesson to help these precious refugees to see their value in Christ and how He wants to use them to make a difference in the world.  I say  “tried” because it turned out to be the craziest teaching I’ve ever done anywhere, anytime.

Every missionary I’ve ever known has a “language gaffe” story to tell, but tonight’s wasn’t me misusing Farsi; it was that I was trying to use a very simple, almost throwaway illustration that I’ve used in numerous countries in the past to make a very simple point, but because I didn’t clear it with our dear interpreter in advance, it turned into the most confusing, convoluted 10-minutes (that seemed like eternity) of her not understanding what I was trying to say and everything I offered to make it better seemed to make things worse.  (Chris was sitting on the front row interceeding for me – it was that bad!)

But it gave the two of us some great laughs afterwards, so it was good medicine.  Enjoy a few pics:

This afternoon we shared from our pastoral experience with the leadership team here

We encouraged Pastor Yacoub and his wife to follow the “Jethro principle” to build a strong pastoral team

The pastor’s 18-year old son leads worship from the keyboard

Me with my poor interpreter before everything went crazy

Ask the Pastor

Well, this isn’t quite the same as the “Hot Seat” like last Sunday, but I’m pleased to once again be able to help with your questions. Here are the first set of questions that we didn’t get to answer last Sunday:

  • Why is so much error being released, accepted, and taught in the Church today? Example Easter and Christmas?  

There are many reasons why error is taught in the Church today, just as there was error creeping into the early Christian church, as Paul predicted in Acts 20 when he met with the elders of the church in Ephesus. As those verses describe, some errors came about because of false teachers Paul called “vicious wolves”, which indicates that they were enemies of the Gospel, not true followers of Jesus.

But other errors, he predicted, would arise from men who were genuine believers, but they wanted to draw a following for themselves; i.e., their pride and ego caused them to go astray and build their own ‘kingdom’. I’ve known of entire denominations in the USA that were formed because an ambitious leader didn’t get elected to an office he wanted in a denomination, so he started his own group where he could be the proverbial “big duck in a little pond”! BEWARE of PRIDE!

The real answer to all false teaching is for us to cling closely to the unadulterated Word of God, and not be swayed by the teaching of men. The only part I’m not so sure about is your examples of Christmas and Easter. I’m guessing that you mention them as examples of error because of your concerns that both those holidays have pagan origins, which is historically true. But personally I don’t believe that just because a holiday had pagan influence hundreds or thousands of years ago that I shouldn’t be able to celebrate the reality of Christ’s birth or His glorious Resurrection from the dead – so I’m not bothered by those little known facts from the distant past that have no bearing on how I worship or celebrate Jesus today. At least that’s my 2 cents.

  • “What would you say to someone who thinks hell isn’t real? And that everyone is going to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross?”

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t seek to persuade an unbeliever of the reality of hell, because I doubt that would motivate him or her to come to faith in Christ for salvation. At least in my experience, few Americans seem to be focused on life after death. If your question pertains to a believer who thinks hell isn’t real, well, I’d simply say he must not believe Jesus then, because Jesus clearly taught the existence of hell in Matthew 7:13, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 23:15, just to name a few.

The erroneous idea that everyone is going to heaven because Jesus died on the cross is just another version of an age-old heresy known as “universalism”, which is discussed thoroughly in this article.

And here’s one final question for today:

  • “Do you believe that all of the Bible’s stories are true or that he used the Bible to just teach us lessons?

I thought I made this clear on Sunday, but I believe the Bible from cover to cover, and I believe it is without error in the original manuscripts, the infallible Word of God. So, emphatically YES, I believe that all of the Bible’s stories are true! I do not believe God used the Bible as just a book of good stories to teach us lessons. In fact, at least FIVE times in the New Testament we are warned against fables (which are just stories that someone might tell to teach a lesson)1Tim. 1:4, 1Tim. 4:7, 2Tim. 4:4, Titus 1:14, and 2Pet. 1:16.

Hope that helps. I’m already looking forward to next Thursday’s edition – but in the meantime, do you have a question you’d like to “Ask the Pastor”? If so, leave it for me here.

Turkey, day 1

Monday night and Tuesday were take up with transportation, so even though it’s Wednesday night in Turkey, this was our first ministry assignment for this trip.  Chris and I are in Van with an Iranian congregation with almost no English speakers, so it’s been interesting to say the least.

Of course, the first rule of missions is always “BE FLEXIBLE”, and this one has already stretched us in several ways.  Maybe my all-time favorite for check-in at the airport was this morning about 4am, when I handed the airline counter person our passports (since all tickets are electronic these days) and she couldn’t seem to find our reservation.  So she asked where we were going and I replied in my best American English, “Van”, just the way you would pronounce the vehicle that most soccer moms drive and she looked at me like I was from outer space.  I spelled it for her: V-A-N, and she still acted like I was speaking in tongues. She had me repeat our destination a time or two before asking one of her supervisors to intervene.  When I repeated “van” for him, he asked “which country?” (while we’re in the domestic terminal for Turkish Airlines, mind you).  Finally, I pulled up the email confirmation with airline code listed, and they immediately said something that sounded like, “Oh, Vahn!” And quickly printed out our boarding passes.  C’mon people, V-A-N, ought to be close to my Jonesboro pronunciation, shouldn’t it?

Anyway, tonight was the opening session here and Chris did her usual amazing job, helping these persecuted believers who are all refugees from Iran living in Turkey to understand how special they are to God – and they fell in love with my wife!  Enjoy a few pics:

Pastor Yacob & his wife & our interpreter met us at the airport & took us to a delicious Turkish lunch later

Pastor Yacob opened the meeting by welcoming everyone

Chris taught with this loving woman who was interpreting for the first time!

I think they enjoyed their group discussion times MOST of all!

Why do I see CUTE kids everywhere I go? (Hmmm, could it be my stage of life)

My favorite pic of the day – this boy was entertaining a little toddler girl behind him & she was grabbing his ear….kids the same the world over.

“Ask the Pastor” is COMING BACK!

Yesterday was full of DRAMA – some awfully tense moments (for me at least) followed by outbursts of laughter, and overall, a GREAT day that was also fun – and I’ve received reports today of people who were actually helped by what they heard!

That’s the GOOD NEWS.

The BAD NEWS is that over 100 people submitted questions that we didn’t have time to answer in the three services we devoted to this.  And there were many in Hammond that we couldn’t get to on July 7 when we did The Hot Seat there.

SO (drum roll, please)…….

We’re bringing back the “Ask the Pastor” feature on this blog.

For years I answered questions here each Friday (and they’re still available in the archives) but I dropped that some time ago when I cut back how often I posted.

But beginning this THURSDAY “Ask the Pastor” is back, and we’ll continue to answer questions here EACH Thursday, starting with the questions we weren’t able to get to yesterday.

AND, our amazing tech team is working to get the “subscription” feature working, so you can subscribe to this blog and have each blog post delivered to your inbox automatically.  If you choose to subscribe, you’ll have ME in your inbox every Thursday morning, with the latest questions from people just like you.  You can even submit your own question here!

I’m excited about helping more folks and exploring Scripture on some hot topics of the day, with you.  See you this Thursday, right here at betweensermons.com


Sunday reflections

Week 3 of “You Asked For It” seems to be building momentum all around- (sorry that we didn’t get pics at Tinley Park, but the “Hot Seat” sure seemed to work – it definitely included some HOT topics, but folks seemed to receive and some did ‘repent’ (change their mind) as we looked at God’s Word together.  Best of all, 4 people prayed to receive Christ!  (And others signed up for water baptism on August 14!

Enjoy the pictorial recap of the other campuses:

You can tell worship was HOT today in Hammond by Mama Drusie’s smile on the front row!

And it’s always good to see LOTS of HUGS after worship!

Jason Parks hit a home run with his message on “Dealing with Difficult People”

Hammond KidsLife Director, Jenny Gonzalez & her team are ready for Kids Camp there this week

Kudos to Sean Blay for creating the HUGE PacMan board for Kids Camp!

Pastor Moy reports a powerful move of the Holy Spirit at the Blue Island campus today, and it shows on Nikeva’s face even during the transition!

KidsLife means personal attention for your children!

and the kids who get personal attention happen to be CUTE!

Not sure what this pic means to you (Jesus is the Bread of Life?) – but just looking at it makes me hungry!

Sunday reflections

Week 2 of “You Asked For It!” was a BIG WIN today:

I yelled more today than I remember in years (I’m blaming it on the anointing), but fortunately there are no pictures to prove it. (Sure felt good, though)  I also got away with #kicka$$, mainly because it’s in the KJV.

More importantly, we had at least 7 salvation decisions today!

This young lady SANG today (under the proud eyes of her daddy) – Kudos Jael Jones (and Jon)!

I don’t have anything to say except I LOVE this pic (well, and that we LOVE kids at CLC!)

So much so that we find CREATIVE ways to teach them God’s Word (Kudos to Eric Condon!)

And we conduct Youth Camps & Retreats where teens can have a life-changing touch from God!

Len Stallworth is a good man. That’s all I have to say about that.

This was a day for TAKING NOTES, whatever your language! (We all have some ‘bad days’ & we need to know how to overcome!)

Yup, cutest kids in USA attend CLC!

Pastor Sam said there was a great altar response in Hammond-


Corwin Stokes hit a homer run in KidsLife-Hammond!

Our tech team in Hammond in amazing!

Crystal Boyne did a great offering special

Monday reflections

(sorry, I forgot to take my Mac home after services yesterday) Otherwise, “You Asked For It”   got off to a GREAT start at each campus, with STRONG summertime attendance, several salvation decisions and 2 water baptisms:

Someone told me that Pastor Brent hit everyone in the room yesterday in “Dealing with Difficult People”

Question: Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at CLC?

Answer: a LOT! (Maybe you should join our tech team)


Worship brings us closer to God AND to others (and it was ‘on’ in Hammond yesterday)

We called it “Hot Seat” because people could ask me ANY question they wanted, but we still had fun!

Jason Parks BROUGHT it in Blue Island yesterday!

But he had help with the Spanish translation from the Bishop of Blue Island, Pastor Moy!

And once again, proof that the CUTEST kids attend CLC!


Favor ain’t fair!

If you’ve been following our “Senegal story”, you probably recall that in December of 2018, I promised the Evangelical leaders of Senegal that CLC would help them to obtain property for a headquarters near the new airport in a rapidly-developing area that we all felt would be so strategic for the church.

We sent $26,000 to purchase the site earlier this year and even posted pics on this blog to show you the land we were acquiring.  However, last week I heard “the rest of the story”:

It seems that when the leaders went to close on the property, the mayor of this new area near the airport asked what they intended to do with the land.  When they told him it would serve as a headquarters for all Evangelical churches in Senegal and include a guest house, an assembly hall for meetings as well as offices for the three different networks of churches, he insisted that they should look at a different parcel of land instead.

As it turns out, he offered them a piece of land that is (a) closer to the airport, (b) more visible from the freeway that runs from Dakar to the airport, and (c) that is LARGER than the land we intended to buy, and sold it to them for $15,000!  With the monies left over, they’ve already put a wall around the perimeter of the space where the guest house will be located and purchased materials for the security wall around the property and the beginning of construction!  WHY would a Muslim mayor do this for us?  It’s just one of those CRAZY FAVOR things that God often does for His people!

Take a look at what your missions giving is accomplishing:

These walls form the perimeter of the guest house area of the property

while this area of the land will provide an assembly hall as well as offices for the three networks

Pastor Pape Nging and I are standing in the assembly hall area of the property

I can’t help but PRAISE GOD for what He’s doing with CLC in the nation of Senegal!

FAMILY Sunday reflections

Well, the final week of our “ABBA” series was extra-special because of our elementary children and youth joining us for a Family Sunday:

Pastor Sam said worship was great at Hammond today – but more important, they broke all records for a non-Easter/Christmas service with 542 in attendance, 4 salvation decisions and over 20 people FILLED with the Holy Spirit!!! His favorite was seeing parents praying with their own children to be filled. Praise God!

Our Hammond campus also dedicated 4 babies today, including Ava Dominque Robinson & Isley Brooke Akins at 9am…..

…..and Amielah Williams & Madison Monroe Williams at the 11am service!

Pastor Sol was a great host for today’s Family Sunday-

My wife pulled out all the stops with FOUR object lessons in one message & even recruited our oldest grandchild to help out with his skills in making balloon animals (a giraffe here)

At Tinley, we dedicated SEVEN children today: Skylar & Anthony Jones, Chloe Harper, Asir Hart, Ivie Asein, and (twins) Destiny & Faith Henderson! We don’t have pics of them all, but I promise you, they are ALL cuties!

And since our preschoolers didn’t get to join us in the auditorium, here’s more proof that the cutest kids in the world attend CLC!

Just one final pic from Tinley Park of a lady who is an amazing blessing all year long: Jo Marie Cooper (ushering is just one of her ministries!) We love you, Mama Jo!

It was an EXCITING day in Blue Island with the baptisms of mother & daughter, Erica & Briana Solano!

and a special guest, Autumn Hensle, who created balloon animals to illustrate the “breath of life” needed for any balloon to fulfill it’s purpose.

Pastor Moy interviewed Autumn about how the Holy Spirit changed his life, after losing both of his parents at a young age to heroin-

Pastors Moy & Eva official presented Veronica & Daniel Rodriguez as KidsLife Directors in BI-

Finally, today marked the GRAND OPENING of Blue Island’s KidsLife facility – completely remodeled & redecorated!

Sunday reflections

Part 3 of our “ABBA” series was a hit at each campus:

Our CSM worship team led worship at Blue Island today…..

….love our youth who give their whole hearts in worship!

Chris preached her heart about the Holy Spirit-

and the Blue Island altars were full afterwards

Kudos to Tiffany Hines & the Life Worship team for a new song today, “Make Room” – I loved it!

Yup, CLC is a multi-generational church! Kudos to Sal & Diane Hernandez & Miss Cutie Pie (their granddaughter)

When I saw this pic, my first thought was “uh, oh – this looks like trouble!”

And this pic would be great advertising for a campaign about how GOOD water is for your health! (Or for the religious folks, “The Holy Spirit is the water of life!”


Pastor Sam said “Make Room” made a wonderful debut at our Hammond campus today, too!

Wish I looked this happy when I preached! Kudos, Pastor Sam!!

Pentecost Sunday reflections

The birthday of The Church was extra-special thanks for the visit of Messianic Jewish pastor, Leon Mazin, at our Tinley Park campus today:

Leon’s 3-part series about the Holy Spirit from a Jewish perspective was outstanding!

Crystal Valentine served “Marked” punch with a smile to help our students with their upcoming Camp-

Once more: the CUTEST kids in the world attend CLC!

Pastor Sam said worship in Hammond was strong today with a great altar response in both services

Christian Washington led a great time of prayer after the worship set-

Sam’s Pentecost Sunday message was well-received and followed by one salvation!

Pastor Moy said “The FIRE FELL” in Blue Island at the close of service…..

….the altars filled…..

….hearts were touched….

….and the whole room was one big altar!


If today was any indication, this summer is gonna be our BEST ever!

Highlight of my day: seeing everyone in every service praying for others to experience God at work FOR, IN and THROUGH them!

yep, cutest kids in the world are at CLC (even when they get older)


Kudos, Nikki Colson & crew for beautifying the patio for our Summer Kick-off

We honored all graduates today, including the Adams family (L to R: Miles, Caleb & Victor!)

Kudos to the Hammond Media Dream Team!

It was SO good having Pastor Tony Gilmore back in town for the Hammond Summer Kick-off – he brought an on-time, anointed Word! (So good Daniel Hamstra wanted to throw a shoe at him!!)

After service the Terrell Brother’s BBQ was on hand-

Bouncy houses? nah-
Fun games? nah-
Double-Dutch -that’s the fan favorite at Summer Kick-Off!

Uh-huh – what did I say about the cutest kids in the world?

Praising the house down in Blue Island-

College, High school and 8th grade graduates in Blue Island (we honored all grads at each campus today)

Pastor Moy brought a friend as guest speaker in Blue Island today, Lt. Colonel Karl Johnson-

Learn a new level of prayer!

There’s something special about praying at the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem!

Isaiah 62:6-7 instructs us to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to pray day and night until God’s promises to the Jewish people, which will bless the world, are fulfilled. After visiting Israel, understanding the security situation, sensing the spiritual tension, and getting to know the people and God’s promises to them, you will be able to intercede for the peace of Jerusalem with greater effectiveness, and experience the privilege of partnering with God in prayer for the people of Israel, the region, and, in fact, the world.

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!

On our last visit in 2016, we managed an extra night-time visit to the Wailing Wall

Introducing LEON MAZIN to CLC

Leon Mazin of “Return to Zion” in Haifa, Israel

About eleven years ago I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that led us to make Jewish evangelism one of our top priorities in missions at CLC. Shortly after that we connected with a network of Messianic Jewish congregations in the Land that we’ve been partnering with ever since. One of the first leaders from that network that we met personally was Leon Mazin, of the Return to Zion congregation in Haifa, Israel.

Chris and I have had the privilege of ministering there and we’ve had a team of CLC’ers serve them in previous trips, but I’m so excited to announce that on Sunday, June 9, Leon will be ministering in each of our morning services at the Tinley Park and Blue Island campuses!

His perspective as a Messianic Jew amazed us when he shared with one of our group trips to israel in the past, so I’m especially pleased to have him kick-off our 2019 Holy Spirit series, as June 9 is actually Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of The Church as recorded in Acts 2.

AND, immediately after the third service (about 1:30pm), we’ll have an information meeting regarding our October trip to Israel, and Leon will be present to add his voice to mine about what a life-changing experience it can be to visit the Holy Land.  I hope you’ll mark your calendar and invite your friends to join you on June 9 for a very special Pentecost Sunday with a Spirit-filled, Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Leon Mazin!

Guess WHO God says are the “Apple of His Eye”

Young people gathering with flags of Israel at Jaffa Street in the center of Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day.

Many Christians understand from their Bible that the Jewish people are God’s Chosen People, but may have little appreciation for what that has meant for them. The Jewish people have carried a calling that no other people group on the face of the earth carries; it is to be the vehicle of God’s redemptive plan. This calling put them directly in the line of fire and they have suffered much throughout history as a result. To meet Israelis face to face and speak blessing and encouragement to them is often the highlight of a Christian’s trip to Israel.

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!

Sunday reflections

What a holiday weekend!

As a pastor, I gotta be honest:  when holidays fall on the weekend and people have 3 or 4 consecutive days off work, it usually affects attendance & the spiritual impact of the services. NOT TODAY!  Pastors Sam and Moy were raving about services in Hammond and Blue Island
and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the preaching in Tinley Park today!

FULL House in Blue Island on Memorial Day weekend!

With this kind of passion from musicians, no wonder Pastor Moy said worship was awesome today!

SHINE.FM named the BI campus their “church of the week”

Kudos to Kathy Evans and the whole First Impressions Team at Blue Island (love the new shirts!)

Derrick Collins did a great job with the worship transition-

Our Hammond campus did an original song (“Yahweh”) by Kailah Thomas!

Candace Armour brought a great Word, “You Were Made for More” at the 9am service-

LaSandra Hutchinson brought a message from the life of Joseph, “God is Still Working”



At Tinley today, worship filled the house from the front…..

…all the way to the back! (and everywhere in between!)

James Ineh brought a great Word to the 8:30 service about “No Limits”

Pastor Jon Jones challenged all of us at the 10am service to “BE the Church”!

Jason Parks delivered a relevant Word from Luke 24 and the Road to Emmaus!

Did you register your 2019 Graduate at the lobby kiosk? If not, call the office Tuesday so we can honor your grad with a gift next Sunday!


This pic made me think of Jesus teaching His 12 disciples…who knows what God will do with these children as they follow Him! (Kudos to Tiffany Davison and ALL our KidsLife Dream Teamers!!!

I suspect this is true in many homes…..

Want to see a modern-day MIRACLE?

The birth and existence of Israel is nothing short of a miracle. Out of the ashes of the Holocaust and the dust of the desert, in just over 65 years, they have created a thriving and prosperous country that is leading the world in innovation, technology, science, medicine, security, agriculture, and water conservation and production. This little country of some eight million people is making the world a safer and better place. What a miracle!

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!

Sunday reflections

Not many pics to recap today, but I’m excited about 4 salvation decisions at Hammond and 5 at Tinley Park today on the finale of “My Big Fat Mouth”!

Our Hammond campus launched a new outreach “For the 219” yesterday & had a great response.

Andy Esparza has served faithfully in the Worship Ministry at Hammond in addition to his Tech duties, but he’s stepping away from Worship, so the congregation prayed over him in his new role-

Pastor Sam says “My Big Fat Mouth” was great FUN in Hammond, and 4 people prayed to receive Christ after today’s message!

Love our First Impressions team! (CLC must be a FUN place!)

Pastor Jon led us into the Presence today – the 10am service went into the GLORY!

There’s always a warm welcome at CLC!

Blue Island WORSHIP!

KidsLife is FUN at BI!

Pastor Moy reported a strong attendance in BI and not a dry eye in the house for the Mrs. Thompson-Teddy Stoddard story.


Want to see PROPHECY fulfilled?

huge stones from Herod’s Temple, in fulfillment of Matthew 24:1-2 (picture from our 2016 trip)

That’s just one more reason YOU should consider visiting Israel!

When we travel in Israel we are surrounded by prophecy fulfilled and the faithfulness of God to His Word. We see that the Jewish people have been gathered from the North, the South, the East and the West; from every nation to which they had been dispersed; first by ship and then by planes; and assisted by the Gentiles; all just as the Bible foretold. God is fulfilling His promises made to the Jewish people, which means Christians can also trust Him. He is a faithful God and His Word is true!

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!


Mother’s Day reflections

It really was a “Happy Mother’s Day” at each campus today!

An ALL-MALE chorale made the worship experience SPECIAL in Tinley Park today-

Instead of complaining, we will pour out our lives as a daily sacrifice to the Lord!

Family pics were a big hit for Mother’s Day!  (Good looking “Grant 5, Katrina”)

It sure was great to have Zion Middlebrooks home from college to lead worship again at Hammond today!

Our Hammond campus especially honored all the moms over 60 today-

The “Daughters of Esther” dance team had a special presentation-

Pastors Sam & Taylor teamed up on today’s message and 4 people prayed to receive Christ afterwards!

The Blue Island worship team was LIT today! Kudos, everyone!!

Blue Island honored “Mama” Rose Hatchett for her faithful service (Len Stallworth presented her gift)

Alan Franklin honored Pastor Eva Mendez, who was ill, so Pastor Moy jumped to the occasion

Cassandra Hernandez was honored for being the mom with youngest child present

I was happy to preach about “Complaining”, but even more so to see 4 people pray to receive Christ, including a mother-and-daughter who both want to be water-baptized!

It really was a FUN Mother’s Day, thanks for some terrific kiddos at each campus!

Just heard from our team in Greece – the refugees they’ve worked with this week included this group of Iranians (except for my daughter in center)

Tonight the host church in Thessaloniki had baptisms, including 4 Iranians on the left in white!

Did Jesus have blonde hair and blue eyes?

Our Israeli tour guide (Andrey) from our 2016 trip is probably more likely. Most Jews in Israel have dark hair and olive skin.  There’s a lot of ideas we’ve had that get dispelled when you walk in the Land of the Bible and understand our Hebraic roots.

And that’s just one more reason you should consider going to Israel!

As much as we like to think that we read the Bible as it is intended, most of us are highly influenced by our surroundings and understand the Bible in our own cultural context.  That is why for centuries, European art depicted Jesus with a fair complexion, blond hair, and blue eyes.  Studying the life and words of Jesus in Israel puts Him in the correct cultural and religious context.  He was the Jewish Messiah who said of Himself that He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel.  His parables, teachings and lifestyle cannot be understood without the Hebraic context in which He ministered.

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!


Sunday reflections

This second week of “My Big Fat Mouth” has me convinced that this sermon series is definitely ON POINT and ON TIME!  (I’m glad our pastors talked me into it several weeks ago)

Sorry – we had a glitch & didn’t get any pics from Tinley Park today, but I know we baptized   Tammy Pruitt and had at least 5 people pray to receive Christ today!

My iphone shot from the front row doesn’t do it justice, but Brent PREACHED today!

Zion Middlebrooks is home from college & did a great job leading worship at Hammond today!

Gerard & Carol Terrell brought an offering special that was “lights out” according to Pastor Sam!

Pastors Sam & Taylor led prayer over the Hammond campus’ first local missions partner, James Probst of Courtside Ministries

Pastor Sam said the message really connected and 7 people prayed to receive Christ in Hammond, PLUS the attendance broke 500 for the first time on a “regular” Sunday!

From the looks of this, I’d say Pastor Moy enjoyed preaching “My Big Fat Mouth” in Blue Island-

Pastor Moy also says “the atmosphere” is changing at Blue Island!

Pray for our team of 12 CLC’ers who leave for Greece tonight to serve Syrian refugees there for the next week (L to R) Jonathan Aguilar, Gail Lettman, Cherry Aguilar, Nancy DeLeon, Juan DeLeon, Donna Jones, Paula Safagar, Tiffany Davison, Jen McQuay, Quiana Hardy, Carla Carter & Regina Williams!


Senegal recap

Our conference with the pastors & leaders of Senegal ended Thursday night, but we met with the Steering Committee for the Mega City Campaign to evaluate those three days and lay out next steps for the Campaign.

Mamadou Diop & Hani were the first arrivals at the beautiful outdoor setting for our meeting

Pastors Valentine & Apollonaire taking it all in while we enjoyed the view overlooking the Atlantic

Pastor Felix led the meeting, accompanied by his wife Madeline

Bishop Okafor (center) and Pastor Pape’s wife, Veronica, were also part of the discussion

When they asked for my thoughts, I told them without a doubt this was the BEST conference I’ve ever led in Senegal, in every way – numbers in attendance, content of the teaching & the amazing move of the Holy Spirit at the close.

Here’s what we heard the Lord say to the Church of Senegal during those three days:
1) Like David in Scripture, God can make us the ‘standard’ for future generations!
2) We must change our THINKING in order to change what we RECEIVE!
3) It’s definitely time to take the limits off (Pastor Felix said people will long remember the image of Chris binding herself to the pulpit)
4) We must work in teams, because we need each other!
5) We can EXPECT God to do what we cannot EXPLAIN!
6) God is at work among Muslims around the world!
7) HE has given us a strategy to reach this nation!

With that, we say ‘goodbye’ to this West African nation that God has put in our hearts-


Would you like to ENCOUNTER God in a NEW WAY?

On our last trip to the Jordan River, I had the privilege of baptized my wife, my daughter, my son & his wife!

You will Encounter God in a New Way on a trip to Israel!

God is not limited to any one location (He’s omnipresent!) and, therefore, we can pray from anywhere in the world and experience His Presence in our lives.  But, there’s something to be said for taking a spiritual pilgrimage to get away from everyday life and seek the Lord with new fervor.  A trip to Israel is the perfect getaway to seek the Lord.  Walking where Jesus walked, hearing His words anew, seeing the illustrations from everyday life that He used, and understanding His teachings at new levels often leads us to special encounters, even healings, that stay with the traveler when they return home. (Who knows – you may even choose to be baptized in the Jordan River, just like my family in the pic above or like Jade Newton on our last CLC trip to Israel!)

Jade Newton at Jordan River

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!


Senegal Pastor’s Conference – OMG!

You. Had. to. be. Here.

I have no words to adequately describe the close of the pastor’s conference last night. After the final speaker, there was a Holy Spirit breakthrough like I have personally never seen in all my visits to Senegal.  It must have lasted for over an hour as we worshipped, rejoiced, shouted & made prophetic declarations together.  A-Mazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Senegalese ‘father’, Evangelist Rafael Dionne, reminded us that all we need to do is “FOLLOW JESUS”!

Felix, our host Pastor & President of the Evangelical Union, bounced around the stage passionately, exhorting the congregation during that tremendous move of the Spirit!

After prophetic declarations, I asked the people to spontaneously sow a seed into the revival God is sending Senegal – and, MY, how they responded!


Of course, the conference closed with recognition & gifts. What I love is the UNITY of the Lead Team for the Mega City campaign: (L to R) Pastor Felix (AoG), Pastor Valentine (Methodist), Pastor Apollonaire (Rehoboth Pentecostal), Pastor Mamadou Diop (Presbyterian), Pastor Pape (Evangelical), Bishop Okafor (Nigerian Pentecostal), and Pastor Mignon (AoG). Love these men!

Dr. Rose claims Chris is now her spiritual ‘mother’, and she presented her with gifts on behalf of the women leaders. (Behind her is Pape’s wife, Veronica and on the right is Felix’s wife, Madeline, who is the President of the Women’s arm of the union of churches)

Bishop Okafor presented Hani with a gift for sharing the vision of the Mega City Campaign

We have a meeting today from 12-4pm with the Lead Team for the campaign and then head to the airport for our flight to Brussels and on to Chicago. Can’t wait to see all of you – thanks SO much for your prayers this week; they were definitely answered with such great results!

Senegal Pastor’s Conference, day 3

Actually, I’ll begin with the second evening, which was AMAZING, and then finish up with today (Thursday’s sessions):

A different church choir led worship last night – great African music!

Then Chris preached her heart out, “Removing the Limits!, binding herself to the pulpit

Dr. Chinedu Oranye honestly was the key speaker for the entire conference – every session was superb, but last night’s message about how God is working among Muslims around the world REALLY inspired the Senegalese church!

The service lasted over 4 hours last night, but we took time for a quick photo of the speakers together before collapsing into bed last night. We made for a great team if I do say so myself!

the final day of the conference began with a devotional from Bishop Okafor, who is the secretary of the largest alliance of churches. His devotional turned into an hour-long outstanding message!

After I taught on “Kingdom Finances”, three Mercy Ships representatives made a presentation to the pastors and then we prayed over the wonderful medical ministry (surgery) they’ll be doing in Senegal from August 2019 to June 2020

We closed the day sessions with Hani explaining more details of the Mega City Media Campaign and then opened the floor for Q&A.

What followed next was SO God, as Bishop Favor (yep, his real name!) stood to tell the pastors that as he prayed at home today, the Lord spoke to him & said, “the Mantle is falling; the Mantel is following! But you must have UNITY!”

Then pastor after pastor stood to exhort the group about this amazing opportunity coming through Great Commission Media Ministry & CLC – none more passionate than the host pastor, Felix, pictured here.

Assembly of God Pastor Amet Fall inspired us all with his testimony as an ex-Muslim who now ministers on several radio stations here, and reported how people are responding to him from all over the country. He just gave us a preview of what it will be like when ALL the media broadcasts “The Power to Change” in April of next year!

That wrapped up everything except a closing rally tonight with a highly-respected ‘father’ of the Senegal Church, Evangelist Rafael Dionne. I’m looking forward to his ministry, but even MORE for our return flight tomorrow night. (as great as this trip has been, I’m always ready to be HOME!)

Senegal Pastor’s Conference, day 2

Actually, I’ll begin with last night’s recap, when people from several Dakar churches joined the pastor’s and leaders for a big celebration:

There was a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit during worship-

I had the privilege of preaching first-

Then today (Wednesday morning), this team led us in worship

The Ghanian pastor of a Baptist church (right)  gave us a devotional thought-

Dr. Chinedu “stole the show” again with another GREAT teaching for pastors

After my teaching session, Hani Henein from Great Commission Media Ministries introduced the Mega City Campaign slated for April 2020

Since few of the pastors had heard about the campaign, they had lots of questions, as Pastor Pape led the Q&A session

One of the first questions was full of fear and you could feel the pastor’s apprehension because they didn’t understand how this could work in a Muslim nation – until Pastor Mamadou Diop (about 7′ tall) stood & defused the whole situation.

This was especially gratifying to me (pardon me for being personal) because even after all these years of missions ministry, I still struggle internally, wondering if my teaching will connect with the national pastors & whether what I share is relevant to them.  When Pastor Mamadou stood to his full 7′ height, he said in French, “I only have 3 points to say about the question.”  He then proceeded to quote two points from my message yesterday morning, and then his final point was from something I said in last night’s message.  For me personally, it was a   “thank you, Jesus” moment, even if no one else recognized he was quoting me.

We’re back at the hotel for about 90 minutes before returning for tonight’s session, but I’m posting now in case I’m too tired tonight-

Senegal Pastor’s Conference, day 1

Yesterday I had some meetings with the lead pastors regarding the conference while Chris had a study day for messages here this week as well as for Mother’s Day at CLC.  Today was the opening of the Pastors/Leaders Conference.  I think Chris actually taught more women in ministry than the male pastors we had in the main auditorium, but we’re expecting both groups to grow these next two days.  Enjoy a few pics from this morning before we head back to the church for tonight’s sessions:

The praise team from the host Assembly of God church was really talented & definitely contributed to the atmosphere today!

Pastor Felix is the host of the conference and also President of the largest ministerial association in all of Senegal.

Some CLCers will remember Dr. Chinedu Oranye from his visit to Chicago a couple of years ago, and he GREATLY blessed the pastors today with his message, “Important Reminders for Leaders”!

Just got back to the hotel after the evening sessions, which were wonderful, but I’m too tired to post the pics & comments- LATER!

Senegal, day 1

Ever heard a preacher say, “I’m preaching to the choir right now?” That’s how I felt all morning, because their praise team was at the rear center of the auditorium – directly in front of me, with the congregation to my far left and far right. Definitely a first in my 50 years of ministry!

I preached with the help of our host, Pastor Pape Adioma Gning translating (a missionary from Holland is seated behind us)

The keyboardist (right) and his wife dedicated their new baby boy to the Lord afterwards (another family member is on the left)

Missions guests always get invited to participate in baby dedications!

After the almost-three-hour-service, we took a short break and then Chris and I team-taught a marriage seminar for the married couples who remained behind after service was dismissed. They were very responsive and it was a fun afternoon.

Tomorrow is a study day for Chris while I’ll be in meetings for the Mega-City Media Campaign in April 2020, and then the Pastors & Leaders Conference will begin Tuesday morning. Thanks for the prayers!

Your Bible will come alive!

Sea of Galilee

Here’s another reason that I think YOU should consider going to ISRAEL: you’ll never read the Bible the same way again!  For instance, you’ve read about Jesus walking on water while his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, but the picture above IS the Sea of Galilee from our last trip to Israel.

Besides the surreal effect of actually walking in the land where Jesus walked, In Israel we begin to study the Bible not just devotionally, or doctrinally, but as a history book – an extremely accurate one backed by archaeological finds.  We read the Bible not just for spiritual meaning, but trace the stories on maps and visit the archaeological remains of many of the cities.  The Bible becomes so real that it literally stands up and takes on a third dimension as an accurate, historical account from which we learn many spiritual lessons.

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide, to take us through the Biblical sites (including a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee).  We’ll also have the opportunity to connect with some of our CLC partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals daily, entrance to all the Biblical sites, as well as all taxes and fees!

June 9 is the deadline and it’s coming soon, but a deposit of $100 will hold your space – register now!



Next assignment: SENEGAL

Chris and I are at O’Hare where we will soon board a flight to Brussels and then on to Dakar. As many of you know, we’ve been working in Senegal since 2001, but this will be our first major assignment since 2012.

This Sunday we’ll minister twice for our host, Pastor Pape Adioma Gning, who also serves as our primary translator.  The three ministerial associations that represent all of Senegal are  coming together this Tuesday-Thursday for a Pastors/Leaders Conference.  Chris will be ministering to all the women in attendance each morning, while I’ll be sharing the teaching load with Dr. Chinedu Oranye (our CAPRO friend from Nigeria) and Hani Henein, representing the Mega-City Media Campaign scheduled for April of 2020.  We’re expecting 300 pastors & leaders for the day sessions, while each evening is open to the public and the pastors anticipate 1,000 or more will gather at the host Assembly of God Church.

We appreciate your prayers for these very strategic meetings and hope to have a great report for you on Sunday, May 5.  (well, hopefully I’ll be posting each day of the trip, too)

Ever wanted to visit ISRAEL?

Well, I think you should, and here’s one reason why:


Millions of Christians have traveled to the land of the Bible over the last four decades and had their faith and Biblical knowledge enhanced in transformative ways.  Over the years I have had so many different Christians tell me that their trip to Israel changed their life. There are so many different reasons why Christians are blessed and inspired by travel to Israel that it is an absolutely must for anyone with the time and means to go there.

Chris and I will be leading a tour this October 21-31, utilizing one of our partners, who is a Messianic Jew, Spirit-filled tour guide. He will not only lead us through the Biblical sites, but we’ll also have opportunity to connect with several of our CLC missions partners in the Land.  The price is just $3495 and that includes everything – flights, ground transportation, 4-star hotels, 3 meals/day, entrance to all the Biblical sights, all taxes and fees!

A deposit of $100 will hold your space, but the June 9 deadline is coming soon – register now!

Easter weekend reflections

Easter 2019 at CLC is now history, and it was another one for the record books, as both our Blue Island campus (287) and our Hammond Campus (880) exceeded their previous Easter attendances, and for the second year in a row, our total Easter attendance reached 3,200!

More importantly, we recorded salvation decisions at each campus, with at least 54 people who prayed to receive Christ in one of our eleven Easter celebrations registered their decision with us!

Enjoy the pics:

Hammond opened their celebrations with a great skit from Mikayla, Phillip, & Sean.

Hammond’s dance team were featured in their celebrations-

Pastor Sam said worship there was GREAT!

and the photo booth was a BIG hit with families-

KidsLife Easter Egg Hunt in Hammond about to begin-

Best of all, Hammond recorded at least 10 salvation decision after Pastor Sam’s messages!

Can you guess the Easter theme at our Blue Island campus?

Pastor Moy said there was a rich altar time in Blue Island and 2 salvations, including one guest who found us on Facebook while looking for an Easter egg hunt for her granddaughter – she came, was touched & prayed to receive Christ!


Here’s part of the packed House for an attendance of 287 in BI’s 3 Easter celebrations!

Plus BI offered a family egg hunt & games after service, which was a BIG hit for all the kids!

uh, the eggs didn’t stand a chance with kids like this – look at that FULL basket!

LOVED the creative opening of each celebration with soloists doing traditional Easter songs that morphed into a trio (Friday & Saturday with Jen, Sandra & Ch’vez)

Sunday’s celebrations featured Nichole, Sandra & Ch’vez

Of course, Marisa Johnson & Jael Jones nailed it on their solos-

(Jael Jones)

Easter was definitely filled with JOYFUL PRAISE!

I survived 5 sermons, but must admit, I’m glad TETELISTAI!



The Easter Egg hunt was a big hit, and one of our first-time guests won the Grand Prize (is bribing people to return to church legal?)

I told you the cutest kids are at CLC (even on Easter)

and our Photo Booth was a BIG hit for families, including the Chuck Ellington’s!

Let’s Bring the NATIONS!

This past Sunday when we prayed over the names of people that we love and want to bring to CLC this Easter, I couldn’t help but notice the names of people who were obviously from other nationalities.

That wasn’t really a surprise, because for years CLC has been comprised of people from at least 40 different nations.

But Sunday I was really broken as I touched those cards and prayed for those names, and I found myself weeping and praying Psalm 2:8.

We support international ministries every month, with almost 20% of our budget going to the Nations each year.  We send teams of CLC’ers to the Nations each year, with about 100 people volunteering their time and paying their own way to minister in other countries.

But this Easter my prayer is that God would send the Nations to us!

You still have time to help answer my prayer – someone on your job, or in your neighborhood or perhaps in your own family is from other nation – would you purposely reach out to them with an invitation to one of our ELEVEN opportunities this Easter?

Let’s bring Nigerians, Filipinos, Central Americans, South Americans, Africans, Middle Easterners, East Europeans, and more, with this: “Welcome home”.

Followers FISH







Studies have shown that the MAJORITY of people who are invited to church by a friend or family member will say ‘yes’ to the invitation.

And EASTER is the season when people are even MORE likely to visit.

SO, who have YOU invited for this weekend?

Remember, we have ELEVEN opportunities (most we’ve ever offered) from Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21:

Tinley Park: Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 5pm; Sunday at 8:30am, 10am, 12pm

Hammond: Saturday at 5pm; Sunday at 9am, 11am

Blue Island: Friday at 7pm; Sunday at 9am, 11am

NOW, who will YOU invite TODAY?

Palm Sunday reflections

I suppose the story of the day was 4 inches of heavy, wet snow on Palm Sunday in mid-April!

But we’re #ChicagoStrong and while the snow affected our attendance, it didn’t stop us:

Here’s what worship looks like from the back of the Tinley Park auditorium

Pastor Brent nailed the message today – both entertaining & convicting!

Royriel Valentine was helping her parents (CSM Directors, Harry & Crystal) recruit new volunteers for our Youth Ministry today

Pastor Sol sharing with our Growth Track Step2 class today. Have you discovered your gift?

I kinda think she wasn’t happy about her picture being taken, but she sure is CUTE!

Our Hammond Campus had a great day despite the weather, featuring a Palm Sunday dance by Dorothy Caldwell.

At the close of the 11am service, 48 of our Hammond teens made a commitment to sexual purity!

Pastor Sam said he “had fun” with the Word today (why not?)

Our Blue Island campus enjoyed a powerful time of worship in His Presence!

Pastor Moy shared his experiences in reaching people for Jesus…

…and the back wall in Blue Island is filled with names of people we’re praying for this Easter weekend!

In spite of the snow, the donkey’s annual Palm Sunday visit was still a hit with the kids, including the whole McQuay clan-

Russia, day 7

I’m sending this from the Frankfurt, Germany airport as we had to get up at 2am in St. Petersburg this morning, and I didn’t want to stay up last night to post after service.  Our last day in Russia was one of the best, as we enjoyed a couple of hours sightseeing that beautiful city (known as the “Venice of Russia”), then were treated to the BEST meal of our trip, and then talked with the leaders of the church about their plans to launch a new campus and preached their midweek service.  Whew!  Enjoy the final pics:

Just one of several spectacular views on our sightseeing tour – the architecture of St. Petersburg is amazing!

Pastor Alexander treated us to lunch at one of St. Petersburg’s most famous restaurants and it was delicious – not to mention the view!

Loved the strong Presence in their midweek worship!

Ended our trip on (hopefully) an inspirational note from Ephesians 3:20 – “how to receive abundantly from the Lord!”

in a few more hours we’ll be boarding for our last flight of this trip – can’t wait to be HOME!


Russia, day 6

This morning was free time, so Anna Tsvetkova took us to the Hermitage Museum, the second-largest museum in the world, including priceless artwork collections.  (If a person spent just one minute with each display, it would take 8 years to see everything!) I’m sure real art lovers would easily spent a week there; I managed a couple of hours 😉

Rembrandt’s famous work, “Prodigal Son” is displayed in the Hermitage.

“Abraham’s Sacrifice”, another of Rembrandt’s famous works, is also on display at the Hermitage.

On the way to the Hermitage we passed this monument to a Russian Emperor – made of one solid piece of stone!

After a wonderful, typical Russian 3-course lunch and some rest at our hotel, we returned to the church for a meeting with the Launch team for the second campus of the St. Petersburg church. The new campus will focus on reaching young adults, so each member of the launch team serves on their young adult leadership team currently. We answered their questions from our experience with multi-site.

Then we joined their weekly youth service for worship.

Brent was the guest for their Q & A session led by Katrina, Youth Director and translated by Anna, the pastor’s daughter.

We have only one more day of ministry here before heading home and I know both of us are ready to see our families!


Russia, day 5

Brent and I got up about midnight (St. Petersburg time, which was 4pm Sunday in Chicago)   to take a 5-hour flight to Moscow and then a 1-hour flight here to St. Petersburg. We’ve been friends with Pastor Alexander Tsvetkova since about 2012 and he’s visited us in Chicago a couple of times as well.

Our first assignment here was to minister to a gathering of about 50 pastors from this region of Russia who belong to the Pentecostal Union of churches.  I had prepared to share some practical things that I thought would benefit them, but at the last moment as I was walking into the meeting, I sensed that I should share a message with them to encourage their faith instead.  I don’t often change topics after preparing for a service, but I really sensed the Lord was in this one, and I was grateful for their responses.

Then we had time for a short nap at our hotel before returning for an evening session for the MEN of the network and both Brent and I shared about marriage and parenting issues, even in the pastor’s home.  There were lots of questions after our presentation, so I think we connected.  Enjoy a few pics of today:

part of the worship team this afternoon during the pastor’s gathering. Love the intensity on the face of the vocalist!

Anna Tsvetkova (daughter of Bishop Alexander) is an excellent translator, which definitely helps the preacher!

Sharing with the men tonight about marriage & family in the pastor’s home

Russia, day 4

Sunday in Novokuznetsk included three services at 10am, 1pm and 5pm, plus Brent did some coaching with Children’s Ministers and Youth Ministers, so it was a full day.  Tomorrow morning we’ll head to St. Petersburg for three days of ministry with our friends there.

Enjoy the pics from today:

Worship at the Novo Church is always good – even though I only speak English, I recognize the Presence in any language!

After I preached the 10am service, two people came forward for salvation, including one of the two men seated here (one is a member already), while one of the leaders shared some encouragement with him after he prayed to receive Christ.

The other new convert at 10am was this sweet little girl, with one of the leaders encouraging her after she prayed to receive Christ.

During the 1pm service, Brent met with the teen leaders who serve the Middle School ministry

After I preached, these 3 adults came forward to receive Christ as Pastor Ilya led them in prayer. The women in the middle of the three converts is the wife of an influential newspaper publisher in the city who received Christ last Sunday!

There was a 4th notable salvation after that service, as a known criminal and member of the Russian mob came to Pastor Ilya’s office, saying that he was afraid to come forward in the service, but he wanted to receive Christ. Ilya led him to the Lord in his office as this hardened criminal shed many tears of repentance!

The final service at 5pm featured several ex-drug addicts on the praise team!

…including these two guitarists. I LOVED seeing the difference that Jesus makes!

Maybe the highlight of the trip was after Brent preached the 5pm service when these 7 adults came forward for salvation – 6 men and the woman at the end of that row in front of Pastor Ilya as he led them in prayer!  That makes 14 precious souls who received the Lord here this weekend – and that’s well worth the entire trip!

Brent and I will be up by 4:30am to head to the airport to catch the first of two flights that will get us to St. Petersburg in about 7 hours of travel, and then we’ll minister at a network of pastors led by our friend, Alexander Tsvetkova. G’nite now!


Russia, day 3

Today was a full day of meetings and discussion with the new campus Launch Team leaders, plus the first of their four weekend services, and JET-LAG kicked-in bigtime on top of it, so this will be a quick report before I hit the sack early tonight (it’s only 8pm here!):

Before our meeting with the Launch Team leaders began, Pastor Ilya led us in prayer-

These leaders were eager to hear everything we had to say and took notes of it all-

We had mentioned to the pastors yesterday how we help CLC’ers discover their spiritual gifts through Growth Track Step2, and they insisted that we help their launch team with the gifts profile today (they worked on it SO seriously!)

Tonight, as in every Russian church where I’ve ministered, the congregation prays over their children after worship before releasing them to their classes (such cute kids)

Brent preached and Pastor Ilya Bantseev interpreted


At the close of the message, Pastor Ilya made a salvation invitation and one man responded

After leading him in the sinner’s prayer, Pastor Ilya brought a mentor alongside the new convert to help him-

and with that, I’m signing off to get some much-needed sleep, since tomorrow I’m preaching their first two services while Brent meets with their children and youth ministries and then he preaches the final weekend service, so it will be another very long day of ministry. (Hey, we can rest on the plane later)

Thanks for the prayers!

Russia, day 2

Brent and I led a daylong discussion with key leaders from the Church in Novokuznetsk about their second campus launch.

This picture was taken near the end of the day after a few of the leaders & even Senior Pastor Ilya Bantseev had to leave for other appointments, but it was still a rich discussion time, with some laughs along the way, but also some very serious & soul-searching moments.

The highlight of the entire trip so far was our evening meal with Ilya & Janet Bantseev as we shared our common struggles as well as blessings. These folks have sacrificed greatly & been faithful for 25 years to dig out a wonderful church in Novokuznetsk, a city of about 600,000 people in south-western Siberia. LOVED our time of fellowship together!

Tomorrow we’ll spend about 5 hours in discussion with the launch team for the new campus launch and then Brent will preach the first of their four weekend services (I’ll get to do services two and three on Sunday before he finishes the day for us).  Thanks for the prayers!

A follow-up on the New Testaments for IRAN project

When I contacted ELAM’s USA office to report the great news, the Director shared a great story with me, that I thought would bless you.  He wrote:

“Just today I heard a story of a woman who went with a team to distribute New Testaments on the street in the Iran region. She was nervous, so she prayed, “Lord, please send someone to me.” Within seconds, an Iranian couple approached her asking for directions.

She asked if they wanted a New Testament. They did. She asked if they wanted to know more about Jesus. They did. She asked if they wanted to become Christians. They did! Overjoyed, she prayed with them as the couple gave their lives to Christ.

In total, she and her friends gave out 92 New Testaments that day. Nine people made commitments to Jesus that very afternoon. Please join us in praying for these new believers and the many others who are now reading the New Testament for the first time.”

Just think: if that’s the “standard response rate” for immediate salvation commitments upon receiving a New Testament, then I guess we could expect possibly 500 people to come to the Lord as a result of your gifts for this project – and that’s just immediate responses – not the number of Iranians who read the New Testament and become convinced by what they read and then surrender to Christ!

I’m SO proud of CLC’ers & how God is using our gifts to make a difference in the Iran region!


Russia, day 1

No pics this time; I was too tired to take any.

Brent and I arrived at our hotel about 6:30pm Wednesday after leaving O’Hare at 7:30pm Tuesday, so we had less than 4 hours sleep before leading an intense 5-hour discussion with Pastors Ilya and Janet and their leadership team regarding the launch of their second campus, followed by a quick dinner of homemade pizza before Brent traveled to the new site to speak at a Communion service there for the launch team while I stayed behind to preach the Communion service for the original campus.

We’re about to get some sweet rest before tomorrow’s long day of discussion and sharing about the nuts and bolts of multi-site ministry.  Since we’ve made just about every mistake possible since launching our second site back in 2007, we feel well-qualified to tell them what to avoid!

Pictures coming tomorrow; sleep coming now!

To Russia, with Love

S7 (Siberian Airlines) is the preferred airline for travel within Russia







I’m writing this from the Moscow airport, as my son Brent and I left Chicago Monday night for a ministry assignment in Russia.

We’ll get into Novokuznetsk, Siberia on Wednesday about 5pm (Chicago time) to begin 4 days with our friends, Pastors Ilya & Janet Baantseev and their great church.  They plan to launch their second campus on April 28 and asked us to coach and train them prior to the launch.

Then on Sunday night (again, Chicago time, which is 12 hours behind Novokuznetsk) we’ll fly to St. Petersburg, Russia for 3 days of ministry with our friends at the New Testament Church led by Bishop Alexander Tsvetkova, starting with a network of pastors he leads in that region.

I would really appreciate your prayers because this trip is stretching us beyond our usual areas of ministry, in addition to the fact that my wife became very ill on Tuesday before we left with what the ER doctors are calling an acute case of the violent stomach flu that’s going around Chicago.  Here’s a quick summary for your prayer focus:

  1. Pray for Chris and both of our families, since it seems the enemy often attacks to distract us when we’re away on missions.
  2. Wednesday midnight-Saturday morning (Chicago times) Brent and I will be in a series of long planning and training sessions with the pastors and leaders in Novokuznetsk.
  3. Saturday morning-Sunday morning we will be ministering in the four weekend services of the Novo church.
  4. Monday morning-Wednesday afternoon we’ll minister in a variety of settings: a network of pastors, a men’s gathering, a youth service and more.

Lord willing, we’ll be back in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, looking forward to a great weekend at CLC with Prophet Dennis Cramer.

Dennis will minister prophetically on April 7 at our Hammond campus at 9am; at our Blue Island campus at 11am and at our Tinley Park campus at 5pm.

I’m in AWE!







This is not the first time I’ve been TOTALLY surprised as a Pastor.

Sometimes it’s a disappointing surprise, because something didn’t go as I expected or (every pastor’s nightmare) someone I love decides to leave the church and I didn’t see it coming, and no matter how much I try to tell myself it’s not personal, it still feels like it is.

But I digress.

This afternoon our Finance Director gave me the grand total for our IRAN New Testament project, and I was blown-away.


CLC’ers often surprise me with their generosity, and this project had already done that several times: my initial thought after seeing the video of our partners for the Iranian church, ELAM, and learning that we could put a Persian New Testament in the hands of an Iranian for just $6, was that we could send at least 1,000 or even 2,000 New Testaments to help bring an Iranian Muslim to faith in Christ.

When we blew past that in a couple of weeks, I dared to dream that we could give 2900 New Testaments on our 29th Anniversary as a church – but CLC’ers passed that mark with a full week to go.  Because of that, I figured everyone would ‘let off the gas’ at the anniversary service and we’d end up with maybe 3,300 or so New Testaments, which is still amazing.

But no – my faith was still too small.

Are you ready for the GOOD NEWS?

drum roll, please…..

Thanks to the generosity of CLC’ers these last 5 weekends, including children who worked to raise money for Iran, to teens who joined our efforts, with each Chicagoland campus AND even our campus in Davao City, Philippines coming alongside us, we’re sending ELAM a check from all of you to provide a GRAND TOTAL of

5,128 New Testaments!

Rejoice with me, not only for an A-Mazing gift total, but most of all for untold hundreds   (thousands?) of Iranians who will someday be in heaven in part because of your gifts!


29th Anniversary Reflections

March 25, 1990 – March 24, 2019 – 29 years of CLC!

The GIFT for everyone in attendance was a GREAT IDEA from Campus Pastor Jon Jones & the LifeWorship team! (kudos to model James Ineh)

On this 29th Anniversary I couldn’t help but notice MEN who serve – it’s one of the strengths of CLC (kudos to James Elzy & Chuck Peters)

Real men WORSHIP in fulfillment of 1Tim. 2:8, “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God”

in fact, men can lead the way in worship with musical instruments (L to R, Daniel Rodriguez (guitar), Alan Franklin (keys) and Christopher Rivers (French Horn)

In fact, our Blue Island campus has at least 6 MEN in their worship band, including these guys (L to R: Len Stallworth (guitar), Eric Williams (bass), and Dion Edwards (drums)

While still others serve as outside greeters, welcoming guests & members with a big smile (kudos, Phillip Weatherspoon!)

Service with a smile includes opening the door for ladies (kudos, Donald Brown!)

The key to strong MEN is to start when they’re little! (besides, the cutest kids in the world attend KidsLife!)

told you

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these cuties are daughters of Pastors Moy & Eva at our Blue Island campus-




Meanwhile, our Hammond campus dedicated two children today (L to R: parents Preston & Alisha Bouler with daughter Zareya Annette Michelle, and parents Godwin & Idara Etukudo with son, Emediong Godwin

My son Brent seemed to be having FUN with “Like an OX” today at the Hammond campus…..

…..as did my wife in Blue Island!

It was a good day to celebrate 29 years of ministry at each campus!  Stay tuned for a report tomorrow on how many New Testaments we’re providing to Iran!

You’re being watched

That was the subject line of an email I received last night, and my first thought was, “Uh, oh – what have I done now?”

Based on the scripture behind me, I’m guessing this was my imitation of an eagle flapping it’s wings…

But the email was from a faithful CLC’er, who went on to say that he was watching online yesterday with his three-and-a-half-year-old son, who started laughing and making funny gestures with his arms.  The father said, “I didn’t understand until I figured out that he saw you doing an impersonation of a mother eagle teaching her young to fly”!

Well, I think that’s a first.

But there are worse things in life than entertaining little kids while preaching, huh?

But it does lead me to another message to the Mom’s and Dad’s reading this post:           don’t forget, you’re being watched, too!


Sunday reflections

Week 3 of Beast Mode was my favorite so far:

Katrina Grant brought the FIYAH in worship today in Tinley Park!

But then, so did Kara May – I’m thankful for ALL of our worship team singers & musicians who bring His Presence each week!

Does this remind you of the Three Muskateers?

Have you been in our Growth Track? Today’s Step3 class was all about developing your influence as a CLC leader

“Soaring with Eagles” was FUN today!

Pastor Sam said he had a lot of fun with it in Hammond today, too!

Christian Washington led a great time of prayer at the altar in the 9am service at Haammond-

Love the fact that our Blue Island campus is bi-lingual! (and really glad that our God IS a Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, and Light in the Darkness!

Jennifer Anderson did a great job hosting in Blue Island for the first time!

Pastor Moy soared with eagles today, too!

…not sure what he said, but it’s a good sign when everybody thought it was funny! (If you can’t have fun in church, where can you?)

do I need to say it again? The CUTEST kids on the planet are part of KidsLife at CLC!

just one picture of the HARVEST at our Davao City, Philippines campus today, as HUNDREDS of people came forward for salvation, filling the altars and overflowing onto the platform. God is up to something special in the Philippines!

Celebrating with our Davao City, Philippines campus

Could you use some GOOD NEWS on Monday morning?

Check this out: our CLC-Davao campus in the Philippines (Bishop Herley Montes & Pastor Joel Montes) broke their all-time record yesterday with 2,500 people in attendance!

A look at the crowd at just one of their five Sunday services yesterday!

And that’s not the BEST news….at the close of each of those five services, people came forward to receive Christ:

the altar response at one of those services…..

including one service in which SO MANY PEOPLE CAME TO RECEIVE CHRIST THAT THEY WOULDN’T FIT IN THE ALTAR AREA – they overflowed onto the stage:

I’ve NEVER seen anything like this – both sides of the stage AND the entire front of the church filled with hungry people giving their life to Christ!

All together in their five services, a minimum of 500-600 people received Christ and one estimate is up to 1,000 – at the Sunday services of CLC-Davao!

Let’s celebrate with our Filipino brothers & sisters for what God is doing in Mindanao!

Sunday reflections

I suspect Daylight Savings Time Change Sunday did it again, although I haven’t yet seen the final attendance report for CLC.  Nonetheless, week 2 of “Beast Mode” was still good:

My beautiful & talented wife ministered at our Hammond Campus today while Pastor Sam was away and I heard “the beast came out in her!” Best of all, 2 people received Christ & others received prophetic ministry!

Meanwhile, our Blue Island campus baptized 6 people today, with 4 of them in this pic: (L to R holding certificates) Sean Smith, Monica and Julian Martinez & father Jesus Martinez.  Love it!!

2 others pictured here aat far right before their baptisms: Philip & Peace Weatherspoon!

Today was also a farewell celebration for Harry & Crystal Valentine, who have served as KidsLife Directors in Blue Island but are now moving to the Tinley Park campus to serve as our Consumed Student Ministry Directors!

Speaking of BEAST MODE, Jason Parks already looks like a ‘natural’ as a service host!

I’m so thankful for our Tech team, which includes Video Director Isaiah Colson in foreground & James Cook on camera.

SO thankful for our Ministry Team that serves SO faithfully each Sunday in prayer at the altar , including three ladies pictured here – (L to R) Kenya Lewis, Kim Valentine & Dolores Huerta!

My favorite part of any service is seeing people pray to receive Christ!

Say it with me: “the CUTEST kids in the world attend CLC!”

Sunday reflections

Our “BEAST MODE” series got off to a great start today:

Love the stage design at Hammond – kudos to Andy Esparza & team!

These Hammond girls prove my point: cutest kids in the world attend CLC!

Pastor Sam said the message connected well and 4 people prayed to receive Christ in Hammond today!

I love the PASSION on each face of our Blue Island worship team!

Pastors Moy & Eva led the baby dedication ceremony for Aaron Israel Chavez, son of Aaron & Cassandra (godparents Anthony & Irma Vasquez at far right).

Our kids at the Blue Island campus are excited to know that God is BIG!

After the ‘Beast Mode’ message, the altar in Blue Island was filled with people seeking the Lord!

Love faithful Dream Team’ers, (L to R) Karen Protho & Diane Humes!

And these smiles from the young dream team’ers who lead our coffee shop (L to R), Nikki Colson & Nia Stringfellow!

This kind of heartfelt worship from our team on stage…..

…..produces this kind of worship in the congregation!

Pastor Brent gave us so many practical tips to help us go “Beast Mode”, and at least 6 people prayed to receive Christ afterwards!

11 attenders joined CLC in Growth Track today!

Our KidsLife vehicles give rides to cute kids…..

…..see, I told you!

Senegal, day 3

I’m headed home.

But today was definitely the most productive day of this visit, as Hani and I were able to share the vision for the Mega City Campaign with about 50 pastors and leaders representing more than 35 evangelical churches (none of whom were included in our earlier meetings this week).

The enthusiasm in the room was palpable as these leaders grasped the potential this campaign holds for the greatest harvest of souls in Senegalese history.

In addition, on our way back to the airport we were able to stop to see the property that CLC recently purchased to provide a headquarters for all evangelical churches in the country.  The pastors are SO excited about this and repeatedly expressed their gratitude to CLC for your generosity in making this happen.

Enjoy a quick pictorial recap:

Pastor Pape (our companion for the entire trip, since he’s fluent in English) opened the Pastor’s Monthly Prayer Meeting.

Pastor Felix serves the largest Assembly of God church in Senegal & is the head of the largest network of evangelical churches here. (He calls me “Papa Jerry”)

Hani took my picture to prove that I am actually here.

I challenged the pastor’s with the importance of UNITY in order for this campaign to succeed.

Hani shared specifics of the campaign and showed them a sample of the book that people will receive with stories of “The Power to Change”

It’s possible because of the low literacy rates that some will instead receive a “mega voice” containing audio of all the ‘Power to Change’ stories, along with the plan of salvation & other audio resources, in a tiny package that Hani is holding.

There were two missionaries at the pastor’s gathering, including this Korean brother who’s only been in the country one month.

Pastor Ba is a Liberian who came to Senegal over 20 years ago with her husband, who is the Bishop of the Pentecostal Union. They were the host pastors for today’s meeting, but her husband suffered a stroke recently and was unable to attend, so she graciously welcomed us instead.

This is the property that CLC purchased for a headquarters of the Evangelical Churches of Senegal. From the tree at far left, to the trees on the horizon and to the tree line on the far right (just outside the pic) – it’s a larger plot of land than our original plan & still quite close to the new airport. Such a strategic place for the evangelicals in this predominantly Muslim nation! This is another fruit of your missions giving, CLC!

Pastor Pape joined me for a pic just outside the land we purchased.

Can’t wait to see my CLC family on Sunday as we kick off our “Beast Mode” series!


Senegal, day 2

I didn’t need to fear!

Day 2 of this trip to Senegal was supposed to be a long day of meetings dealing with an upcoming pastor’s conference AND the Megacity Campaign for Dakar.  However, after about 3 hours of discussion, one of the leaders received a phone call warning that the results of the Senegal Presidential election would be announced soon, and they were expecting violent demonstrations in the streets that made it advisable for them to take Hani and me to the safety of our hotel instead.

I can’t say that I was afraid, knowing that Senegal has never had a civil war or uprising in it’s history, but the leaders ended the meeting nonetheless.  By the time we reached a restaurant, the word was out that the incumbent President had been re-elected on the first ballot with over 58% of the vote and instead of demonstrations, all was peace and quiet on the streets.  So we enjoyed a peaceful lunch, knowing that the voters had been heard and there was no need for demonstrations.  (The pastors were also happy because President Macky has been very kind to evangelicals during his first term in office)

Tomorrow will be our last day here as we hope to finalize this round of preparation for the Megacity campaign and also see the plot of land just purchased by CLC to provide a headquarters for all evangelicals in a strategic location near the new airport.

Hani Henein from Great Commission Media Ministries leads a discussion, with Bishop Okafor (across from Hani) and Pastor Sidy from CAPRO (behind Hani)

Hani from Great Commission Media Ministries(foreground) explains part of the campaign to (from L, clockwise) Pastor Pape, (hidden behind him, Evangelical treasurer, Pastor Felix, head of the evangelicals; Pastor Valentine, head of mainline denominations, another leader, Bishop Okafor of the Pentecostal alliance)

Thanks for your prayers – they kept me safe today!

Senegal, day 1

I am a spoiled American!

I’ve suspected so on several international trips, but I know so after today.

I sat in meetings with some key pastors here, including the leaders of the three ministerial associations that include all of the more than 500 evangelical congregations in Senegal for over 5 hours today.

Most of that time was spent with me listening to long conversations in French (which I don’t understand a word of) and then a few sentences in English for my benefit, then some more long conversations in French and another sentence or two to fill me in on what was just said.

I finally got to feel what it’s like to have “the shoe on the other foot” when I conduct meetings and preach sermons or teach lessons while most everybody else in the room has to wait for the translation.  Not fun.

But we did cover some important ground in preparation for the Megacity Campaign for Dakar which will take place in April of next year, and I’m MEGA-excited about that.  Here’s a few pics from today:

Hani Henein (far R, holding a pencil) is the Great Commission Media Ministries Director for Africa and all of the Arab world. Love him!

Pastor Valentine (third from Left, with hand on his chin) heads one of the ministerial groups, and I had not seen him in about 10 years until today!

We spent almost all afternoon with two journalists (woman & man on immediate left) who are willing to help us tell the stories of life-change that will become the focus point of the Megacity campaign – and I’ve got a feeling they will meet Jesus in the process!

Headed to dinner with Hani now before calling it a day. Thanks for the prayers!

Off to Senegal








I’m writing this from O’Hare, where I’ll soon board a flight to Brussels and then on to Dakar, arriving there about noon on Tuesday (Chicago time).

It’s another quick trip, as I’ll be joined by Hani Henein from Great Commission Media Ministries and we’ll spend three days meeting with pastors and leaders, along with various media officials as the planning begins in earnest for the GCM “Mega City Campaign” in Dakar that CLC is helping to sponsor.

I’m beyond excited about the potential harvest this campaign could bring to Senegal and the evangelical churches there, so please pray with me for FAVOR on all our efforts.  I’ll be home Saturday afternoon and hope to have good reports to share next Sunday!

Sunday reflections

It’s been a long day for me, so this will be a brief recap of the last Sunday in February at CLC:

Our Blue Island Dream Team prays together each Sunday…

…and today their prayers were rewarded with a RECORD NUMBER in KidsLife – 70 kids!

AND another strong attendance, even with their Campus Pastor away on another assignment today – they received the message from Joe Sangl via video-

The Marriage Ministry team in Hammond did a great job with the XO Conference yesterday-

This is just one of MANY great kids at CLC-Hammond filling up every classroom!

Talaat McNeily closed out “On the Flip Side” with a home run in Hammond!

Teachers like Joey Alexander do such a great job leading our children…

…that our kids are EAGER to learn God’s Word!

Joe Sangl was simply AWESOME in all 3 services and for 2 solid hours tonight with his Financial Learning Experience! Perfect close to a great series!

CLC’s 29th ‘Birthday’ is coming soon!

Our first service was at Tinley Park High School on Sunday, March 25, 1990, so March 24 will be our 29th birthday!

I’m NOT asking for any gifts or honors for CLC or myself that day – but I do have a special request for every CLC’er that I shared yesterday at the end of my teaching. If you missed it, you can watch the last few minutes where I explained my request here.

To give you a fuller picture of the need and the hunger in Iran for God’s Word, please watch this 8-minute video from Ladan, who led one of the conferences in Turkey last summer where Chris and I were privileged to minister:

Here are the details for March 24:

  • It only costs $6 to print a New Testament and get it into the hands of an Iranian
  • As I post this on February 18, there are 5 Sundays until our 29th birthday, when all our Chicagoland campuses PLUS our Davao City, Philippines campus will be receiving a special offering to provide New Testaments for Iranians who are hungry for God’s Word
  • Our children can give $6!  Our teens can give $6!  Some of us can give 5 or 10 or perhaps 50 or (my goal for Chris & me) even 100 New Testaments!
  • You don’t have to wait until March 24 – you can give online or through the CLC App by choosing the drop-down menu for “IRAN – New Testaments Project” OR by designating “IRAN” on your check or offering envelope!

How many New Testaments will YOU give to Iran?

Sunday reflections

Here’s a pictorial recap of week 3 of “On the Flip Side” series:

Our Blue Island campus had an amazing day with strong attendance, GREAT Presence of God in worship and 4 water baptisms!

Pastor Moy introduced (L to R) Liz Gleason, Abigal Simental, Zion & Madyson Valentine. Liz shared how she was invited to “Praise in the Park” last summer by her friend, Kenya Lewis, from the Tinley Park campus – and she’s been attending ever since!

Liz was baptized with the Holy Spirit on a recent Sunday and today experienced water baptism!

Kailah Thomas leading a Hammond favorite, “Holy Ground” with new Dream Team’er, David Lewis on keys behind her-

Pastor Sam looks like he was having fun teaching “Giving & Receiving” today – maybe it was because 70 people accepted the Tithe Challenge!

Not sure who the boy is, but it looks like KidsLife in Hammond is FUN!

Speaking of fun, there were lots of happy faces in Tinley Park today, too…..

…..even husbands & wives were happy – maybe because they signed up for the XO Conference this coming Saturday!

Jason Parks shared in Growth Track today as 12 new CLC’ers took their next step! HAVE YOU?

I’m SO excited that CLC’ers will help reach a few thousand Iranians with Persian New Testaments at our 29th Birthday on March 24 – with our campuses in Tinley Park, Hammond, Blue Island & Davao City all joining together to reach these precious people with the Gospel in a ‘closed’ country!



Half-way through but already on overload

We’ve been at the ELAM Founder’s Weekend for less than 24 hours, and only two of the four scheduled sessions, but our minds and hearts are already on overload!

It’s amazing to think that one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians is now the fastest-growing church on earth!

It’s amazing to learn of the sacrifices made before this incredible harvest of Muslims coming to faith in Christ began!  Last night we heard the story of how one couple prayed 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for about four months – but the end result was the salvation of one of the co-founders of ELAM that is now seeing thousands of people coming to faith in Iran and the surrounding region!

Today we heard the testimony of one Iranian Muslim who received a Persian New Testament and gave her life to Christ as a result – and now has friends asking to borrow her New Testament – including one new believer who has borrowed it 18 times because she keeps leading other women to faith in Christ by having them read it!  (And we can send one Persian-language New Testament to others like her for just $6!)

I’ll have more to share when we return tomorrow night, but just had to get this off my heart before I explode!


Off to ELAM Founder’s Weekend

We’re flying out of O’Hare this morning for the annual gathering of one of our favorite Missions partners, ELAM.  At CLC, we have been partnering with this ministry to Iran and beyond for perhaps 15 years, but in 2018 Chris and I had the opportunity to teach two seminars for Iranian believers in the country of Turkey, and it was one of the highlights of our missions ministry!

Pastor Farshid and ELAM leader Ladan standing with us – both great leaders!

Because Iran is such a closed country – off limits to missionaries and one of the most dangerous nations on earth for Christians to practice their faith, you may not be aware than IRAN is also where one of the greatest revivals on earth is occuring!

Founders Weekend is where we’ll renew important contacts, hear first-hand reports from Iranian believers and learn how CLC can more effectively partner with our Iranian brothers and sisters.

I believe this Sunday at all three CLC campuses will be one of the highlights of our “On the Flip Side” series, but I know that you’re in good hands while we’re away.  Look for a good report when we return Sunday night!

Forgive, Reconcile, Restore

Our 2019 First Love Conference was SO impactful on so many levels-

  • the UNITY of pastors and churches coming together (KUDOS to Pastors Justin Kane from New Day Church in New Lenox, Sergio Lopez from House of Triumph in Steger, Geno Olison from South Suburban Vineyard in Flossmoor, and Thaddeus Searcy from Freedom Church in Homewood!, and various members of their worship teams – wasn’t it amazing to see and hear that blending of voices in worship!)
  • The A-mazing teaching from our special guest, Pastor Dharius Daniels from Change Church, New Jersey.  I’ve NEVER heard anything like it, and I’ve got to listen again & again to get it all!
  • The FAITHFULNESS of God’s people to battle through snow, ice and polar-vortex temperatures to get here service after service!

But perhaps the most impactful moment of all took place in the final service of the conference when I introduced Pastor Dan Johnson from Restoration Christian Church in Shorewood.  If you missed that moment, here it is again:

Who do you need to forgive?

What strained relationship do you need to reconcile?

Isn’t it time for restoration?

We believe it’s a new season at CLC!


Week 2 of our February sermon series is my personal favorite as we take a close look of the ONLY 5 THINGS ANYONE CAN DO WITH THEIR MONEY. (Really! There are only 5!)

We’ll also see the mistake MOST people make with that list, but how YOU can flip the list    and the difference it will make in your life!

I’m also excited to announce that we’re bringing back to CLC one of our favorites, as Joe Sangl, founder of “I was Broke. Now I’m Not.” on Sunday, February 24 when he’ll close our series with a look at “Savings and Investing” and then share his new & updated, “Financial Learning Experience” from 4-6pm at our Tinley Park campus.

Joe shares his story of making every financial mistake possible when he was younger, before applying the principles of God’s Word to turn things around and become a successful business owner today!

Sunday reflections

Today was full of WORSHIP & PRESENCE, from the stage…..

…..to the very back (including the soft seating area)!

I dunno if it was worship, but these kids sure are tuned in to what was happening at KidsLife!

The opening message of “On the Flip Side” was a little harder-hitting than I want to be when dealing with money matters, but the response in all 3 services makes me think it must have been needed.

Worship in Blue Island was led by Jazzmine Villareal

Pastors Alan & Terrilyn Franklin led the congregation in the Lord’s Supper.

It was a PACKED HOUSE in Blue Island today! (Kudos, Pastor Moy!)


KidsLife makes some kids dance for joy!

Pastor Brent helped the congregation know how to honor God AND starve discontentment-

Worship was powerful in Hammond today (Jamie Morris leading here)

Pastor Sam prayed for those who are stuck financially-

Now I’m ready for some football!

Flip a ‘coin’ this February at CLC

I’m excited about our NEW sermon series because we’ll talk about finances in ways we never have before. Seriously. “On the flip side” will address some money issues that are ‘closely related, although they seem different’ and show you how to gain and maintain financial stability in our ever-changing world.

After all, money is one thing that ALL of us deal with every day, so it only makes sense that the God who wants us to enjoy a blessed life would have much to say about it.

Invite a friend and join us THIS Sunday (with temps in the 40’s!) at any Chicagoland campus of CLC!

First Love revisited

It’s been about 48 hours since we closed, but I’m still feeling the affects of First Love 2019!

I’d love to hear your stories of how you were impacted by those services, so please leave a comment below.

And if you want to revisit the conference (and anyone who heard Dr. Dharius Daniels on Friday night or Saturday morning definitely needs to watch again, because it was coming too fast to catch it all in one listen!) – here’s the link for all 8 messages.

Let’s keep the momentum going!

First Love Conference reflections

I’ve probably said before, “This was the best First Love Conference we’ve ever had”….but honestly, there’s never been one quite like 2019!


Very thankful for area pastor friends who joined in this year, including Justin Kane, Lead Pastor of New Day Church in New Lenox, who hosted Friday night-

What can I say about the ministry of Dr. Dharius Daniels? My vocabulary is too small to describe how amazing he was Friday night-

But I figured out the word for his ministry on Saturday morning – ‘RIDICULOUS’! His insights into Scripture went beyond anything I’ve ever heard.  So thankful for the God-set-up that brought him to CLC!

Just wanted you to see it again because I couldn’t take notes fast enough because while I was writing his last amazing truth he was speaking two more! Ridiculous!

She wasn’t angry as it might appear, but she led us into a powerful ‘Fire Tunnel” Saturday night where I heard of all sorts of breakthrough’s for CLC’ers!

Pastor Sam PREACHED about the “Missing Ingredient” when we go through trials (instead of growing through trials)

Pastor Brent stepped on a lot of toes as he helped us examine our love for God

DeVante Tidwell illustrated the blind man in John 9 in his Sunday noon message, “A Messy Miracle”

Pastor Taylor led the Hammond campus while Sam was preaching in Tinley

and worship was HOT at Hammond (thanks, Menia)

DeVante Tidwell brought it at 9am in Hammond




Crystal Valentine hosted today’s service in Blue Island


Pastor Moy preached, “You Are What You Love” before a powerful time at the altar

part of the altar time at our Blue Island campus – FIRE!

I have no words to describe the worship atmosphere throughout the entire conference – so thankful for Pastor Jon Jones & the combined efforts of each CLC campus & area churches!

I knew I needed to make a statement tonight, but I had no idea how impactful it would be for so many of us, from CLC and RCC and even beyond. God is SO good!

Pastor Dan Johnson closed First Love 2019 with such an encouraging word!

I think this says it all for First Love 2019


Sunday reflections

It was a COLD day in Chicagoland, and the leftover effects of Saturday’s snowstorm, but still a GOOD day at CLC:

Pastor Jon Jones & his team led us into the Presence of the Lord (so thankful for the entire team that “brings it” every week!)

We closed the “Made for More” series with a simple teaching about the benefits of using our prayer language & people responded in each service – at least a dozen CLC’ers were baptized in the Holy Spirit!

While that was happening in the auditorium, KidsLife was LOTS of fun (at least Nia Davis seems to think so)

I need to find out why Nia crosses her fingers when she prays….if you know, enlighten me-

“I know, I know” – gotta love how kids are eager to learn at KidsLife!

I love the fact that we have MALE role models in our children’s ministry (like Billy Avolio & Raymond Kimbrough pictured here)

“Mr. Tim” is a legend with the younger kids

Pastor Moy honored Pastor Alan Franklin who has served the BI Worship Team since we opened – and is now making room for Jazmine’s vocal gifts by continuing to lead our BI musicians.



Pastor Moy brought the message, “Do You See?” to close our “Made for More”

Monique Thomas led a powerful new song from Psalm 23 today at our Hammond campus (wish I could have heard it – it LOOKS powerful!)

Pastor Chris brought an ‘on time’ word in Hammond and Pastor Sam reports 9 new CLC’ers in Growth Track there today-

Sunday reflections

Here’s a quick recap of the second Sunday of 2019:

I love the fact that Kids have FUN at CLC!

little kids can have fun here-

bigger kids can have fun here-

even twins can have fun (well, they can enjoy the nursery)

Our LifeGroup kick-off included 51 groups, with something for everyone!

You can be part of a CLC Life Group on ANY day of the week that fits your schedule (literally)

This guy right here is multi-talented: he leads, he sings, he preaches, he plays keys, he plays guitar & today we learned he plays drums! Kudos, Pastor Jon Jones-

and this lady right here preached her heart out – there IS More for all of us!

Sweet worship today at our Hammond campus-

And kids have a good time while learning at CLC-Hammond, too!


Two new members at Growth Track in Hammond-

Christal Boynes led a great offering special today-

Our Blue Island campus enjoyed Jazmin Villarreaal (center) as a guest worship leader today

IAnd the Presence of the Lord was strong!

Liz Gleason (front, left in tan jacket) was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the close of service! (Thanks, Nancy Villacorta for praying with her – we are SO blessed at CLC with faithful altar ministers at each campus!)

Sunday reflections

The FIRST Sunday of a new year is now history – here’s a quick recap of our Chicagoland campuses:

He’s ok…just having FUN at KidsLife!


Lots of kids have fun because of people like Anita Armstrong & Tim Hilton in KidsLife Jr.         (love kids? Maybe you should join our Dream Team!)

Or if you like bigger kids, you could always flex your muscles as part of our Dream Team!

We even have HUG-ers on our Dream Team!

Pastor Jon is always looking for musicians & singers for our Praise Team – BTW, GREAT atmosphere of worship today!

I may not LOOK excited, but I’m THRILLED at the response to our 21-days of Prayer & Fasting!

Worship was great at Hammond today with Zion Middlebrooks home from college where he’s one of the first freshmen ever on the school’s worship team!

Hammond Prayer Director, Dorothy Caldwell, brought the message there & the congregation responded to the call for prayer & fasting

Pastor Moy brought a strong message & our Blue Island campus is fully onboard with the prayer & fasting!

After that Bear’s loss tonight, let’s focus on some Good News: almost 2,000 people worshiped at a CLC campus today and we are beginning a UNIFIED time of prayer & fasting tomorrow!


Happy New Year!

2019 is here.  Full of promise.  Full of potential.  Full of dreams.

But just like 2018, it will become what we make it through our faith in God.

Last night’s NYE celebration at CLC-Tinley Park was FUN from start to finish, full of praises and testimonies of God’s faithfulness, prophetic words and 12 water baptisms:

The Praise Team was on FIYAH all night!

The Wildfire Dance team from our Youth Ministry was definitely a hit!

Just one of a dozen baptisms – and each one represents a life changed by Jesus!

There were so many aspects of the celebration that I could mention, but IMHO the ‘word’ of the night was from Jonathan to his armor bearer in 1Samuel 14:6“maybe”.  Maybe today will be the day that God works on your behalf!  In fact, when you wake up each morning in 2019, think to yourself, “MAYBE today is the day!” (thanks, Brent)

Finally, thank you for sowing seeds in the Senegal GCM Media Campaign – I believe God is using CLC to make a difference in that entire nation, and I love you for it!



Sunday reflections

Here’s a quick pictorial recap of the LAST SUNDAY of 2018:

Sunday morning donuts are popular with young & old alike!

Worship was strong at the Tinley campus in all 3 services & I love the fact that it’s multi-generational – with Dr. Tony Powell & teen Joseph Alexander leading (along with millennial Tiffany Hines!)

Our Outreach Director, James Ineh, brought a good Word at 8:30am about trusting God when things look bad.

I didn’t get a pic of Campus Pastor Jon Jones, so we grabbed this from Facebook Live. He taught us at 10am about taking the whole armour of God in order “to stand”!


Our Director of Spiritual Formation, Jason Parks, helped us at 12pm to “Lose the Wait!”

At our Hammond Campus, Youth Director Christian Washington brought a good Word about obedience in both services

I didn’t get a report from our Blue Island campus, but I know that KidsLife Director Harry Valentine brought the Word there.

Sunday reflections

If you can’t tell, I was one PROUD pastor today, as we shattered all previous Christmas records with nearly 2,500 people worshipping at a CLC campus this weekend!

But actually the smile & pride was primarily because of these A-mazing kids, the cast of “Straight Outta Bethlehem!” – KUDOS to all of them & to Pastor Stacy, Pastor Rachel, Joel Johnson & the entire KidsLife team!

Donae Parker was simply “Star” – not only in name, but with her amazing performance.

Our acoustic worship team set the stage by bringing us into His Presence – thanks, Pastor Jon, Tiffany Hines, Regina Williams (violin), Rodney Young (keys) & Darius Johnson (cajone)

Our Hammond campus added a Saturday performance of their “Festival of Lights” production and it was a good thing – they prayed for 750 in attendance with 15 salvation decisions, but they actually had 968 with 19 decisions – an ALL-TIME attendance record there!

Amazing costume for an angelic appearance!

I wasn’t there, but this looks like “little drummer boys” to me!

Kudos to Philip & Llana Johnson for a great drama, too!

A Blue Island Drama LIFE GROUP produced their presentation today – here pictured King Herod with the Wise Men

It looks like Mary was ready to be delivered!

Kudos to Gabby Terry for her dance routine-

And it all brought worship to the Christ child!

After the production & a great meal together, the Christmas pinata appeared (never read that in the Bible, but it happened at CLC-Blue Island today) – So glad we can have FUN at Church – at all 3 campuses!

Senegal recap

The primary purpose of my trip was to introduce the pastors to the ministry of Great Commission Media, represented by Hani Henein, in hopes they would invite GCM to do a Mega City Media Campaign in Senegal.

Some of you will recall Hannu Haukka, the founder of GCM, who was with us at CLC on a Memorial Day weekend several years ago. Their ministry became known in Russia around the fall of Communism when hundreds of thousands of Russians responded to their airing of “SuperBook” on Soviet television. Since 2003, they have conducted these Mega City campaigns in cities around the world and the results have been book-of-Acts-amazing, with hundreds of thousands of people responding to the Gospel and churches literally tripling overnight!

Hani did a great job presenting the vision and his heart for the pastors was evident, which caused them to receive the vision.

Most important of all, we got the information to the leading pastors of the nation, like Felix N’diaye, who leads Bethel Assembly of God, the largest evangelical church in Senegal and Chairman of the Council of Protestant Evangelical Churches of Senegal..

Our host for the meetings was a wonderful leader, Pastor Pape Gning, who also translated for us, since Senegal is a French-speaking nation.

In addition, when I was there in February I discovered the government had built a new airport about 40 miles from Dakar and already business were moving into that area, as major construction was going on everywhere there. I felt impressed of the Lord that this presented a great opportunity for the Church of Senegal to acquire land in that area, knowing how valuable it would be for Evangelicals to have a presence in such a strategic place. I mentioned that to the pastors in February and assured them that CLC would help with that project.

Several of the pastors accompanied us to look at the land near the new airport

They seemed to think that Hani and I had never seen a horse-drawn wagon before & insisted we pose for a pic…..

…..the things you do for the sake of the Gospel (jk)

I’ll have more to tell you in person, but these two days were some of the most momentous in the 17+ years we’ve been working with the Church in Senegal!

Off to Senegal









I’m typing this from O’Hare where I’ll soon board a flight to Brussels before connecting with my flight to Dakar, arriving there on Monday evening.  It’s a really quick trip as I’ll only be in country about 55 hours and will be home Thursday afternoon.

The reason I’m going is that several years ago I introduced the Senegalese pastors to Great Commission Media Ministries in hopes of doing one of their media blitzes that have been seeing phenomenal results around the world.  However, the pastors missed their opportunity and failed to extend the necessary invitation at that time.  When I was in Senegal again this past February, the pastors asked for my forgiveness and pleaded with me to get GCMM to “give us another chance”.

The leaders of GCMM are willing to do the campaign, but since they don’t know the Senegal pastors, they would only agree to the meeting if I returned to make that connection for them.  So I’ll arrive Monday evening, spend Tuesday and Wednesday in meetings with the pastors & leaders of the Senegalese church and board a return flight about midnight Wednesday.

I must say before closing that while we don’t have pics of today’s services, the anointing I sensed on the message today was wonderful and I’m grateful for every person who told me afterwards how the Word had encouraged them today.  I’m thankful for our CLC family, for what God is doing among us and that the BEARS are Divisional Champions!

Recommended reading

In today’s message at CLC, I listed several books that some of my favorite CLC’ers have recommended for married couples who want to grow their marriage relationship.                Why not invest in your marriage this Christmas?

Sacred Marriage  (Gary Thomas)

Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman)

Marriage on the Rock (Jimmy Evans)

Reboot your Marriage (by CLC’ers Wes & Neesha Stringfellow)

Shattered : How to overcome a broken marriage – (Joel & Naomi Mitchell) 

Cherish: One Word that Changes Everything for Your Marriage (Gary Thomas)

The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer by (Les & Leslie Parrott)

Love Talk: Speak Each Other’s Language Like You Never Have Before                   (Les and Leslie Parrott)

A Lasting Promise: A Christian Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage (Scott Stanley)

For Better, But Worse…

With Thanksgiving behind us and as Black Friday sales reminded us, we are now in the midst of the Christmas season.  For many (like my wife), it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”.   But for others, it can be so difficult because of hurts and disappointments:

Disappointed at Christmas Promo from Christian Life Center on Vimeo.

For many, it’s a lot worse than a gag gift prank by your parents.

Perhaps the most hurtful of all are the relationships in our life that go awry….like the wedding vows that we said without really meaning, “for richer, for poorer; for better, for worse…” I mean, none of us ever expected that it would get worse, right?
But what do you do when it really is worse?

I think this Sunday will be a word from God for many. Invite a friend, especially if you know someone who is Disappointed at Christmas!

Monday morning reflections

My apologies for the delay in providing a recap of yesterday’s services – my trip to O’Hare with Pastor Bryan Loritts for his return flight was complicated by the Thanksgiving weekend travel and by the time I got home last night, I was no good for anything except the couch!  Here’s the recap:

The story of the day was this man right here: Bryan Loritts delivered the PERFECT message to conclude our “NO LONGER!” series. It was his first visit to CLC, but it surely won’t be his last!

In fact, his message from Hosea 3 wasn’t just for some of us; it hit all of us with conviction somewhere along the way, and I think most of us felt exactly like this picture afterwards.

Our MISSIONS KIOSK was busy after service, with CLC’ers taking advantage of the 10% discount for any 2019 Missions Trip registered BEFORE December 1! Save some cash by applying online here.

Meanwhile, our Hammond campus continues to add new Dream Teamers, with Shon Johnson adding his guitar to worship there.

Pastor Sam loved the ministry of their Senior Dance team!

My better half brought the closing message in Hammond and ministered to a lot of people afterwards.

No pics from Blue Island, but Pastor Moy said Bryan’s message streamed from Tinley Park was powerful and well-received – so much so that two adults, one English-speaking and one Spanish-speaking, each surrendered their life to the Lord afterwards! Good things happening at our Blue Island campus and we’re THANKFUL!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wherever you’re headed for Thanksgiving today, I hope you have plenty of turkey AND, most importantly, that you’re surrounded by the love of family & friends!

Chris and I are THANKFUL this holiday season for the privilege of serving our CLC family – THANKFUL for what God has done among us for more than 28 years – THANKFUL for what He has done even this year – THANKFUL for what HE is doing to do in the days ahead!

So after you enjoy good food around the table, hopefully a Bears win against the Lions, and perhaps even saving money on Black Friday, I hope you’ll join us for the grand finale to our   “NO LONGER!” series this Sunday with our special guest, Pastor Bryan Loritts:

Bryan Loritts | No Longer from Christian Life Center on Vimeo.


Where will YOU go?

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week with people you love!

But that’s not the only go-ing’ that’s on my mind today.

I’m thinking about Matthew 28:19 where the first word out of Jesus’ mouth in commissioning   us is “GO” – in order to make disciples in the Nations. Nothing is more important to The Church than that – it’s the unfinished task that Jesus left with us.

In 2019, CLC’ers will be going to NINE nations: Senegal, Kenya, Greece, Philippines, Mexico, Turkey, Costa Rica, Cambodia and Israel!  (For more information, go here)

AND, if you apply before the end of November, YOU can go for 10% less than the cost of the trip!  You can apply here NOW.

What are you waiting for?  Get going!


Sunday reflections (the day after)

Week 3 of “NO LONGER!” was even better than expected, as we explored “The Hidden Prejudice” at all 3 campuses.  Here’s a quick recap in pictures this Monday morning:

Worship in Hammond was great today – looks like the whole congregation was involved!

I love seeing musicians who worship thru their instrument! Kudos, Mike Usher on Hammond’s drums-

Jenny Esparza & her team created a cool stage design for Hammond KidsLife!

Pastor Sam preached and three people gave their life to Christ!

Worship was also strong at our Blue Island campus, where my wife brought the message on “The Hidden Prejudice” and Pastor Moy made the altar call which resulted in 2 people giving their life to Jesus!




This is the only picture we received from our Tinley Park campus yesterday, but I must say that Brent crushed it with transparency & insight as we focused on the class divide!  Best of all, at least 7 or 8 adults prayed to receive Christ afterwards and 4 people were baptized (Kudos to Ramon & Tiffani Lewis, Brandon Johnson & Toriann Henderson!)

And while we didn’t get a pic of my new FAVORITE song yesterday, Kudos to Tiffany Hines & the worship team on “Jesus You Change Everything” – enjoy a video of it here:

Then last night’s International Dinner was the BEST I ever recall:

The buffet at the International Dinner is always a hit – with choices from many nations & cultures.

The ‘entertainment’ was certainly international, as violinist Abi Lopez hails from Poland and is married to a Mexican – she’s funny AND talented AND a sold-out follower of Christ!

Major-Kudos to our Missions Pastor, Jen, and her amazing Dream Team’ers for a wonderful evening that will result in dozens of CLC’ers on missions trips in 2019!

The HIDDEN Prejudice

Our November series has already spoken to us loud and clear about the BIG divisions in our world: race and gender. But there’s one more division mentioned in our text (Galatians 3:28) – namely, Paul’s mention of “slave or free”, which represented the two primary social classes of his day.

In my 50 years of preaching, not only have I personally never preached a message about “class discrimination”; I’ve never heard a message on that topic.  Yet as we dove into our preparation for this Sunday, our pastors discovered that it’s a very Biblical subject! I think you’ll be surprised to see yourself through this message.

That’s why I hope you’ll join us at any of our Chicagoland campuses THIS Sunday, November 18, when we examine “The Hidden Prejudice”.  I can’t wait to see how God will continue to change us from the natural divisions of our culture, into the one-ness of those who are in Christ!

Tinley Park campus: 8:30am, 10am and 12pm

Hammond campus: 9am and 11am

Blue Island campus: 11am