DOING LIFE WITH GT

Greg Taylor (GT) is the Lead Minister here at Second Church as of August 2019. Each week, Greg will share about life at Second and look back and forward to all God is doing in the faith journey of his people.

february 25, 2021

I have shared repeatedly over the past couple of years my personal concern that religious freedom and liberty in our country and in the world is on shaky ground. In fact, this single issue was the most important issue in the 2020 presidential election for me. I could spend time this week writing about the horrific reality unfolding in China involving systematic persecution of Uyghur Muslims. I will link in the comments section a report from PBS that includes confirmation at least 85 internment camps the Communist Chinese Government has labeled “re-education centers” and a detailed explanation of exactly what is unfolding. I will share more about this ongoing situation in a future blog.

 

This week I want to focus on what is happening here in the USA and the specific case of a Christian businessman in the state of Colorado. My guess is many of you will recognize the name Jack Phillips and his business Masterpiece Cakeshop and remember his case that made it all of the way to the Supreme Court. What you might not realize is, despite a favorable ruling from SCOTUS in June of 2018, Mr. Phillips continues to face oppression and legal challenges because of his deeply held religious beliefs specifically on the issue of marriage.

 

Back in 2012, two Colorado men traveled to Massachusetts to get married (same-sex marriage was not legal in Colorado at that time) and requested that Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop bake and decorate a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage. Jack Phillips refused this request, saying to do so would violate his personal religious beliefs. He offered to sell these men any available cake in his shop but would not specially prepare a cake for this occasion.

 

The men filed a discrimination lawsuit against Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop in September of 2012 and eventually, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found Phillips guilty of violating Colorado’s public accommodations law prohibiting businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Phillips appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals and lost. The Colorado Supreme Court refused to even hear the case. Phillips then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and they found in Jack Phillips favor on June 4, 2018 by a 7-2 decision. It wasn’t even close. SCOTUS ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of this case had “…clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated Jack Phillips’ objection.” Case closed. Right? Not so fast.

 

On the same day the Supreme Court agreed to hear this case in 2017, a local Denver attorney, Autumn Scardina, called Masterpiece and asked that they create a pink and blue cake to celebrate his gender transition. The staff at the cakeshop replied that Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs would not allow him to create such a cake to celebrate a gender transition. Scardina, a biological male living his life as a transgender female, claimed his civil rights were violated, and once again, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission moved forward with this new complaint. In response, Jack Phillips filed a federal lawsuit against the Commission, claiming they had a vendetta against him.

 

In March of 2019, Colorado officials announced that the Scardina case before the Commission had been dismissed with prejudice. Case closed times two. Surely this is the end of the story, isn’t it? Not even close. This time, Scardina has filed suit against Jack and Masterpiece, claiming “false advertising” and a violation of law under the Colorado consumer protection act. This lawsuit has frivolous written all over it, but nonetheless, a court date is set for next week in Colorado.

 

Defending Jack and Masterpiece every step of the way has been the Alliance Defending Freedom, and I am truly thankful for this organization! Since 1994, the ADF has been advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family. I so very much love this goal of the ADF: “To keep the doors open for the gospel in the United States.” You can visit the ADF website and see the threat to religious freedom and liberty in the USA is real. Please pray for our brother in Christ, Jack Phillips, and the cause of religious freedom and liberty.

 

Some might wonder if this is really an issue to be concerned about. The answer is a definite, “Yes.” Think about all of the women and men leading Christian businesses in our church and in our community. This decision absolutely will impact them. Others might think this is just an isolated situation several states away.

 

Educate yourself on the Equality Act being debated right now in Congress and consider the potential impact on ministries and schools we support at Second Church. Look no further than Amazon which this week banned a 2018 academic book looking at the long-term impact of the transgender movement (When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement) written by Ryan T. Anderson. This is happening in America 2021.

 

I realize some of you are probably uncomfortable with this blog. To be honest, I’m not excited about writing it, and I’m certainly not optimistic about where we are heading in the land of the free, but I believe we are called as Christ followers to be women and men of TRUTH. I am convicted we can no longer be silent.

 

Let me leave you with a word from the apostle Paul we find in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that is helpful and encouraging as we engage our culture and our country in the name of Jesus. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

Join us Sunday as we continue our six-week journey into Another Gospel, looking at the question “What do we believe about GOD?”

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings in the Next Gen Auditorium at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.  Join us!

 

2. We remain committed to online worship services each week as well! The livestream of Main Auditorium happens at 9:20 a.m. on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel and the livestream of the 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well on both Facebook and YouTube!

 

3. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the gospel of John. Join us!

 

4. Direct Line Danville radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I visited with Tyler Russell from our staff at Second Church and my friend Cody Monkman from the Neighborhood Care Center in Clinton, IL. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!

 

5. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. Unfortunately, there are no meals or transportation at this time. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

6. Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Next Gen auditorium. ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

february 18, 2021

Death. It has been on my mind a lot the past couple of days. Over the course of just 12 hours on Wednesday, I heard about the deaths of Christian musician Carman, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, my friend and former Moweaqua elder Mike Morris, and Clinton YMCA program director David Torbert. In each of these situations, the news of death brought a mix of shock and sadness but also reminded me of lessons we can learn about life and death and life to the full.

 

Carman: For almost 40 years, Carman used his giftedness as a musician to bring glory to God, and yet it almost didn’t happen. For years, the man born Carmelo Domenic Licciardello literally wanted nothing to do with the Christian faith. A high-school dropout, he made a living for a season performing Top 40 hits in Atlantic City before heading to Las Vegas with big plans and dreams. Vegas didn’t pan out, and before long Carman found himself in Southern California visiting his sister Nancy, a woman of faith who was concerned about her brother and his lack of faith. It was during this visit that Nancy and her pastor husband, Joe, took Carman to a Disneyland concert featuring Andre Crouch where he made the decision to follow Jesus, a choice that has impacted the Kingdom of God for decades.

 

The rest is history. With 15 gold or platinum albums and over 10 million records sold, he is believed to have, on multiple occasions, set the record for the largest Christian concert in history, first in South Africa in 1993 (over 50,000) and then in Dallas in 1994 (71,000). Many either came to faith or grew in their faith as a result of the music and ministry of Carman. Aren’t you glad his sister worried about his faith and pushed him to attend a Christian concert 40 years ago? I am!

 

Rush: Quoting my friend Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff media, “Rush Limbaugh forever changed, and probably saved, AM radio, and is on the Mt. Rushmore of radio.” My friend, Wayne Kent from Direct Line in Decatur, shared, “There probably wouldn’t be Direct Line radio each week if not for the impact and legacy of Rush Limbaugh.” For over 30 years, millions listened each day to the EIB network. So many people loved Rush, and so many people hated Rush. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say very few people in my lifetime changed their culture more than Rush. The author of seven books, it is reported he made over $80 million a year to talk on the radio.

 

His life was certainly not perfect or without trouble. He saw three marriages end in divorce. He battled opioid drug addiction. He lost his hearing in 2001 but was able to continue for the next 20 years as a result of a cochlear implant. At times, he made statements and declarations that were difficult to hear and certainly not of the “love your neighbor as yourself” spirit, and yet in October of 2020 he spoke openly about his faith in Jesus Christ and how it sustained him in his battle with terminal lung cancer. Can I remind you that in the end all of the money earned and all of the accomplishments documented and even all of the hate from opponents really doesn’t make an eternal difference? Just one thing matters. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.

 

Mike: I arrived at First Christian Church in Moweaqua in the fall of 1991 fresh out of Bible College and hungry to do youth ministry full time. Looking back, to say I didn’t know anything would not be far from the truth, but what a good season of ministry! Our eight years in Moweaqua were such a blessing! I was married while serving in Moweaqua. Our daughter, Jordan, was born while serving in Moweaqua. To quote Bryan Adams, “Those were the best days of my life!”

 

One of my elders at Moweaqua was Mike Morris, a man who served the Lord in a variety of ways and was a regular worship leader at FCC following the death of my friend, Terry Maurer, in October of 1994. Mike always had a smile and was an encourager to Marla and me throughout our time in Moweaqua. It was awesome to watch his girls, Crystal and Tiffany, grow and develop on mission trips and CIY summer conference weeks. My heart breaks for this special family.

 

On Wednesday evening while driving back to Danville, I learned about Mike’s death after he spent weeks in the hospital, and I immediately remembered a time from the mid-90s when I think Mike saved me from myself. In fact, if he and one other elder had remained silent, I’m not sure I would still be in local church ministry today. Our church endured such a painful blow when we lost Terry, and there was a movement for some to move me from youth ministry to the position of Senior Minister. Even though I was just 25 years old, it was flattering and probably meant a larger salary and a nicer parsonage. I was getting pretty good at convincing myself “I” could make this work!

 

Mike and another elder named Gary stepped in, sat me down, and really questioned if this move was wise and of God. They forced me to be honest with myself and to think big picture. They helped me see what might be driving this push from others. In the end, it became obvious this was not a good idea and certainly was not God’s idea. Before long, our church called Mark and Michelle Weber to serve in late summer 1995, a move that forever changed Moweaqua FCC for the better in my humble opinion. I’m thankful for a friend like Mike Morris who spoke up with honesty and love and might have just saved me from untold pain and heartbreak!

 

David: I was blessed to serve on the board at the Clinton Community YMCA for most of my 13 years of ministry in Dewitt County, and one of the final actions I was a part of involved affirming the recommendation of CEO Rennie Cluver to hire David Torbert as our Youth Programming Director. I did not get to see up close and personal the impact David had, but the tributes pouring in following his death this week tell the story. Just 36 years old, David’s death reminds us nothing beyond today is promised. David’s life story of perseverance is encouraging, and my heartfelt condolences flow to his grieving family and the team at the Clinton Y.

 

Three quick lessons as I wrap up this week:

 

Lesson #1: LIFE is short. Make the most of today because we are not promised tomorrow! Do not put off for tomorrow what you believe God is calling you to do today!

 

Lesson #2: There is HOPE in Jesus. I’m so thankful that God so loved the world He gave his one and only Son that WHOEVER believes in him WILL NOT perish but WILL have eternal life!

 

Lesson #3: There is POWER in telling others about Jesus. Make the most of every opportunity! Embrace the ministry of reconciliation. Who is your ONE?

 

Have a great week, Second Church! Join us Sunday as we begin our six-week journey into Another Gospel!

 

GT

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings in the Next Gen Auditorium at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.  Join us!

 

2. We remain committed to online worship services each week as well! The livestream of Main Auditorium happens at 9:20 a.m. on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel and the livestream of the 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well on both Facebook and YouTube!

 

3.  929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the Gospel of John. Join us!

 

4.  Direct Line Danville radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I visited with Dale DeNeal from our staff at Second Church. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!

 

5.  Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. Unfortunately, there are no meals or transportation at this time. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!


6.  Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Next Gen auditorium. ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

february 5, 2021

We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the Direct Line Danville radio program. It is hard to believe we have 49 shows under our belts and will celebrate one year on Thursday, March 4! So many different people make DL happen week in and week out, from my co-host, Stephanie Spangler, to our technical guys (Ben Smith and Darrell Paddock and now Tobin Hess) to the crew at Neuhoff Media (Michelle Campbell, Tom Barnes, Ross Brown and Mike Hulvey). It takes so many, and I’m personally so thankful for each and every person named above!


We couldn’t do DL each week without the blessing of Second Church, and I continue to be incredibly thankful for our elders and their support of this program. We are also blessed with sponsors who financially partner with us to put DL on the radio: Dean and Gina Crandall (Morgan Stanley), The Darby Family (Sunset Funeral Homes), Bean and Shannon Hohn (Hohn’s Tank Wash), Bill and Mary Lou Knight (Lakewood Insurance), Chris and Daysha Robinson (Robinson Chiropractic), and Don and Deanna Witzel (McDonald’s of Vermilion County). We are thankful as well for past sponsor Eldon and Geri Wright! I am blessed by each and every one of these friends of Direct Line!


I wanted to take some time this week and let you know what is in the works in the weeks ahead for Direct Line radio and invite you to share suggestions and recommendations for our show. Direct Line exists to “look at the events of our world and especially our community through the lens of faith.”


Direct Line 2021 up to this point has brought interviews with Alisa Childers, author of the book Another Gospel (January 7), Dr. Mike Nichols from Lincoln Christian University and author of the book Short Life (January 14), Ryan Sowers from Covington, IN schools and Wallace Christian Church (January 21), DL sponsor Bean Hohn (January 21), Salt Fork School Superintendent Phil Cox (January 28) and former Second Church Youth Minister Danny Schaffner (February 4), now Lead Minister at my home church, First Christian Church, in Champaign. You can find past episodes of DL at www.vermilioncountryfirst.com/direct-line/.


Next week on February 11, thanks to DL sponsor Dean Crandall, Steph, Dean and myself will interview author Jerry Bowyer, who has written an excellent book, The Maker Versus the Takers. Some of the questions we will ask Jerry include: Was Jesus a socialist? What did Jesus actually teach about economics and government systems? What are some of the key takeaways for Christ followers from your book? Is the concept of biblical generosity compatible with socialism? Thank you again to Dean for making this interview become reality!


The last two weeks of February will bring conversations with Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff Communications, Tyler Russell from our staff at Second Church, and my friend, Cody Monkman, from the Neighborhood Care Center in Clinton, IL. Mike is no stranger to local media and was a part of the dream of Direct Line Danville literally from the beginning all the way back to the spring of 2019. One of the most upbeat and positive people I know, Mike’s interview on February 18 will be a must listen!


Tyler will be a return guest to DL and is a passionate advocate for mental health conversations as well as the importance of student ministry. The past year has brought so many challenges in both arenas, and we look forward to learning from Tyler on February 25! Also, on February 25th, my long-time ministry friend, Cody Monkman, will help us understand what is happening in the world of social service ministry and how the NCC in Clinton, IL is making a huge impact not far from here!


On March 4, the one-year anniversary of Direct Line, Steph and I will air an interview we recorded this week with Melissa Ohden from the Abortion Survivors Network and author of the book You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir. I first learned about Melissa’s story while watching the film The Divided Hearts of America and cannot wait for YOU to hear her almost unbelievable story! Melissa lives in Kansas City (Go, Chiefs!) and is on the front lines of the battle for LIFE, a battle that is near and dear to my heart!


Thank you for your support of Direct Line Danville! Please know that Steph and I would love to hear your feedback and recommendations!


NEW: Follow Direct Line Danville on Twitter @DanvilleLine and look for a SHOW PAGE to appear shortly for easy access to articles and Direct Line content!


Have a great week,


GT


Please make note of the following:


1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. We are now livestreaming our 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well! Masks are required, and we practice social distancing.


2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the gospel of John. Join us!


3. Direct Line Danville radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I visited with Danny Schaffner from Champaign FCC (former Second Church Youth Minister) and continued a new segment: cranky old man Greg and his words of wisdom. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!


4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!


5. Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Next Gen auditorium. ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!


Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!


GT

January 29, 2021

Last week, I took you back 48 years to 1973 and the landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade. This, of course, forever changed the issue of LIFE in the land of the free. Tomorrow is the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, although most will only be able to participate virtually. Never forget that every life matters!


This week, I want to take you back 35 years ago to this very week in January 1986. I was a junior in high school, and two events unfolded within a couple days of one another that impacted our country and our culture in powerful and even tragic ways. One involved a sports event and the other was a national tragedy. Both remain vivid memories that can remind us of important spiritual lessons as Christ followers.


The first event was Super Bowl XX where my Chicago Bears absolutely destroyed the New England Patriots 46-10 to win their first, and so far, only Super Bowl championship. Do you remember this team? Do you remember the Super Bowl Shuffle (if not, Google it)? The Bears were so much fun to watch and seemed to have what it takes to become a dynasty. That never happened.


At the time, I was working at K’s Merchandise Mart on North Mattis in Champaign, and I had to miss the beginning of the game due to work. I remember attempting to wrap up my cleaning duties while listening to my Walkman in the back of the store. I remember the joy of watching a Chicago team win a championship, something that had not happened since the 1961 Stanley Cup Finals. But one other thing sticks out, and it can only be described as heart-breaking: the team’s best player, and future Hall of Famer, Walter Payton was not happy at all!


How could this be? To win a Super Bowl title is the pinnacle of achievement for a football player, isn’t it? Surely it doesn’t get any better than this. Right? Payton was unhappy…that’s an understatement to say the least…that he didn’t personally score a touchdown. If you check the box score from 1-26-86, you will see multiple players did score touchdowns, from quarterback Jim McMahon to running back Matt Suhey to even defensive lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry. But no touchdown for “Sweetness,” the best running back to ever play the game (in my humble opinion). Walter Payton, in the aftermath of his greatness achievement in the sport of football, was a combination of angry and sad and bitter. Such a disappointing turn of events! Sadly, I see this reaction at times in the lives of Christ followers.


This Sunday in Main Auditorium, we will look at another parable from Jesus in Matthew 20:1-16, the Parable of the Vineyard Workers. This is a parable about the grace of God and is specifically poignant for long-time followers of Jesus, people like me and people like many of you, people who have been walking with Jesus for quite some time, for decades possibly, but somehow have lost the joy and happiness we should know in Christ. Some have referred to this as the “older brother” syndrome. If you have no idea what that is, join us on Sunday, February 14, as we study Jesus’ most famous parable, the parable of the Prodigal Son.


Super Bowl XX was both the best of times and the worst of times due to the hardness of the human heart! So, what is the lesson? As Christ followers, let us never forget what REALLY matters most, the incredible GRACE and MERCY of God our Father poured out for us in Jesus Christ His Son! If you find yourself angry or sad or even bitter because of COVID or politics or struggles in this life, keep your eye on the ball! Keep your focus on Jesus, our Savior, our HOPE!


The second event from the last week of January 1986 happened two days after Super Bowl XX, on Tuesday, January 28, when the Space Shuttle Challenger tragically exploded and all seven crew members (five astronauts and two payload specialist) on board were killed. For some reason, I was not at school that day, and I still remember watching the events unfold tragically on our TV. I still remember President Ronald Reagan speaking to the nation. I think it was the first time I remember how truly fragile and brief life can be.


Recently, Steph and I were blessed to interview my friend Dr. Mike Nichols from Lincoln Christian University about his recently completed book project during an episode of Direct Line Danville radio. Mike wrote Short Life under the conviction that not a one of us is promised tomorrow. It could be that someone reading this weekly blog will not live to read next week’s blog. That someone could be me! Our days are numbered, and our life is a gift from God!


What is lesson #2? What are you doing with the gift of your life? How are you living your life in a way to bring glory and honor to God, and also to tell others about the incredible blessing of relationship with Jesus? Mike’s book tells story after story of the difference a life lived well can make for the kingdom! Short Life is right. Let’s make the most of the time we have left!


Have a great week,


GT


Please make note of the following:


1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. We are now livestreaming our 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well! Masks are required, and we practice social distancing.


2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the gospel of John. Join us!


3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I visited with Phil Cox from Salt Fork schools and introduced a new segment: cranky old man Greg and his words of wisdom. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!


4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!


5. Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Next Gen auditorium. ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!


Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!


GT

January 22, 2021

Forty-eight years ago today is a day that will live in infamy. Over 60 million legal abortions have taken place in the land of the free since that fateful Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973. For much of my adult life, January 22 has been a day of personal sadness and mourning. I believe with all my heart that every life matters. I believe with all my heart that abortion is wrong. I believe with all my heart that history will judge our country poorly on the issue of LIFE. Sixty million lives lost.

 

Yet, as I type this blog, there is hope on the horizon. Many scholars and legal experts believe and are predicting Roe v. Wade will be soon be overturned. The three most recent additions to the United States Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, are seemingly on the side of LIFE. Add in long-time Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and it appears there is a pro-life majority on the highest court in the land! The number of legal abortions happening each year in our country is about half of what we witnessed three decades ago.

 

Last Sunday in Main Auditorium, I shared my passion for LIFE and my personal conviction that Christ followers should speak up and speak out for the cause of LIFE. I believe we are called to speak the truth in LOVE, but we are called to speak the truth. Following the message, I had someone comment to me how very discouraged I must be considering the positions of the incoming administration and the executive orders that are expected to happen in the first couple of days of the Biden reign. I stated that nothing could be further from the truth! Let me share with you just three reasons I am full of optimism on the issue of LIFE in America 2021.

 

#1 – I’m optimistic because of the excellent work of ministries like the Women’s Care Clinic that we see all over the country. We are so blessed to have the WCC here in Danville making a difference in the name of LIFE all over east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana. Lives are literally being saved regularly. Praise the Lord! I thank God regularly for the impact of Bethany Hager and the team at the WCC, but the WCC is doing so much more than preventing abortion!

 

One of the knocks on the pro-life movement is the belief that pro-lifers only care about the womb and are uninterested in what happens IF that baby is given the gift of LIFE. Nothing could be further from the truth for the WCC! The Bridges Program helps mothers choosing LIFE for years to come in so many meaningful ways. The WCC ministers to not only mothers but also to fathers. The post-abortive ministry is one of the most important in existence by helping women and men understand the truth of God’s grace. So much good is happening at the WCC right here in our community!

 

#2 – I’m optimistic because of the legacy of people like Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Joe Scheidler. As I shared on Sunday, Dr. Nathanson was one of the early champions of legal abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He stated he was responsible for over 75,000 abortions, including the abortion of his own child, and yet an unexpected shift took place in his life because of the science of LIFE in the womb revealed by a new invention: the ultrasound. Before long, this one-time abortion champion became a pro-life warrior and even helped in the production of the movie The Silent Scream in the 1980s. Amazingly, in December of 1996, former abortion doctor Bernard Nathanson became a Christ follower accepting the forgiveness of SIN found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ! The life and legacy of Dr. Bernard Nathanson is inspiring!

 

Joe Scheidler, considered the godfather of the pro-life movement, died this week at the age of 93. Founder of the Pro-Life Action League in 1980 and author of the 1985 book, Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, Scheidler was committed to telling the story of LIFE, one person at a time, usually on sidewalks in front of abortion clinics. The mighty National Organization of Women sued Scheidler under the US RICO Act and pushed this champion of LIFE to the verge of personal bankruptcy and ruin. Yet after decades of legal battles, the Supreme Court ruled multiple times in favor of Scheidler and for the cause of LIFE. His uncompromising commitment to the sanctity of human life has inspired generations and motivated many to take up the cause of LIFE! The life and legacy of Joe Scheidler is inspiring!

 

#3 – I’m optimistic because of a new generation of PRO-LIFE advocates rising up for such a time as this! So many names could be shared under this heading, but two come to mind: Abby Johnson and Benjamin Watson. Johnson was the former Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year who walked away from the abortion industry after witnessing an abortion and its impact. She told her story through the book, Unplanned, which was made into a movie, and details her shift from abortion-industry worker to pro-life mouthpiece. You can catch her podcast a couple times per week. I really love the title: Politely Rude with Abby Johnson. Good stuff!

 

Ben Watson is a former Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots who also is fighting for the cause of LIFE among other things. His 2020 movie, The Divided Hearts of America, develops his belief that abortion is tearing us apart as a country. It is such an excellent film in my opinion! Several from the Women’s Care Clinic and from Second Church previewed the movie this week, and we are working to bring this movie to Danville later in 2021. I’m thankful for pro-life people like Abby Johnson and Ben Watson who are stepping into the fight!

 

Here is my point, friends: Every. Life. Matters. I look forward to where we are heading on the issue of LIFE!

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. We are now livestreaming our 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well! Masks are required, and we practice social distancing.

 

2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the gospel of John. Join us!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I visited with Covington’s Ryan Sowers and DL sponsor Bean Hohn. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!

 

4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

5. Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Next Gen auditorium. ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

 

january 14, 2021

Sunday morning during my message on the life and impact of King Josiah of Judah, we studied the purging of the ungodly from the land as a major part of the king’s reforms. You can read all about it in 2 Kings 23. As the message concluded, I shared my personal decision to begin a 30-day fast from social media, which for me includes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I didn’t go into much detail at that point and want to use the blog this week to explain why I have arrived at this decision.

 

Back in September, I spent 5 days in Rhode Island visiting my daughter Jordan and my son-in-law Jacob. By the way, Jacob did such a great job preaching for us on Sunday December 27, didn’t he? Anyway, it had been 9 months since I spent any time in person with Jordan and sadly it had been over two years since visiting her on “her turf.” This was a great visit, and I was so thankful for the opportunity. I realized almost immediately how little television was being watched. I noticed Jordan almost never was checking her phone, and this was quite a change.

 

Jacob left on day 4 to attend a Seminary class in Kansas and the final two days it was just Jordan and me. That evening, we decided to watch the movie The Social Dilemma on Netflix, a docudrama that explores the impact of social media on our lives. The program really impacted me, and I felt like there were several connecting points with my life and my soul. Jordan shared with me her decision to get off all social media and how much better she felt. She mentioned how much less anxiety was present in her life. I remember going to bed that night wondering if this was the route for me?

 

On the flight home the next day, I began to think about all the reasons I needed to stay active on social media. I use social media for ministry purposes. I glean information from social media almost daily. I need to stay connected politically, especially on Twitter, with the upcoming election just five weeks away. The Cubs are in the playoffs (that didn’t last long). By the time my flight touched down in Indianapolis on that Tuesday in late September, I had convinced myself that abstaining from social media simply was not for me. I couldn’t afford such a decision. I might miss something. I might not “be in the know.”

 

Almost four months later, I regret this rationalization. Rarely over the past almost four months has social media brought me joy. Almost daily over the past four months I have found myself angry, frustrated, sad and even heartbroken while spending time (too much time) on social media. I have witnessed brothers and sisters in Christ really go after one another on social media over disagreements politically. Simply put, social media has NOT been good for MY soul much of the time!

 

Last Sunday I finally made the decision to abstain from social media for a season, for the most part. What does this mean?

 

#1 – I am OFF all social media until at least February 10. I am not checking or responding to messages, videos or links sent via Facebook messenger, and this might prove to be a permanent change in my life. I have deleted Twitter and Instagram from my phone. I am not checking Facebook posts or reading Facebook invitations. If you need to share something with me, please email at greg@secondchurch.com or call the office at 217-442-7306. Many of you have my mobile number and can text or call if needed.

 

#2 – I am still using Facebook for ministry purposes. I will still do 929 daily devotions when assigned, I will still link Sunday online services, and I will still promote and inform related

to Direct Line radio, my weekly blog, Celebrate Recovery and the Oasis Bible Study. I am NOT checking comments and responses, however. If you link me to other Facebook posts, I will not see them or respond to them.

 

#3 – This decision is an individual one, and by no means am I calling anyone else to respond as I have. I still very much believe social media can be a positive for Christ Followers. But it can also have extreme negative consequences, especially in the midst of the turmoil our country is facing. For those Christ Followers on social media, can I encourage you to be wise in what you post and how you respond to others? If you are someone that is heartbroken and distraught over the events in our country politically, and many of you feel exactly that way, understand an intense post that is full of wrath and anger might make you feel better temporarily, but it will not further the Kingdom. If you are rejoicing and celebrating over the events in our country politically, and some of you feel exactly that way, “spiking the football” in the face of others might make you feel better temporarily, but it will not further the Kingdom. Advice? Think Kingdom before you post.

 

#4 – My personal hope in this 30-day journey is to spend much more time in God’s word. I hope to get back into a rhythm of practicing silence and solitude almost daily. I am excited to spend more time reading and listening to podcasts. This week I have begun reading Rod Dreher’s book, Live Not By Lies, and I am listening daily to a new podcast (at least new to me) The World and Everything In It. I continue to be thankful for the daily Break Point podcasts from the Colson Center. Four days into this fast has certainly been good for my soul!

 

Much of this decision revolves around the teaching of the Apostle Paul to the Christians at Philippi where he writes this encouragement in chapter four: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) My personal goal for the next month is to do just this!

 

Keep the faith, my friends. Jesus is Savior. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is our only HOPE! That is good news.

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. We are now livestreaming our 10:45 a.m. Next Gen service each week as well! Masks are required, and we practice social distancing.

 

2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. We continue our journey through the Gospel of John. Join us!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, I had the opportunity to interview my friend Dr. Mike Nichols from Lincoln Christian University, author of the book Short Life. Mike has written a great book, and if you would like a copy, just let me know. Check out the replay of Direct Line this week!

 

4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

5. Oasis Bible Study is back on Tuesday mornings at 10am in the Next Gen auditorium: ALL are welcome to attend! We are studying the book of 1 Peter. Join us on Tuesday mornings!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

January 7, 2020

Happy New Year, my friends! What a start to 2021 we have experienced! Ice. Snow. Word that our governor (in Illinois) has extended mask and social distance mandates until June. Runoff elections in Georgia. Chaos in the Capitol. Aren’t you glad that 2021 has made such a difference? What a discouraging and disheartening start to the New Year!

 

I made the mistake on Wednesday evening of spending about an hour scrolling through social media. I didn’t feel any better 60 minutes later. It certainly was not good for my soul. Frankly, I find myself coming closer and closer to following in my daughter Jordan’s footsteps and walking away from social media altogether.

 

Many of you know I am currently in quarantine. Today is day 11 for Marla and me. Thankfully neither of us has experienced a single symptom the past week and a half! I cannot wait for Saturday to arrive! I miss the relational connection with others and the blessings of going and doing whatever I want to do when I desire. It’s the small things, my friends!

 

This week, I want to speak words of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT, but frankly my personal tank is nearing empty. I don’t have any personal illustrations to give this morning. I don’t have any great personal words of wisdom. So where do we turn?

 

Obviously, there is no better source than the truth of God’s Word. I pray you find HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT in the following . . .

 

      Jesus reminded us we are called to be SALT and LIGHT.

 

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.

 

How are you “seasoning” in the name of Jesus? How is your spiritual light “shining” in the name of Jesus? How can we be voices of HOPE in a country that is in chaos? If you are a Christ follower, your ultimate HOPE is in Jesus Christ, not a political party, not a politician, not a modern-day movement. Be Salt. Be Light.

 

      Paul shared the following words of encouragement with the Christ followers in Philippi: embrace JOY, PEACE and EXCELLENCE.

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

 

Are you anxious or worried or discouraged? Paul tells us exactly what we are called to do as Christ followers: REJOICE! Allow God’s PEACE to guide us! Focus on the good and noble, not the ugly and heartbreaking. Maybe the answer is to disconnect for a while from the negative and discouraging and connect with the truth that our currently reality is not our eternal reality, IF Jesus is our Savior and Lord! I love the call in this text: Put it into practice.

 

      Peter reminded first-century Christ followers of how we should engage with culture and those in power. Remember, Peter writes this during a time of oppression and persecution against Christians by Rome. Hear these words from the apostle Peter written not long before his martyrdom:

 

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:11-17

 

This world is not my home. Live such good lives among others. Do good to silence ignorant talk. Show proper respect to all. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ (regardless of where they land politically).

 

      Jesus himself prayed for UNITY and TRUTH in John 17. Hear this prayer of Jesus:

 

Sanctify them by truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.” John 17:17-23

 

The heartbeat of Jesus was simple: the UNITY of all believers! I pray Christ followers will rise up in the name of Jesus, and no one else, in the days and weeks ahead and live out these words of Jesus!

 

Keep the faith, my friends. Jesus is Savior. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is our only HOPE! That is good news.

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Beginning this Sunday January 10, we will add a 10:45 a.m. livestream of our Next Gen service! Masks are required, and we practice social distancing.

 

2. This Sunday is Next Gen worship minister Adam Singley’s final Sunday with us at Second Church before he and his family relocate to the Peoria area. Would you consider a card and possibly a gift to thank him for 7 years of service to our church?

 

3. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. Join us!

 

4. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com. This week, Steph and I interviewed Alisa Childers, author of the book Another Gospel. Check out the replay!

 

5. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

 

December 31, 2020

Today is the last day of 2020! Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! What a year it has proved to be! As I sit in my kitchen drinking coffee while everyone else in the house sleeps, I can’t help but reflect on this year, and how very different it turned out to be from where my mind was one year ago today. Yet through it all, God has proved faithful! This week, I want to reflect on 2020, and share some thoughts on four major issues we faced this year:

 

#1 – 2020 will be remembered as a year of COVID-19 craziness, disruptions and death.

 

Remember back to that Friday in March when shelter-in-place was announced, and we were told we were simply going to “bend the curve” for a couple of weeks? Not exactly how things unfolded as we look back nine and a half months later. So much disruption. So many were infected. So many of us lost loved ones. What a hard year 2020 has proved to be!

 

I think most tragic of all is how we have treated one another this year. Just personally, I have people that love Jesus that have questions MY faith on both sides of the Covid-19 equation. I have been rebuked for wearing a mask and for not wearing a mask. I have told I am foolish for supporting in person worship services and I have been told I have no faith because we require masks during in person worship services. It is not even safe to post pictures on social media without rebukes coming from both sides of the Covid-19 divide. This reality truly breaks my heart.

 

Suggestion: Let’s make an effort in 2021 as Christ Followers to let grace and mercy flow in our relationships with others, even when we disagree with them on masks, shut-downs or other Covid-19 realities. Let’s embrace the second greatest command according to Jesus, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

 

#2 – 2020 will be remembered as a year where the continued problem of RACISM impacted our country and our church.

 

Marla and I snuck away in late May for a week in the mountains of Tennessee. We didn’t announce the trip (wonder why?) and we didn’t share any pictures on social media (wow was that difficult for me!). We pretty locked down in our cabin and spent our time hiking in solitude in the Smokies. Our cabin didn’t have cable or satellite, just a couple of streaming services. As a result, I didn’t watch the new for four straight days, completely missing the first several days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This week would prove to change our country in ways we never imagined.

 

This tragedy brought to light the long-standing problem of RACISM in our country. It forced Christian leaders to speak into this issue and look for avenues to bring change. Many in our country began to promote ideas like Critical Race Theory as the solution to this problem. We hosted a forum on Race and the Church in mid-June, and multiple events happened in our community in the summer to allow Christian leaders to speak into this ongoing problem. Steph and I were blessed to spend an afternoon with three of our members at Second Church: Pat Brownfield, Brenda Brown and R J Davis. This was certainly a highlight of 2020 for me personally! Thank you, Pat, Brenda and RJ!

 

I recently had someone ask me how long we will continue to mention racism in sermons and lessons and blogs? My answer probably sounded somewhat flippant: “as long as racism continues to be a problem.” Here is a biblical reality to never lose sight of: God HATES racism. Period. End of statement. It must end, and my opinion is the ultimate solution to the problem is not CRT, but Jesus Christ!

 

Suggestion: Step outside your comfort zone and build relationships with others. When racism rears its ugly head, call it out, don’t dismiss it. Let’s live this truth from the Apostle Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

 

#3 – 2020 will be remembered as a year of ever increasing POLITICIAL DIVISIONS, even within the church.

 

I could write 10 pages on what I have seen and heard this year related to politics and the negative impact it has had on the church. I know Christian people that believe Donald Trump is the only hope for our country and I know Christian people that believe Donald Trump is literally the anti-Christ. I know Christian people that believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are exactly what our country needs to overcome so many of our problems, and I know Christian people that believe Biden and Harris are leading us down a path of no return to socialism and destruction. What a year!

 

Most troubling of all, however, is the way Christ Followers have attacks and rebuked fellow Christ Followers BECAUSE of who they passionately support politically. I personally believe the longest lasting collateral damage of 2020 will be relationships that were forever changed because of political disagreements. Social media was the engine that fueled so much harsh and even at times hateful rhetoric this year. It is truly tragic for the church.

 

Suggestion: If you are someone that finds yourself in relational discord with a sister or brother in Christ because of political disagreement this year, can I implore you to reach out and pursue reconciliation. Please do this, for the sake of the church and the cause of Jesus Christ! I love what the Apostle Paul taught the Christians at Colossae: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

 

#4 – 2020 will be remembered as another year of MORAL FAILURE by some of the highest profile Christian leaders in the land.

 

This year brought the fall of the president of the largest Christian university in our country and the preacher of one of New York City’s largest churches due to inappropriate immoral behavior. This year saw one of my personal favorite preachers forced out of ministry due to an unwise and possibly unsafe response to the behavior of a family member in the church he was called to lead. Just last week, we learned about the immoral actions of one of our greatest Christian apologists in last quarter century, months after his death. I could go on and on, sadly, but I will not. To a world that is already skeptical of Christians and especially Christian leaders, these failures (and so many more) are literally fuel for the fire to discredit the Christian faith. I believe this breaks the very heart of God.

 

Yet when we read the Bible, we are reminded this is really nothing new. Think about some of the great heroes of the faith in the Bible and consider how broken most of these men and women were. I am by no means dismissing moral failure, but instead reminding us to make sure we place our trust in someone that will never fail us!

 

Suggestion: Make sure you are putting your ultimate FAITH and HOPE in Jesus Christ, and on one else. As we wrap up 2020 and move into the new year, the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21 rings true: “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream of Main Auditorium happens on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Beginning January 10, we will add a 10:45 a.m. livestream of our Next Gen service! Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. Join us!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

December 17, 2020

To say I love the Christmas hymns would be an understatement. I also very much love to know the story behind the hymns of faith. Knowing the context and story behind Christian songs like “Amazing Grace” by John Newton and “It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Spafford brings increased meaning, at least for me. Last Christmas, we looked at four different Christmas hymns and the stories behind each musical work. This week, I want to tell you the story of one of the lesser-known Christmas songs that might just bring some encouragement during this discouraging year of 2020. Special thanks to my friend and fellow minister, Kiley Garrison, for helping me better understand the story of this song!

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is considered by many to be the greatest American poet of the nineteenth century. His accomplishments were many including serving as professor of literature for Harvard University, but Longfellow also dealt with much tragedy and heartbreak in life. His first wife, Mary, died following a miscarriage in 1835, and his second wife, Fannie, passed away in 1861 after accidently setting herself on fire while the great poet slept. At the age of 54, Henry was a widower left to raise his six children alone.

 

Two years later in March of 1863, without his knowledge, his oldest child Charley, just 17 years old, ran away from home and joined President Lincoln’s union army. By all accounts the young Longfellow served his country with honor and showed his perseverance by returning to his unit in the early fall of 1863 after recovering from a summer fraught with typhoid fever and malaria. He missed the Battle of Gettysburg but was back in fighting form in late November for the battle of New Hope Church in Virginia.

 

The senior Longfellow was dining alone at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 1, when he received a telegram stating Charley had been severely wounded in battle and would be eventually taken to a hospital in Washington D.C. The report stated the bullet traveled across the young soldier’s back, and he missed paralysis by half an inch. Immediately, Henry and his son, Ernest, left for Washington D.C. to be with Charley, and within a week they were able to bring him back to the Boston area to recover at home. For weeks Henry sat by his oldest child’s side doing everything possible to help his son heal from his combat wounds. His recovery would take months.

 

On Friday, December 25, Christmas morning, Longfellow put into words the meditation of his heart as he listened while the bells at the church at Cambridge ring out. It is remarkable the struggle this widower and father must have felt as he considered the blessing of “peace on earth” in the midst of such personal tragedy while the Civil War raged on. Entitled “Christmas Bells,” here is the entire text from 1863:

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

And thought how, as the day had come

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along, the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

Till ringing, singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South

And with the sound the carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent

And made forlorn the households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

And in despair I bowed my head

“There is no peace on earth,” I said

“For hate is strong, and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

Put to music within a decade, the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” cannot truly be appreciated without the context of the mid-1860’s in war-torn America and the sting of personal pain and loss. You can hear the discouragement as the poet writes, “And in despair I bowed my head. ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said. ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!’” Maybe you feel this reality in America 2020. Hate is certainly all around us. Maybe you wonder if peace is even a possibility? If this is you, do NOT stop singing the song yet! The best is yet to come!

 

I truly love how the poem and song concludes with Henry allowing the song of the bells to remind him, “God is not dead, nor does he sleep!” What an important reminder that our God is alive and well and he is not surprised by anything that has unfolded! I’m sure encouraged by the truth that, “The wrong shall fail and the right prevail!” Bottom line? We KNOW how the battle of this world ends for followers of Jesus!

 

So be encouraged Second Church! God is NOT dead, and he is NOT asleep! Thank you, God, for the blessing of Immanuel, God with us! Thank you, God, for Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Thank you, God, as the song “Joy to the World” reminds us, that this same Jesus is coming again! Come, Lord Jesus, come!

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. Christmas Eve 2020 at Second Church will be an ONLINE-ONLY service this year with livestream at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. You will be able to access both services following the livestream launch throughout the evening.

 

3. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week we study from Matthew, chapters 1 and 2, the accounts of Joseph, the Magi, and Herod, as well as from Revelation 12 on Friday.

 

4. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we are blessed to welcome Bethany Hager from the Women’s Care Clinic to DL! Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

5. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

december 9, 2020

“The answer is, ‘No!’ You are just going to have to trust me on this one.” Those were absolutely not the words I was looking for 40 years ago when I was trying to convince my dad to let me join a certain Boy Scout troop. This troop was legendary, the supposed place to be if you wanted to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. This so-called “Eagle factory” was led by a Scout Master who was also the talk of the town. Many of my friends were already signed up.

 

Yet my dad was steadfast. And one thing about big Jim Taylor was clear. He rarely changed his mind. I remember thinking how truly unfair all of this was. Didn’t my dad realize how much I really wanted this to happen? Didn’t my dad realize the embarrassment I was going to face? I won’t type all of the thoughts I was thinking at the time, but needless to say, commandment #5 to honor your father was not one of them!

 

I ended up instead joining Troop 13, had a great experience through the years, and still, somehow, attained the rank of Eagle Scout. I had some great leaders to follow in Troop 13, men like our Troop Master Smitty (Gerald Smith) and Tom Clegg. My dad ended up being an Assistant Scout Master, and we had a lot of great memories with lots of father/son time together for which I am forever grateful. I still actually have my Boy Scout uniform, but there is no chance I’m getting it to fit anytime soon! Whole 30 wouldn’t even matter at this point! Good days from so long ago…

 

Why I am reminiscing about something that happened four decades ago? In full disclosure, I had not really thought about my Boy Scout days in years, but last week, the leader of legendary Boy Scout Troop, now 80 years old, was sentenced to 6-½ years in prison on child pornography charges, and during the sentencing phase of the trial, three former Boy Scouts testified to abuse they endured from this leader. Quoting from my hometown newspaper, the judge in the case “expressed his concern that this leader had used the Boy Scouts to access and groom young men to cause permanent harm and that he finds it hard to believe that there were only several victims.” Tragic. Heartbreaking. Infuriating. Simply wrong on every level.

 

As I read this article last Thursday in my office, tears began to flow as I thought about my dad and that time 40 years ago when I didn’t even want to talk to him because I didn’t get what I wanted! My father really did know best! I wondered to myself, “Did my dad know what was happening with this leader or was it just a hunch?” Regardless, one reality is abundantly clear. My dad was right with this decision, and he didn’t really care how much I pouted or gave him the silent treatment, and I’m so thankful! I was convinced what I wanted was best for me, and thankfully my dad intervened because he loved me and cared for me. My dad was being my dad!

 

MLK Day next month will mark 11 years without my dad. What I wouldn’t give for the chance to call him one more time and thank him for being my dad! So, listen up for minute, please. Fathers, you have such an important role in the lives of your children. Do not ever apologize for being dad first and foremost even when your children don’t appreciate it. Children, sometimes (maybe most of the time) fathers really do know best, so cut dad some slack if you think he is being too strict or tough or simply doesn’t understand.

 

Let me close with some words from the apostle Paul to the Christ followers at the church at Ephesus: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ – which is the first commandment with a promise – ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. Christmas Eve 2020 at Second Church will be an ONLINE ONLY service this year with livestream at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. You will be able to access both services following the livestream launch throughout the evening.

 

3.  929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week we study from Luke chapter one and the accounts of Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah.

 

4. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we are blessed to welcome my good friend Jeff Mayfield from LeRoy Christian Church to DL! Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

5. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

december 2, 2020

It happened in a flash! Just like that we moved from the turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie of Thanksgiving weekend into the season of Advent! In fact, Christmas Eve is just 22 days from today as I type! I love to walk early in the mornings through the streets of my neighborhood, and it seems like every day there are new Christmas lights and decorations to call attention to the season. This coronavirus year of 2020 will certainly be different for so many, but nonetheless, Christmastime is here!

 

I mentioned earlier we have entered into the season of Advent. What exactly does this mean? Even more specifically, what should this season bring for followers of Jesus Christ? The season of Advent, in a most basic definition, describes the anticipation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated as you know on December 25 each year. This word, Advent, comes from the Latin word adventus, which literally means “coming.” Historically, there are four Sundays within the Christian calendar each year that lead up to Christmas replicating annually the centuries-long anticipation of a Messiah, a Savior, the Christ. Christmastime should always be a season of anticipation.

 

This week on the 929 Daily Word, we are looking at the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah, and the prophecies made about Jesus hundreds of years before his birth. This month in Main Auditorium during our sermon time, we will explore the Christmas narrative from Matthew, chapters 1 and 2, and Luke, chapters 1 and 2. The temptation for life-long church goers is to look at December each year through the lens of “been there, done that.” Can I give you the same challenge I shared with the Oasis Bible study group this week? Approach Advent this year with an open heart and an open mind and begin to anticipate the celebration of the incarnation, the miracle of Immanuel, “God with us.”

 

Let me share with you the words of the second verse of the great Christmas hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” a song that teaches us so much theologically about Jesus and the difference the incarnation truly makes:

Christ by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord!

Late in time behold Him come, offspring of a Virgin's womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see! Hail the incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.

Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"

What powerful words! What a great reminder of Jesus our Immanuel! May we as a church set aside fear and worry this month and embrace Advent! May we as a church read the words of the Gospels with fresh eyes and open hearts! May we as a church celebrate the miracle of Immanuel, God with us!

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. Christmas Eve 2020 at Second Church will be an ONLINE ONLY service this year with livestream at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. You will be able to access both services following the livestream launch throughout the evening.

 

3. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a 10-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week we study five of the messianic prophesies from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah.

 

4. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we are blessed to interview and learn much about COVID-19 from Dr. Finny Kuruvilla of Eventide. Huge thanks to our own Dean Crandall for making this interview happen! Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

5. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups with adults only at this point. There are no meals or transportation at this time, unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

 

NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving week, my friends! Even, maybe especially, during this crazy year of 2020, I find myself overflowing with thankfulness for the blessings of this life! Let me share this week about an encounter in the gospel of Luke where two very different people interacted with Jesus in two very different manners and in the process taught all of us a lesson about two very different attitudes: gratitude and arrogance.

 

Luke 7:36-50 – Jesus anointed by a sinful woman: “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him. He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them.

 

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said. ‘Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’ ‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.

 

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”

 

I am really moved by this account in Luke 7, and I believe it teaches each of us a couple of lessons that are especially helpful during Thanksgiving week.

 

Lesson #1: Luke 7 shows us the CONTRAST of the two different kinds of people seeking Jesus.

 

Person #1: The Pharisee Simon. This religious leader and people like him might be considered the ideal type of lay religious leaders of the day. They knew the law literally inside and out. Their daily routine involved religious activities. They were always busy and active DOING religious things. It is very likely that one of the reasons Simon the Pharisee wanted to know more about Jesus was not to become a disciple but rather to “teach the teacher.” Understand that one of the things religious people of the day would do was host a time of teaching for the educated where they would leave the door to the house open so that others (the uninvited and the seemingly unworthy) could gather close and listen. Simon the Pharisee appears to have it all together.

 

Person #2: The Sinful Woman. More than likely this sinful woman had encountered two different types of men in her life: those who used her for her body and those who judged her for her lifestyle. It is not difficult to imagine she was desperate for HOPE and longing for a Savior. The weight and burden of her sin must have been overwhelming. She was willing to do the unthinkable. She just didn’t care any longer. She needed to worship Jesus no matter what.


It begs the question of what kind of person are you? Who do you resonate with the most in this passage from Luke 7? As you get ready to eat some turkey and watch some football on Thursday, do you find yourself being thankful that you are not like others and you seemingly have your life all put together, or do you find yourself so very thankful that Jesus died on the cross for YOUR sins, grateful beyond words for a Savior?

 

Lesson #2: Luke 7 uncovers the DANGER of Smugness and Self-Righteousness.

 

Many of you are like me. You have been around the church and around the faith and around Jesus much or maybe most of your life. That is good, and it can be dangerous. I’ll only speak about myself. I have to make sure I don’t allow myself to become Simon the Pharisee. What does that mean? Someone full of smugness and self-righteousness. Someone overly confident in his spiritual life. Someone that mutters under his breath “I’m sure glad I’m not like him or her.”

 

Here is the point: We are ALL sinners in need of a Savior! Some of the very last words the apostle Paul wrote were to his young son of the faith, Titus, where he said, “God saved us, NOT because of righteous things we had done, but because of his MERCY.” (Titus 3:4-5) God’s mercy is the reason we are saved from the pain and sting of sin! Aren’t you thankful?

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1.  We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2.  929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional.

 

3.  Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Celebrate Recovery is meeting EACH Tuesday evening from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. for large group and share groups, adults only at this point. No meals or transportation at this time unfortunately. Join us as we all work together to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits in the name of Jesus!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! Enjoy Thanksgiving this week! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

november 17, 2020

I have a been a part of the Christian Church/Church of Christ my entire life, growing up at nearby First Christian Church in Champaign. Our fellowship of churches, part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, is not a denomination and has no official hierarchy. Unlike most in the Protestant world, each Christian Church/Church of Christ is independent and autonomous.

 

For the last several decades, however, two annual conventions served as both fellowship-wide gatherings and a visual reminder of the impact of our churches on our country and our world. The two gatherings were the North American Christian Convention and the National Missionary Convention. Sadly, the NACC ceased to exist a couple of years ago and transitioned to a church leadership event under a new name, the Spire Conference. I would like to attend Spire at some point in the future.

 

This leaves only the NMC, which several years ago changed its name to the International Conference on Missions, or ICOM. Held each November, ICOM moves from location to location annually and brings together leaders from churches and missions literally all over the world. ICOM 2020 is THIS Friday and Saturday and will be held in nearby Indianapolis. In fact, ICOM is never closer to Second Church than when it takes place in central Indiana, although Peoria, IL, is another host site which it is pretty close as well.

 

ICOM is one of the few conventions and gatherings that is still happening in the crazy COVID-19 year of 2020, and the leadership of ICOM has created a “best of both worlds” reality for churches and missions. Both on-site and virtual registration is available this year. Best news of all? ICOM offered all-church registrations, and Second Church has selected this option meaning YOU can attend this weekend and your registration cost is already paid for. That’s right, YOU can attend for FREE!

 

While it is possible to attend ICOM in person, very little is actually happening live this weekend, and I would discourage this option. If you are passionate about attending ICOM in person this week, please reach out to me privately and I’ll walk you through the process. greg@secondchurch.com.

 

I would love to see many of you register to attend ICOM 2020 virtually. Here is the process:

 

      Visit https://theicom.org/register/attendees/

      Select “virtual”

      Select the 2-day conference pass for $40

      Enter this code: virtual2020

      Complete the registration by clicking “register.” You will receive a confirmation email to your chosen email address.

 

If you have any problems with virtual registration, please reach out to me or Tonya Ward in our church office (217-442-7306). Please consider making the most of this opportunity!

 

Don’t forget this Sunday continues our annual tradition of receiving our above-and-beyond-tithes-and-gifts Thanksgiving offering. I am so thankful for two great Christian ministries we can bless this year! Both Hanging Rock Christian Camp and the soon-to-be-planted Beacon Church will be blessed by Second Church this year!

 

Hanging Rock Christian Camp, like all youth organizations, has been unable to provide youth programming for much of 2020. Thank you to Gary Baker and the team at HRCC for all they do! My good friend, Adam Brucker, and his family have relocated to New England and are part of the church-planting team for Beacon Church in Derry, NH, through Restoration House Ministries, one of our monthly mission partners. They are on the ground making a difference. In fact, Adam was "caught" by the local newspaper serving in a local soup kitchen this week!

 

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued generosity during this crazy year, and please consider a generous gift for our 2020 Thanksgiving Offering!

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1.             We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2.             929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional.

 

3.             Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4.             Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

       Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Don’t forget about the Oasis Thanksgiving Bash on Tuesday morning November 24 at 10:00 a.m. – ALL are invited to join us LIVE or ONLINE!

 

       Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Hallelujah Hall.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

November 11, 2020

This week, I want to do something a little different. I want to take my weekly blog and ponder the following question. “What can the church learn from Veterans?”  Today is Veteran’s Day, and I believe it also appropriate to express thanksgiving to the women and men who are and have served our country in the armed forces. The reality is this: Freedom is not free! With this as a context, let’s look at four truths about veterans and what people of faith can learn from these modern-day heroes.

 

First, veterans are unconditionally committed to their military service and the cause they undertake.

 

When someone enlists in the Army or the Navy or the Air Force or the Marines, they are not just signing up for occasional service to their country. They are not just agreeing to serve when it is convenient for them. They are not stating a willingness to bear arms when they like the assignment or they personally agree politically with everything that is happening or being demanded of them. No, they are unconditionally committing to the military, to their brothers and sisters in arms, and to the country they are defending.

 

I’ve had the opportunity to interact with several individuals who are currently or have recently served in both the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Do you know what has never happened - not even once?  I’ve never heard them bash the country or bash the cause.  I’ve heard nothing but a strong commitment to serve their country proudly. I’ve also had the opportunity to share with individuals who have previously served their country in various conflicts from various times in our country’s history, and, again, the same thing, a very strong commitment to their service and an incredible love for their country to this day.

 

What can the church learn from veterans?  The Church should embrace the concept of being SOLD OUT for the cause of Christ.

 

Too many Christians fall into the trap of the “club” mentality. Do you know what I mean?  The idea is that I belong to the church and I’ll give some money and do some service, but church is just a simple part of their life. There is not an unconditional commitment to the cause of Christ. The “club” concept seems great. It seems safe. It seems very do-able.  There’s just one simple problem: it’s not biblical.  Contrast the “club” concept with the answer Jesus gave to one of the teachers of the law when asked about the greatest of all the commandments:

 

The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  There is no commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31)

 

Sold-out Christianity 101 could be the tag phrase introducing these verses. Unconditional commitment to Lord is the call of Jesus here in Mark chapter 12.

 

Secondly, veterans’ lives are changed forever after serving their country.

 

A second fact is really an obvious one. A veteran’s life is changed forever after serving his or her country, and there are both positive and not-so-positive aspects to that statement. Some veterans pay the ultimate price for their service. They pay with their lives. Others are changed physically forever, and many, many more come home changed emotionally. Most of us who have not served in conflict cannot say, “We know what you are going through.” These veterans are changed forever. Even veterans who are blessed to avoid scars of any kind are still very much changed forever. Their lives will always be different.

 

What can the church learn from veterans?  The Church should embrace the words of Christ to “take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.”

 

So much of life today is all about saving our lives. Think about this for minute. Parents, we teach our children how to stay safe, and we make sure they don’t touch things that are hot. We make sure they don’t ingest things that can harm. We make sure they look both ways when they cross the street or ride their bikes. We hammer home the concept of safety, and we should.

 

What about adults? How many times have you been told to either not eat or drink something or to eat or drink something because of health?  We are encouraged to either stop or start activities to sustain life, and that is good, but listen to these words of Jesus from Luke 9: “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23)

 

What is Jesus really saying?  It’s pretty simple. He is calling you to die. Jesus is saying, “If you are a disciple, your life will never be the same again! If you are a Christ follower, your life should be changed forever.”

           

Thirdly, veterans enjoy and embrace a community of encouragement like almost none other.

 

Another fact I don’t think anyone could dispute involves the incredible community of encouragement and support within the veteran community. The VFW. The American Legion. These are communities of encouragement and support for their own. When the unthinkable happens, when someone serving their country dies in conflict, we see what quality community looks like. We see love and encouragement in action in powerful and poignant ways.

 

What can the church learn from veterans?  The Church should practice and promote Christian community.

 

Christians need an Acts 2 kind of community, a place where we bear one another’s burdens and where we truly experience Christian community in action.

And let me say this. It is difficult to do this well in a church the size of Second Church. We do our best, but it is difficult. More than ever during the crazy COVID year of 2020, Christian community is a necessity!

 

Listen to how Peter encouraged first-century Christians to practice Christian community: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:8-11)

 

Did you read Peter’s practical encouragement? Love one another deeply. Offer hospitality without grumbling. Use whatever gift you have. Administer God’s grace. What is this a picture of? Christian community in action!

 

Finally, veterans understand every role in the military is an important and needed position of service.

 

Not every person serving in the military will be a member of the Special Forces unit, but every role in the military is an important role, a needed role.  Each position and area of service is required for success to be achieved. From cooks to maintenance techs to chaplains to intelligence officers, I could go on and on, but every role is needed to achieve victory and success in battle.

 

What can the church learn from veterans?  The Church should practice and promote Every Member Ministry.

 

If you have worshipped with us at Second Church for very long, you have heard this concept of Every Member Ministry. It should not be new to you. Every role is needed, and every ministry is important.  This is something veterans have modeled well, and we as a church can learn from them. Ministries at Second Church are making a difference and impacting lives for Christ.

 

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:4-8)

 

Do you hear it from the apostle Paul?  He is saying, “Whatever you can do you should do it for the Lord.”  Do it in such a way that it makes a difference - an eternal difference.

 

Bottom line: The temptation on Veterans Day is to simply say, “Thank you.” It is always appropriate to say, “Thank you,” and while we say, “Thank you,” we also strive to learn lessons from our heroes that help us better fulfill our purpose as a church!

 

Please make note of the following:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2.  929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional.

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

       Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Hallelujah Hall.

 

       Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

November 5, 2020

I love the fall each year, and it might actually be my favorite season of the year. I love the cooler weather (although this week has given us warmer than usual temperatures) and the changing colors and always look forward to the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I can almost taste my mom’s cornbread sausage dressing! Yum! There is much to like about the fall season in my opinion.

 

However, on the other side of the proverbial coin, I am certainly not a fan of time change weekend that brings darkness by 5:00 p.m. Each day this month will bring less daylight leading us to the Winter Solstice on December 21, and that doesn’t bring joy either. And the leaves… What about all those leaves? My backyard is full of them as I type! I guess when I think about it, there are several things about the fall season I’m really not thrilled with.

 

Isn’t that how life is? Some good and some not so good. I don’t know anyone that lives the “100% all is great all of the time” life, do you? I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who defines the opposite either, the “nothing in life is ever a positive” crowd, although I do know a couple who live in that neighborhood sadly.

 

As Christ followers, what should we do when we find ourselves journeying through life and encountering both positive and negative realities? Should we choose to find the positive and celebrate, giving God all the glory? Absolutely! Should we just pretend the negative is nowhere to be found and play the “fine” game? Not exactly! I like what the apostle Paul wrote the first-century Christ followers in Philippi:

 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

(Philippians 4:4-9)

 

Encouraging words for cup-half-full (or cup-half-empty) days! Let me remind us during the good and the bad to remember the following:

 

First, Christ followers are called to live the life of joy. We are called to rejoice IN the Lord, always. No matter who wins the election. No matter what restrictions we might be facing. No matter what. How is your JOY-meter today? Are you living the life of JOY? If not, why not?

 

Secondly, Christ followers are called to avoid being ANXIOUS about anything and instead turn to the Lord IN everything. What has you worried or discouraged or anxious? Give it to the Lord! Peter put it best late in his life in 1 Peter 5:7. “Cast all your anxiety on the Lord because he cares for you.” Give it up, my friend, and give it to God!

 

Thirdly, Christ followers are promised that God’s PEACE will guard our hearts and our minds in Jesus Christ. Do you believe this? Are you allowing this to happen? I love the bumper sticker that reads: KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE. NO JESUS, NO PEACE. It probably seems almost too simplistic. Maybe that’s the point. Let God’s PEACE invade your heart and your mind.

 

Finally, Christ followers are called to seek HIGHER ground. I really love verse 8 in this text, where Paul says to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Does that describe your social media feed the past 72 hours? Does that describe your television viewing the past 72 hours? Personally, I’ve scrolled on Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve watched a ton of Fox News and MSNBC the last three days, and I’m not sure I would say those descriptions in verse 8 are playing out on social media or cable news. Maybe it’s time to unplug and disconnect, at least for a while, and focus on what is excellent and uplifting, not what is divisive and discouraging.

 

The bottom line is this, my friends. Jesus is Savior. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is our only HOPE! Let’s never forget that, no matter what!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

       Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Hallelujah Hall.

 

       Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

October 28, 2020

This Saturday is October 31, and it is historically a most important day. No, I’m not referring to Halloween, although I do miss the days of raiding my kids’ candy bounty late at night in early November! I’m speaking about the forever impact of an obscure priest 503 years ago, on October 31, 1517. You might have heard a thing or two about him. His name is Martin Luther. His 95 Theses forever changed the Christian faith. This week I want to share why we should remember and some lessons we cannot miss.

 

In the early 1500’s, the church was a mess in many ways. You might even say the church was corrupt. Case in point was this: the sale of INDULGENCES. People believed they were purchasing both the forgiveness of sins and the blessing of eternal life. In fact, history teaches us that Dominican Friar Johann Tetzel embarked on a fundraising mission to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica with this motto: “Every time a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” Not good. Not good at all!

 

A young monk named Martin Luther said, “Enough is enough,” and on October 31, 1517, disclosed 95 statements – 95 Theses – related to problems the church was facing. Of course, this brief blog doesn’t have room for all 95, but consider the first two.

 

Thesis #1: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he intended the ENTIRE life of believers should be repentance.

 

Thesis #2: “The word repentance cannot be understood to mean the sacrament of PENANCE or the act of confession and satisfaction administered by the priests.”

 

All 95 theses revolve around these first two and the concept that true repentance is INWARD. Jesus Christ, early in his public ministry, preached the importance of repentance: “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus was clear and Luther was convinced the church was absolutely missing the mark! It is important to note Luther never intended to launch a movement. These 95 Theses were more of an academic exercise in his mind than the beginning of a world-changing, church-transforming revival. Yet, this date and this action is considered the beginning of what we know as the Reformation.

 

Please understand, this action by Luther was not met with accolades and words of praise from the church. Luther would go on to be convicted as a HERETIC in 1521 and endured much pain and suffering. Fredrick III in essence placed Luther under house arrest for much of 1521, and yet Luther didn’t waste any opportunity and used this time to translate the entire New Testament into German. What a great lesson for us in 2020!

 

The theology of Martin Luther is summarized and defined by the so-called 5 Sola’s:

 

      SOLA SCRIPTURA: Scripture Alone: Authority comes from the Word of God only!

 

      SOLA FIDE: Faith Alone: Only Faith in Jesus Christ saves. You cannot earn your salvation!

 

      SOLA GRATIA: Grace Alone: We are saved only by the Grace of God. You cannot earn your salvation!

 

      SOLUS CHRISTUS: Christ Alone: Salvation comes only through relationship with Jesus Christ!

 

      SOLI DEO GLORIA: To the Glory of God Alone: Only God is worthy of glory and praise and honor!

 

As I wrap up this week, let’s take a moment and remember the life and impact one person made on the church 500 years ago and consider the following lessons.

 

#1 – When we focus on the INDISPUTABLE, you cannot go wrong! It is possible to spend much of our time as Christ followers majoring on the minors. Let’s major on the majors and focus on what really matters most!

 

#2 – Pray that prayer Jesus taught us pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth and it is in heaven.” The life of Martin Luther reminds us anyone can be an instrument for the Lord! What is God calling YOU to do in his name?

 

#3 – Remember pain and persecution will sometimes visit when you are doing God’s will. This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church and we will take time in Main Auditorium to learn more about what is happening in our world and pray for the church! Join us!

 

#4 – Guard your LIFE and DOCTRINE closely. Sadly, Luther really went off the rails late in life and published terrible and unacceptable anti-Semitic writings. There is no defense for the words he wrote. This is a reminder for all of us to stay strong biblically and theologically to the very end!

 

Bottom line? I’m forever thankful for the life and impact of Martin Luther. This Saturday, October 31, take some time and thank God for the impact of one on our world and faith 500 years ago. Give honor to whom honor is due. And never stop trying to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world today!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2. 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, Mary Miller and Erika Weaver, candidates for the 15th Congressional seat in Illinois, will be our DL special guests! Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

       Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Hallelujah Hall.

 

       Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

October 21, 2020

Three and a half years ago, I really hit a wall spiritually in my journey as a Christ follower. Now, please understand I was not dealing with a secret sin or having a crisis of personal faith. I very much believed, as I always have, that Jesus was my Savior and Lord, and I was blessed beyond words to serve in local church ministry, but for some reason, my walk with Jesus wasn’t what I wanted to be or where it needed to be. I was certainly busy doing and doing and doing, but in many ways my soul was dry.

 

And then it happened! I pulled the trigger on an opportunity that had been in front of me for a couple of years and stepped outside my comfort zone and attended Dr. Jody Owens’ Spiritual Formation Retreat for ministry staff in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. My thought was it certainly couldn’t hurt, and even if I didn’t really care for the retreat, my daughter, Jordan, was in school at nearby Johnson University so at least I would be able to spend some time with her.

 

I didn’t really like the retreat . . . I loved it! For three days, I was disconnected from the stuff of this world and was blessed to “retreat” with others in my context of the local church. It is bittersweet to write about this annual blessing because literally right now the 2020 retreat is underway, and it just wasn’t possible for me to attend this fall. Enough with that. Here is my point this week. I learned something so important about my personal journey with Jesus: Greg Taylor is always at his best when he carves out time each day for personal growth via silence and solitude and spiritual nourishment.

 

Understand, I still fail at this regularly, and sometimes the craziness of life doesn’t allow this to happen, but this discovery has been life changing and life giving for me. My favorite time of the day to experience this is the early morning, and when I can combine it with personal exercise, I am golden! I love to hit the streets of my neighborhood when it’s dark or the trails of Kennekuk during the days of early light and walk, pray, listen, and learn. Let me say it again. It has been life changing and life giving.

 

This week, I want to share with you four podcasts I listen to regularly that bless me, teach me, and encourage me. There are literally thousands of podcasts to pick from, and what is a blessing for one person might not be for another, but these are four I highly recommend:

 

#1 – Gospel in Life with Tim Keller

 

Simply put, I think Tim Keller might be the best preacher in the country. Now retired from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, he is rock solid theologically, and I almost always seem to learn something new from his sermons. This podcast typically uploads a message from Dr. Keller every 2-3 days and works through studies that are connected. For instance, right now, the past six messages from Dr. Keller are all looking at Luke 15 and the parable of the Prodigal Son. Good stuff!

 

#2 – Ed Stetzer Live with Ed Stetzer

 

Ed teaches at Wheaton College and hosts a weekly radio show with Moody Radio, an arm of Moody Bible Institute. I am not able to listen live on Saturday, but I do catch the podcast on either Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Ed does an excellent job of bridging the gap between God’s Word and current events. Ed almost always has a guest on the show with him, and I look forward to this weekly podcast. Good stuff!

 

#3 – BreakPoint from the Colson Center with John Stonestreet

 

One of my personal heroes of the faith was the late Chuck Colson. His story of redemption and ministry impact on the heels of personal embarrassment and incarceration is powerful and inspiring. His life and legacy continue to impact through the work of the Colson Center. Most days, John Stonestreet shares a 4- to 5-minute thought on topics that impact Christians today. These daily short spots are good, but I really like the two extended podcasts each week from BreakPoint, a 30-minute Q&A midweek and an extended look at our country and world that uploads on Saturday. If you are interested in worldview and how it impacts our culture, politics, and the church, this resource is excellent!

 

#4 – The Unfolding from WBGL

 

I love to listen to WBGL on my drive to work each morning, especially since our own Lindsey Singley is one of the morning hosts. Lindsey and the other guy do a really good job, but I have fallen in love with the weekly podcast that tells the stories of life and faith known as The Unfolding. Sometimes the guest is someone national like Mark Schultz, Steven Curtis Chapman, Laura Story, or Jeremy Camp. Sometimes the guest is local like Carl Parks, Habeeb Habeeb, or our own Julia Wilson. This podcast is deeply personal in nature and tells the story of how God is working in the lives of the famous and ordinary. Check it out. It is really good and inspiring!

 

Blessings to each of you! I would love to hear any podcast recommendations you might have. Have a great week!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

1. We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

2.  929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!

 

3. Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, Major Jason Pollom from the Salvation Army will be our DL special guest! Steph and I would love to hear from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

4. Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

       Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

       Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays in Hallelujah Hall.

 

       Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

october 13, 2020

Twenty days and 480 hours. This crazy season in America will all be over soon. At least we all hope so! The 2020 election, one like no other in so many ways, is drawing toward the end, and unless you live under a rock, you have watched the commercials, heard at least sound bites from debates and campaign events, and if you are like me, you are counting the days until Tuesday, November 3. Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden. Game on.

 

The 2020 election has highlighted the very best of the political process in our country. I am so thankful for the blessing of freedom and democracy and the opportunity to vote for the candidate I choose to support. I am thankful for the blessing of ballot initiatives that allow the voice of the people to be heard.

 

The 2020 election has also brought into view the ugly and the awful. It has been discouraging to see and read so much conversation and proclamation that has descended into relational chaos. Social media is full of vitriol and angst. Many people are drawing lines in the sand, and those lines simply might not go away in 20 days. Families, friends, and neighbors are now divided in many instances. In my opinion, it is the very worst of the American political process.

 

As people of faith, we are not immune to any of this. In fact, my greatest disappointment during this political season involves the lack of distinction in many circumstances with how Christ followers are embracing this election when compared to those living outside the grace of God. Much of the time it is seemingly difficult to recognize SALT and LIGHT. Instead, there just seems to be name-calling, absolute directives tied to a person’s faith, and a passion that calls into question ultimate allegiance.

 

Let me share four reminders for people of faith, four specific encouragements for followers of Jesus, as we move toward the end of the 2020 election.

 

First, be a GOOD CITIZEN and do your DUTY!

 

The apostle Peter encouraged first-century Christ followers to “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17) In my opinion, part of being a good citizen is participating in the political process. Vote on November 3, but please never allow the emotional appeals of candidates and political parties to confuse you or impact your walk with Jesus negatively. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what. Live in the holy fear of God no matter what. Honor those in authority no matter what.

 

I like what Paul shared with his young son of the faith Titus: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all people.” (Titus 3:1-2) This gives Christ followers a great template to live by in 2020.

  

Secondly, be INFORMED and consider POLICY and determine PRIORITIES!

 

Take the time to KNOW where candidates and party platforms stand on issues and agendas. If you are unsure of the specifics of each party platform, consider resources at www.myfaithvotes.org Here is a sample of what you will find: mfv.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/PDF/2020-Party-Platforms-One-Page-Summary.pdf

 

Significant differences exist between the two major political parties on policy and government. Do your homework as a person of faith in Jesus Christ. Issues like abortion, healthcare, immigration, the environment, marriage, and religious freedom are important to understand, and I would encourage you to not simply settle for political advertisements to inform you.

 

Thirdly, be like JESUS and MODEL your actions and behaviors after our Lord and Savior!

 

This month we are journeying through the Sermon on the Mount, and in Matthew 5 Jesus calls his followers to be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world. How might God use you these next three weeks to “season” your context for Jesus in the midst of political craziness? How might God use you these next three weeks to be a “city on a hill” and shine brightly for Jesus?

 

On one occasion, Jesus was asked a political question about whether people of faith should pay tax to Caesar or not. This was a potential trap, and I’m afraid the 2020 election is also a potential trap for many a Christ follower in regard to their witness and impact moving forward. Jesus’ answer was perfect: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Jesus refused to allow a political issue like paying taxes to get in the way of his earthly ministry, and we should never allow an election to impact us negatively either!


Finally, be KINGDOM-minded and never forget this world is NOT my HOME! I can remember back to the very first election I was able to vote in as an adult. I was convinced that if “my candidate” didn’t win the election, our country as we knew it was over! The “enemy,” as I viewed the other candidate, would do much damage to people of faith. This progressive promised radical policies on issues that mattered greatly to me as a 23-year-old, and there was simply no other option! My guy had to win!

 

My guy didn’t win. It wasn’t even close, and the “other” guy became president and true to his word made multiple executive orders on his fourth day in office that crushed my heart and made me wonder what was next. I was sharing my intense disappointment with a close ministry friend, and his words brought an important reminder: “Jesus is still Savior and Jesus is still Lord, and we can still sing ‘Our God reigns!’”

 

Sadly, my ministry friend would pass away less than two years later, but I have never forgotten his words of wisdom! So do not despair and never forget this truth: Donald Trump is NOT savior! Joe Biden is NOT savior! Jesus is our ultimate HOPE! Jesus is Savior and Lord!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., Monday through Friday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!

 

Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, Cassie Rhodes from the Slotted Spoon and Brian Carpenter from Crossroads Christian Church will be our DL special guests! Steph and I would love to hear any from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again including:

 

Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, in the Main Auditorium.

 

Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays, in Hallelujah Hall.

 

Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays, in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

September 30, 2019

I love the New England area and have felt a personal passion for this mission field for over 30 years. Let me explain why. When Marla and I were students at the then Lincoln Christian College in the late 1980s, we were required to do a week of service each school year called Week of Evangelism. Our sophomore year during the spring of 1989, Marla and I were both part of the group of over 50 from LCC that jumped on the LCC charter bus and headed east.

 

It was a wonderful trip full of memories we would not soon forget. Niagara Falls was a great stop on the way out, and touring downtown Boston was just what the doctor ordered for a history nerd like me, but the aspect of the trip that changed me forever was seeing the incredible need in the six New England states for the gospel message. At that time, there were very few Stone-Campbell churches in New England, and there was obviously a great need for Jesus.

 

Our week in March of 1989 was spent serving the Manchester Christian Church, which at the time was running 200-250 on Sunday mornings. They were the largest Stone-Campbell church in the New England area at that time. We left and headed for home, and I had a burning in my heart for New England, but then life got busy. I had two-plus years of college to finish. I was trying to convince Marla to marry me. I was spending my weekends doing ministry at the Plano Christian Church.

 

Following graduation, I began my first full-time ministry in Moweaqua, IL at First Christian Church. Our second summer in Moweaqua, we took several of our high school students to New Hampshire on a mission trip with the Londonderry Christian Church. We would do a similar trip four years later with LCC in 1997. Again, I saw the need in New England, but life seemed pretty busy, and we were just beginning to find our groove in Moweaqua.

 

In the mid-1990s, one of our favorite professors from Lincoln, Dan Clymer, made the decision to leave academia and move to New England. Dan began Restoration House Ministries in Manchester, New Hampshire. The legacy of RHM is rich, and the landscape of the Stone-Campbell movement in New England has been forever changed positively for the kingdom!

 

For 21 years, Dan led RHM, and many churches were planted, dozens of Bible College students did internships in New England, and a network of pastoral encouragement became a reality. By the way, Dan recently released a book on discipleship featuring several Christian leaders in New England that he served as general editor of, and it is really good stuff!

 

About the same time Dan Clymer was moving his family to New England, Marla, Jordan, and I were leaving Moweaqua and relocating to the Lincoln area, and I had joined the staff at Lincoln Christian College serving in Admissions for seven years. Dan invited Marla and me to be a part of a church planter recruitment weekend in October of 2008, and we once again saw the incredible need in New England. We wondered what door the Lord might open in the future for the Taylor family, but ministry was just beginning for me at LCC, and a move to New England did not appear to be in our future anytime soon.

 

During this season of ministry at my alma mater, I was a part of multiple Week of E trips to New England and also led a mission trip to NE sponsored by Little Galilee Christian Camp along with Wade Thompson and Ed Bacon. I was also able to partner with Dan and RHM in 1998 with the beginning of Disciple Days, a week-long program exposing high school students to life and ministry in New England.

 

My friend, Jason Smith, and I were part of the first two Disciple Days in 1998 and 1999. It was pretty neat when in the summer of 2012, my then 16-year-old daughter Jordan was able to attend DD at RHM! I remember talking with Jordan on the drive home from the airport and hearing her tell me God was calling her to New England. It really moved me, but I wondered if, like me, life would get in the way of this call.

 

I could go on and on, but I will cut to the chase. Last week I was back in New England to visit my daughter, Jordan, and son-in-law Jacob Vangen, and I had a lot of time to reflect. Jordan followed her passion that first ignited in the summer of 2012 and today serves along with Jacob at the Bridge Pointe Christian Church in East Providence, Rhode Island. Just seven years old, this church was running almost 600 on Sunday morning pre-COVID and is one of three thriving Stone-Campbell churches in Rhode Island. There are two other strong RHM church plants in Rhode Island thriving today: South Pointe Christian Church in Warwick and Ocean Pointe Christian Church in Middletown near Newport.

 

Today Manchester Christian Church was running over 3,000 on Sundays pre-COVID and is one of the leading churches in all of New England. East Pointe Christian Church in Portland, Maine (RHM plant in 2003) is possibly the healthiest and strongest church in all of the state. The city of Boston is being influenced by multiple churches planted by RHM including Reunion Christian Church, started by Hank Wilson in 2007, and a new church, Renaissance Christian Church, led by Drew Thurman. Thank you, Dan Clymer, for following your call in the mid-1990s!

 

So what’s the point in all of this? It is really pretty simple. The gospel is still needed in New England. So much positive has happened in the past 25 years, but so much more still needs to happen in the name of Jesus. Let’s continue to pray and support organizations like Restoration House Ministries, led today by Eric Lee and Bob Miller. Let’s continue to pray and support churches like Bridge Pointe Christian Church and new church works like Renaissance Christian Church. Let’s pray and support young adults like our own Molly Smith who is raising money to move to the Newport, Rhode Island area and do campus ministry with Sojourn. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up workers for the harvest field.”

 

Let’s never forget the Kingdom of God on earth is larger than Danville and the Vermilion Valley!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

1. Reminder: Next Gen reopens this Sunday, October 4! We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in the Main Auditorium at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. and in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning in Next Gen at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality.

 

Huge thanks to Drew Mentzer along with Judy and Dee for sharing with us both Sunday morning and Sunday evening! It was such a blessing to have the Mentzer family back with us!

 

929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!

 

Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, Drew Mentzer joins Greg and Steph on the October 1 Direct Line, along with Terry and Molly Goodwin! Steph and I would love to hear any from you at directline@secondchurch.com.

 

Several groups and Bible studies are beginning to meet again, including:


Oasis Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, in the Main Auditorium.

 

Celebrate Recovery for adults only at this time on Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Main Auditorium.

 

Grief Share at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays, in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays, in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

September 17, 2020

Hello, Second Church! Sunday was our first week in Phase 2 of re-opening, and it was wonderful to see so many families at our in-person services at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. Our middle service was by far the largest in terms of attendance with over 300 people in the building at 9:20 a.m. If you are wanting to be present for in-person worship but are concerned about larger crowds, please consider either the 8:00 a.m. service or the 10:45 a.m. service on Sunday mornings at Second. Just a quick reminder of what is happening with Phase 2:

 

Kid’s World is open for K – 4th graders during the 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services in our Kid’s World building. Masks are required, and Kenna Osborne has put an excellent plan into place to provide the best children’s ministry experience possible! During week one of Phase 2, our 9:20 a.m. service had many more children than our 10:45 a.m. service.

 

Jake Weece is hosting a Bible study in the Student Ministry building during the 9:20 a.m. service on Sundays, and last week 35 Junior High students were present. JHM Wednesday evenings began this week and continue on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. The JHM Kickoff brought almost 90 students and adults to Second Church on Wednesday the 16th!

 

HSM is back on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. outside on the patio between the Student Ministry building and Kid’s World, and September 13 brought dozens of High School students and sponsors! Please reach out to Tyler Russell if you have questions about HSM!

 

Beginning on Sunday morning, October 4, Next Gen services will return to the Next Gen auditorium at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and the 10:45 a.m. service in Next Gen will be online via livestream on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel. Kiley Garrison and Adam Singley are working hard already on the return of Next Gen!

 

The Oasis Bible Study began this week on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m., and 22 were a part of our first study together in six months and five days! It was so good to be back to together in the Main Auditorium, and YOU are invited to join us moving forward on Tuesdays at 10 a.m.!

 

Don’t forget about our big Sunday with the Mentzer family just 10 days out! Drew will preach during our morning worship services on Sunday, September 27 and that evening, Sunday night, September 27, we are hosting an outdoor worship event on our property at 5:00 p.m. Dale DeNeal will interview Drew, who will share with us about life in Tennessee for the Mentzers! We are praying for good weather and invite you to join us!

 

Please make note of other important happenings moving forward:

 

Grief Share is back beginning Thursday evening, September 24, at 6:00 p.m. in the Next Gen Auditorium. ALL are welcome!

 

The annual Walk for Life is Saturday, September 26, at 9:00 a.m. at Lincoln Park in Danville. We need walkers, givers, and prayers to help the Women’s Care Clinic!

 

The Thursday morning Women’s Bible study returns on Thursday, October 1, at 9:30 a.m. in the Next Gen Auditorium.

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • Reminder: We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. in the main auditorium. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality. The Next Gen Auditorium is set up with tables and chairs as an overflow for families with children with a video feed from the main auditorium during all three services.
  • We conclude our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, September 20, with a message from Kiley Garrison about When Hypocrisy Gets in the Way, looking at how Jesus dealt with this centuries-long problem for Christ followers. Read Matthew 23 in anticipation of Sunday if you get a chance! I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of Acts. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week we visit with Miles Clark from Crossroads Christian Church, Chris Lawler from Catlin Church of Christ, and Stephanie’s mom, Marsha Wilkinson, who shares about Grief Share. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You

 

GT

September 10, 2020

It is finally here! Phase 2 of re-opening begins THIS Sunday morning, September 13! Make sure you are aware of the following information:

 

Here are the details of Phase 2 of re-opening:

  • Beginning on Sunday morning, September 13, our service times will return to our traditional schedule in the main auditorium. In-person service times at Second Church will return to 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Our livestream service in the main auditorium will view at 9:20 a.m.
  • Beginning THIS Sunday morning, September 13, Kid’s World will reopen for K – 4th graders during the 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services in our Kid’s World building. Masks will be required, and Kenna Osborne has put an excellent plan into place to provide the best children’s ministry experience possible! 
  • Beginning THIS Sunday, September 13, JHM will return! Jake Weece will host a Bible study in the Student Ministry building during the 9:20 a.m. service and will launch JHM Wednesday evenings beginning September 16 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. If you are a parent of Junior High students, look for more information from Jake Weece in the weeks ahead!
  • Beginning THIS Sunday, September 13, HSM will return on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. outside on the patio between the Student Ministry building and Kid’s World. Please reach out to Tyler Russell if you have questions about HSM! 
  • Beginning on Sunday morning, October 4, Next Gen services will return to the Next Gen auditorium at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and the 10:45 a.m. service in Next Gen will be online via livestream on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel. Kiley Garrison and Adam Singley are working hard already on the return of Next Gen! 
  • The Oasis Bible Study on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. will return on Tuesday, September and will now meet in the Main Auditorium.

And don’t forget this nugget of great news! Drew, Judy, and Dee Mentzer will be with us the weekend of September 27, and Drew will preach during our morning worship services on Sunday, September 27! That evening, Sunday night, September 27, we are hosting an outdoor worship event on our property at 5:00 p.m. and Drew will share with us during that service as well. We loved so much the Covington worship night in mid-June and are excited to have another outdoor service on September 27!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • Reminder: We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m., and 10:45 a.m. in the main auditorium. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:20 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality. The Next Gen Auditorium is set up with tables and chairs as an overflow for families with children and others with a video feed from the main auditorium during all three services.
  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, September 13, with a message about When Racism and Prejudice Gets in the Way, looking at how Jesus dealt with the issue of race and prejudice and what the Apostle Paul teaches in the book of Galatians as well. We will also show a special video featuring three African American members of our church (Brenda Brown, RJ Davis and Pat Brownfield) sharing their perspective on race and the church in 2020. I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about the book of James. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page! 
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Bill Knight from Second Church and discuss the important topics of politics and religious freedom in 2020. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

september 1, 2020

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer and beginning of the school year. I realize many students have been in class for a couple of weeks already, either in-person, online, or some combination in between, but by this time next week all of our area schools will be in session. This school year promises to be one of the most challenging and difficult. With all of this in mind, I want to share five encouragements this week related to students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

 

Encouragement #1: Make the most of a less-than-ideal school year reality. I realize this is not what any of us signed up for, whether you are in-person with masks and social distancing or online via remote learning. I realize no one is excited about COVID-19 changes. I do believe, however, that God can work in any situation and sometimes does his greatest work when we least expect it. Romans 8:28 says, “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Make the most of the year that is front of you! If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, ask yourself this question, “God, what are you teaching me during this season?”

 

Encouragement #2: Lean on others during this less-than-ideal school year reality. This is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black because, frankly, I don’t ever want to “need” someone else. I pride myself in doing it myself, my way, living out the Frank Sinatra song each day! Just ask my wife, Marla. She will quickly confirm this is true! That said, the 2020-21 school year will require us to re-think and re-consider the “do it alone” mantra and mindset. Don’t be afraid to turn to others for help and assistance whatever your role is. Look for opportunities to learn from others and to help others this year. Do not allow PRIDE to get in the way! I love this truth that both James and Peter share in their letters: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5)

 

Encouragement #3: Never forget your primary calling IF you are a Christ follower. I am so thankful for administrators, teachers, parents, and students who are people of faith following after Jesus Christ! I think in many ways my wife, Marla (the High School Math Teacher), has more opportunities to impact her world for Jesus than I do week in and week out! Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:13-14 that we are called to be “…the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” If you are a student, ask yourself this question. “How can I be salt and light in the name of Jesus this school year?” If you are a parent, ask yourself this question. “How can I be salt and light in the name of Jesus this school year?” If you are a teacher, ask yourself this question. “How can I be salt and light in the name of Jesus this year?” If you are an administrator, ask yourself this question. “How can I be salt and light in the name of Jesus this year?” “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Let your light shine this school year!

 

Encouragement #4: Be wise with your words, especially on social media. Our words hold incredible power, whether we realize it or not. This week and next, during the 929 Daily Word, we are looking at the book of James, the brother of Jesus, and a key theme throughout his letter is the dangerous and even lethal power of our words. And nowhere in our world do we see this more toxic than on social media. It is at this point in my blog that I am no longer “sharing,” and I am beginning to “meddle.” I don’t apologize. Parents, please realize the power of your negative words especially on your most precious blessing, your children. Students, please think before you speak words or post on social media. Teachers and administrators, please realize the power of your words even during stressful and difficult situations! “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) By the way, do not forget Facebook has an UNFOLLOW option for a reason! Don’t be afraid to use it!

 

Encouragement #5: Go counter-cultural and embrace the call to become an ambassador of encouragement. I would love to see this dream become a reality, and it can begin with anyone reading this blog. Almost every one of us knows at least one student, parent, teacher, or administrator. Become an ambassador of encouragement. Look for intentional and strategic ways to lift up those in education this year! Last spring, Marla and I were sitting on our couch relaxing on a Sunday evening when our doorbell rang and there were three of her students at the door. They drove from Georgetown to our home in Denvale West to bring her “gifts” of encouragement. It blessed her greatly!

 

The power of an encouraging word makes such a difference! Twelve years ago, we had to put our then 7th-grade daughter, Jordan, in the hospital on Christmas Eve 2008 as she battled pneumonia. I had never seen her so sick, and I was scared. That is one Christmas I will never forget! Our doctor advised us to use the small hospital in Lincoln instead of the larger hospitals in Springfield, and we followed his advice. It turned out to be a wonderful experience, as wonderful as it can be when your 12-year-old is really sick. Jordan stayed four days and left feeling much better.

 

On that final Monday in December 2008, I called the Lincoln hospital and asked for the Director of Nursing and unfortunately had to leave a voicemail message. I thanked her for the excellent care we received at the hospital and especially from her nursing staff and let her know I would be sharing with anyone who asked about our great experience. She called back within 30 minutes and literally struggled to talk to me due to her emotions. She shared with me that she receives calls about hospital stays all the time but almost never receives a word of encouragement. I wonder if administrators and teachers might have similar accounts? “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25) Let us cheer up our administrators, teachers, parents, and students with kind words!

 

Blessings to everyone involved in education this year! We are all in this together!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others

  • Reminder: We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. in the main auditorium. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:30 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality. This is our final Sunday morning with these service times! And don’t forget to check out our Phase 2 reopening plans. You can find them here: https://secondchurch.com/ministries/special-update
  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, September 6, with a message from Jake Weece about When RULES and TRADITION Get in the Way, looking at Mark 3 and how Jesus challenged the tradition of not healing or helping on the Sabbath. I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the Book of James, chapters 1-2. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Valerie Shelton, Abby Manning and Will I Am Bales from Celebrate Recovery, a Tuesday-evening ministry of Second Church. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m.

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

August 27, 2020

Sunday marked our fourth Sunday back in our building on Sunday mornings for in-person worship services, and it was also our largest attendance for in-person worship services since our return (335 total). Throughout the first three Sundays of in-person worship in August (8/2, 8/9, and 8/16), our 11:00 a.m. service was our smallest in attendance. This past Sunday, our 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. services were slightly smaller than previous weeks, but our 11:00 a.m. service was more than double in average (131 not counting those involved in the service). In fact, Stephanie Spangler and her worship team could not find seats to sit in the main part of the auditorium following their worship set and had to move to the balcony. Why was this? I have no idea, but it was great to see!

 

Sunday also brought several of you back for in-person worship for the first time and that was wonderful to see! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to gather together again and look forward to seeing more and more people return for in-person worship when they feel they are ready. Of course, our livestream will continue during our middle service at 9:30 a.m. on both Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel.

 

I’m excited this week to share with you that we will be entering Phase 2 of our re-opening beginning on Sunday, September 13!

 

Here are the details of Phase 2 of re-opening:

  • Beginning on Sunday morning, September 13, our service times will return to our traditional schedule in the main auditorium. In-person service times at Second Church will return to 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Our livestream service in the main auditorium will view at 9:20 a.m.
  • Beginning on Sunday morning, September 13, Kid’s World will reopen for K – 4th graders during the 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services in our Kid’s World building. Masks will be required, and Kenna Osborne has put an excellent plan into place to provide the best children’s ministry experience possible! 
  • Beginning the week of September 13, JHM will return! Jake Weece will host a Bible study in the Student Ministry building during the 9:20 a.m. service and will launch JHM Wednesday evenings beginning September 16 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. If you are a parent of Junior High students, look for more information from Jake Weece in the weeks ahead! 
  • Beginning on September 13, HSM will return on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. outside on the patio between the Student Ministry building and Kid’s World. Please reach out to Tyler Russell if you have questions about HSM! 
  • Beginning on Sunday morning October 4, Next Gen services will return to the Next Gen auditorium at 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and the 10:45 a.m. service in Next Gen will be online via livestream on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel. Kiley Garrison and Adam Singley are working hard already on the return of Next Gen! 
  • The Oasis Bible Study on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. will return on Tuesday, September 15 and will now meet in the Main Auditorium. 

One other bit of news I am excited to share with you this week: Drew, Judy and Dee Mentzer will be with us the weekend of September 27, and Drew will preach during our morning worship services on Sunday, September 27! It will be so good to reconnect with the Mentzer family and to hear Drew preach at Second Church again! Mark your calendars now!

 

That evening, Sunday night September 27, we are hosting an outdoor worship event on our property at 5:00 p.m. and Drew will share with us during that service as well. We loved so much the Covington worship night in mid-June and are excited to have another outdoor service on September 27!

 

We are so excited about Phase 2 and so thankful for Melissa Rome and the team at the Vermilion County Health Department and their advice on making our return to in-person worship a reality. God is so good even during a pandemic! Let’s make the most of the opportunities we have in front of us to grow in relationship with Jesus and influence our community for the Kingdom!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • Reminder: For the next two Sunday mornings, we are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. in the main auditorium. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:30 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality. 
  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, August 30, with a message When JUDGMENT Gets in the Way, looking at Matthew 7 and John 8 and how Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery. How did Jesus handle those who were accusing and judging? How did Jesus deal with this woman caught in sin? What lessons should we take from John 8 in 2020? I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page! 
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Dean Crandall from Second Church and discuss the important topic of WORLDVIEW in the life of a Christ Follower. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com. 
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m.

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

august 19, 2020

During the sermon on Sunday, we had the opportunity to reveal via video two nominees for eldership at Second Church: Joe Heleine and Chris Robinson. Thanks so much to Phil Gioja for another great video production, and thank you to Joe and Chris for leaning into this opportunity to serve as elders at Second Church. Both men have been through a very thorough process with our leadership including a written application and an interview with our elders. Our leadership was unanimous in their opinion that both men should begin serving as elders of Second Church.

 

We are in a two-week period of time (from August 16-30) where any biblical concerns about either Joe or Chris that would lead to disqualification from service can be received in writing with witnesses substantiating the charge. Such a written charge can be given to any elder (Erik Cisney, Dean Crandall, Bill Knight, Alan Thompson, Tim Thornsborough, or Steve Walter) or our Executive Minister Dale DeNeal. If no charges are leveled in the next two weeks, Joe and Chris will be installed as elders of Second Church promptly.

 

Please pray for your leadership and staff at Second Church. This month marks one year of service at Second Church for Marla and me, and we are so thankful for the elders and staff we are blessed to do ministry with! One of the many things that drew us to Second Church was the leadership structure and the biblical nature Second Church has embraced. Far too many contemporary churches look more like city councils and county boards in structure and function.

 

I love and am very thankful for the 3 C’s of leadership at Second Church: Character, Competency and Chemistry. I am honored to serve alongside leaders who are committed to making Christ-centered disciples! Blessings to Joe and Chris as they begin this journey! Thank you, Second Church, for your support and encouragement!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • Reminder: We are having in-person worship gatherings each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. in the Main Auditorium. Each worship service is identical, and our livestream continues on Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube Channel at 9:30 a.m. Masks are required, and social distancing is also our reality. The Next Gen Auditorium is set up with tables and chairs as an overflow for families with children and others with a video feed from Main Auditorium during all three services. 
  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, August 23, with a message about When INSIDERS Get in the Way, looking at Mark 11 and the account of Jesus turning over tables in the temple court during Holy Week. What was this all about? Why was Jesus so angry? What lessons should we take from Mark 11 in 2020? I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Nathan Lenstra and Barbara Jackson from the Hope Center in Danville and learn about the impact of this ministry located in Fair Oaks. We will also visit with Ginger Schell from Intentional Reach and GT Bootcamp. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m.

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

august 12, 2020

It has been a long almost five months since COVID-19 became a reality in mid-March for Second Church! I remain so thankful for the blessing of technology and the opportunity to livestream services on Sunday mornings and will never forget the efforts of Darrell Paddock, Ben Smith, Tyler Russell, Jason Landis, and so many others! I spent some time last weekend looking back on the Second Church YouTube channel at several of our past livestream services and was blessed all over again! Don’t forget, our livestream continues each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

 

One of the real bummers of the past five months for me personally, and so many others, involved the suspension of Celebrate Recovery on Tuesday evenings. One of the real draws to Second Church for me 17 months ago was what I witnessed the evening of Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in the Next Gen Auditorium. I was immediately moved and impacted by CR large group and the impact this ministry appeared to be making in the lives of so many.

 

It was so encouraging and frankly infectious to see a church doing whatever they could to help so many overcome hurts, habits, and hang-ups. When COVID-19 hit, we attempted to provide a CR substitute via livestream, something we called Recovery Connect. I personally enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t the same. Something was missing: no personal contact and connection!

 

With all of that in mind, I am so excited and blessed to be able to announce today that Celebrate Recovery is back and YOU are welcome to join us on Tuesday evenings for two aspects of CR: Large Group and our Share Groups. We consider this to be Phase 1 of our CR re-opening. Now please note: We still are not providing a meal or dessert fellowship, there is no transportation, and there is no children’s or teen programming at this time.

 

The past two Tuesday evenings have brought a “soft launch,” and this week 53 adults gathered in Main Auditorium for a great large group meeting! I think all of us left large group committed to DO SOMETHING on a night we talked about ACTION! We hope and pray this is only the beginning! So what will Tuesday evening Celebrate Recovery look like while we are in Phase 1?

 

Please make note of the following regarding our CR reopening:

  • Phase 1 of Celebrate Recovery will be for adults only and will include only Large Group and Share Groups from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m.
  • The Large Group gathering will include worship, reciting the 8 Principles or the 12 Steps, teaching, reciting the Serenity Prayer, and hopefully, baptisms!
  • Many of the CR Share Groups are meeting, including Men’s and Women’s Chemical Dependency, Men’s Moral Integrity and Women’s Life Issues. We are also offering CR 101 at 7:00 p.m. for newcomers. 
  • Masks are required for the entire time you are in the building, and temperatures will be taken by our medical team as you enter our building.
  • If you are sick, please stay home. 
  • At this time, there is no transportation, no meals, and no children’s or teen programming.

To say I am excited that CR is back would be the understatement of the summer! This week, Terry Goodwin will be teaching in Large Group, and you will not want to miss it! If you have additional questions related to the reopening of CR, please reach out and call the church office at 217-442-7306 or email me at greg@secondchurch.com.

 

Spread the word! Join us on Tuesday evenings! It is SO good to be back!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, August 16, with a message about LEADING and FOLLOWING LEADERS WELL, as we introduce two elder nominees to the congregation. I am personally so thankful for the lives and faith of both Joe Heleine and Chris Robinson, and I’m excited for you to learn more about each man! I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the seven churches in Asia Minor that received word from Jesus in Revelation chapters 2-3. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page. 
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Bethany Hager from the Women’s Care Clinic in Danville and learn about the upcoming Walk for Life and so much more. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m.

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

august 4, 2020

I couldn’t sleep Saturday night. I’m pretty sure I remember 1:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m., and 3:45 a.m. Finally, about 4:45 a.m., I gave up and decided to get up. Needless to say, I was ready for a nap by 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. To say I was anxious about our re-opening on Sunday, August 2, would be an understatement! I just was not sure what to expect.

 

Sunday turned out to be a day full of blessings in many ways. I was so proud of our staff and volunteers who facilitated the re-opening of our building. Special thanks to Sandra Lathrop for going above and beyond with our large number of volunteers. As usual, I was blessed by our worship service (Adam Singley and Stephanie Spangler both do such a great job! and I thought Dale DeNeal did a super job leading us in our time of remembering Jesus through the Lord’s Supper.

 

Possibly the greatest blessing of all on Sunday, however, was the spirit of cooperation and compliance everyone embodied as we made the best of a less-than-ideal reality of our building re-opening. Thank you, Second Church members and attenders, for following our protocols to ensure the safety and health of everyone in attendance on Sunday in our building! I am so thankful and proud of you!

 

Our recent survey on re-opening revealed several families were considering returning to worship in our building but wanted to see how the first couple of weeks unfolded. There was significant concern over safety precautions and procedures and if social distancing was really possible in the Main Auditorium. On Sunday, August 2, none of our three services exceeded 100 in attendance: 8:00 a.m. service = 91; 9:30 a.m. = 95; 11:00 a.m. = 66. When you add up all of our tech and worship staff and volunteers, we estimate around 270 different people joined us in our building on Sunday morning for worship.

 

Here are a couple of comments from the world of Facebook by Second Church folks older than me who were in our building on Sunday morning:

  • “It didn’t feel nearly as weird as I thought it would. Many thanks to our awesome staff for your preparation and setting realistic expectations.”
  • “It was so good to be back today! Thanks to all who made this possible.”
  • “Great service. We were at 1st, and I believe all went well.” 

In addition, our online livestream continues on both the Second Church Facebook page and the Second Church YouTube channel, and our livestream numbers on Sunday were very strong. For the month of July, we averaged a peak of about 375-380 unique devices at one time during our services. On Sunday, our peak was 351 unique devices at one time. I continue to be thankful for this blessing of technology and guys like Darrell Paddock and Ben Smith who make this happen week in and week out!

 

Just a reminder, we have put into the place the following protocols for Phase 1 of the re-opening the Second Church building for Sunday morning worship:

  • Please wear a mask from the time you exit your car in the parking lot until you leave the building following the worship service.
  • Everyone will enter and exit the building through Door #2 at the overhang. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service (7:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m., and 10:45 a.m.). 
  • Please practice social distancing and please keep your mask on throughout the service except when taking Communion.
  • Ushers will give direction regarding seating in the Main Auditorium, and families will be asked to sit together.
  • Each service will be about 45 minutes and include 3 worship songs, the sermon, Communion via pre-packaged elements, and we are transitioning to offering boxes on the walls of the Main Auditorium. 
  • We will not have a greeting time, and the Commons will not be open for fellowship between services. There will not be coffee served on Sunday mornings at this time.
  • There will not be children’s or youth programming in the building on Sunday mornings during Phase 1 of our re-opening.
  • Following the closing prayer, you will be given instructions from the stage about dismissal. We will dismiss by rows, and you will be asked to exit the building at that time so cleaning can begin in preparation for the next service.

Here are three final thoughts this week:

 

#1 – Please remain faithful in worship, whether in person or on the live stream.

 

#2 – Please honor the protocols we have put into place for worship in our building during Phase 1.

 

#3 – Please consider joining us this Sunday for worship in our building IF you are comfortable doing so. We would love to see you!

 

Blessings, 2CC! I love you, and I’m thankful and honored to serve at Second!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • We continue our study What Made Jesus Mad this Sunday morning, August 9, with a message from Kiley Garrison on the issue of Indifference. Our seven-week series will look at multiple additional answers to this question, including Insiders, Judgment, Racism, Hypocrisy and Rules/Traditions. This series is based on the book What Made Jesus Mad by Tim Harlow from Parkview Christian Church in the south suburbs of Chicago. If you are interested in getting your own copy of this book, you can find it on Amazon. I hope you will join us this week either in person or on the livestream!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the parables of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we visit with Courtney Watson from Philadelphia Baptist Church in Danville and our own Terry Goodwin from the staff at Second Church. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directline@secondchurch.com.
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m.

Blessings to you, Second Church! I am so thankful for a community of Christ followers that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

July 28, 2020

This Sunday we re-open our building for three in-person services at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. We will CONTINUE to LIVESTREAM online each week! The livestream time will now move to 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. To say I am excited about re-opening is an understatement! That said, we are doing our very best to provide a safe and clean environment that has the blessing of both our County Health Department and our insurance company, so please put the following into practice IF you decide to join us on Sunday for in-person worship:

 

  • Please wear a mask from the time you exit your car in the parking lot until you leave the building following the worship service. 
  • Everyone will enter and exit the building through Door #2 at the overhang. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service (7:45 a.m., 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.).
  • Please practice social distancing and please keep your mask on throughout the service except when taking Communion.
  • Ushers will give direction regarding seating in the Main Auditorium, and families will be asked to sit together.
  • Each service will be about 45 minutes and include 2-3 worship songs, the sermon, Communion via pre-packaged elements, and we are transitioning to offering boxes on the walls of the Main Auditorium.
  • We will not have a greeting time, and the Commons will not be open for fellowship between services. There will not be coffee served on Sunday mornings at this time.
  • There will not be children’s or youth programming in the building on Sunday mornings at this time. 
  • Following the closing prayer, you will be given instructions from the stage about dismissal. We will dismiss by rows, and you will be asked to exit the building at that time so cleaning can begin in preparation for the next service.

 

I realize this is not a perfect scenario. I realize this is a different reality than we all experienced back in early March prior to the shutdown. My hope and prayer is that we will all do our very best to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. I hope we can come together as a church during this time and model for our community that is watching what Christian love and unity looks like in the midst of trying times.

 

Last week, Stephanie Spangler and I welcomed to Direct Line two of our staff at Second Church, Dale DeNeal and Darrell Paddock, both of whom were infected with COVID-19 in late June. You can catch the entire interview at vermilioncountyfirst.com, but I wanted to share with you their thoughts on the entire experience with coronavirus and what lessons they learned.

 

Greg: What lessons do you think you learned through this? If you were to try to think through something that you feel like you maybe took from this, what would you say? Either one of you jump in.

 

Dale: I would say I'm not afraid of COVID. I don't think there is anything you should be afraid of or fear, but you should respect it. I think there are a lot of people who don't respect it and actually maybe have a little bit more of a cavalier kind of attitude toward it. Because of that, I don't think they often think about the potential impact they can have on other people.

 

I know there is a lot of debate about the masks, but I think if you wear a mask… For any other reason, you should wear a mask for the benefit of the other people, because you don't know if you have it. I was contagious 24 hours before I had any of the symptoms, so you don't know if you may have it or are contagious, so really, for the benefit of other people, I think you should wear a mask.

 

Greg: Darrell, what about you? Any lessons you think you learned through this?

 

Darrell: Yeah. I think I learned several lessons. I was probably one of those cavalier people or one of those people who thought, "We just have to all get this and move on." I haven't changed a lot about the way I think about COVID. I never was afraid of COVID, and I'm still not afraid of COVID, but just how we treat each other through COVID. I think that part I've changed.

 

My brother, Randy, is in South Carolina, and we had some discussion over the phone while I had plenty of time to have discussions over the phone about how I thought about COVID and the whole mask issue. Like Dale said, there is a lot of controversy over we shouldn't be forced to wear a mask, and he was able to help me, I think, with why he feels like it's okay to wear a mask.

 

I know there are pros and cons on both sides of the fence, but if we call ourselves believers in Jesus Christ and we truly want that compassion Christ gave us, is a mask really going to hurt us to put it on? It's for the cause of Christ if it's to help that person not to get sick. I think it's a good reason to wear it.

 

Greg: That's great. That's great.

 

Dale: One more really quick thing. I think another learning from this was just to see how God's people respond in times of need. I mean, we were just so extremely blessed by our Connect Group and staff members and people calling and seeing how we were doing and bringing food by and meals and people offering to mow my yard.

 

In fact, one individual, Matt Goodner… I called him. That's what he does for a living. I called him and said, "Hey! I need you, if you can, to mow my yard for me." I had full intentions of paying him, and he did it twice. I said, "Send me a bill," and he said, "Don't worry about it." I appreciated that. There was just that general outpouring of love and compassion, and I was really blessed by that.

 

Darrell: Yeah. I'd like to share a final thought. Let's try not to be critical of each other with the way we think about COVID. I think the biggest thing for me and the struggle I've had is seeing friends of mine and how it has divided them on how they feel about the virus and what we should do or shouldn't do. I think we all know there is a lot of what ifs out there still about the virus. If we can do anything, it's to treat each other with compassion and not be critical of the way we think what a person should or shouldn't do with this virus.

 

Greg: It sounds like the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

 

We love you Second Church! I hope you will join us this Sunday for one of four worship options. Our online livestream service at 9:30 a.m. on the Second Church YouTube channel or the Second Church Facebook page, or you will join us in person at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., or 11:00 a.m.

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

  • We begin a brand new study this Sunday morning, August 2! Our five-week series entitled What Made Jesus Mad will look at several possible answers, including Indifference, Insiders, Judgment, and Rules/Traditions. This series is based on the book What Made Jesus Mad by Tim Harlow from Parkview Christian Church in the south suburbs of Chicago. I hope you will join us!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the parables of Jesus from the gospel of Luke. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we interview Second Church staff members Kiley Garrison and Brandon Allen. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

 

Finally this week, congratulations to Dale and Donna DeNeal, who were honored on Sunday for 20 years of ministry at Second Church! I’m am so grateful for all Dale does in his role of Executive Minister at Second Church, and I would encourage YOU to reach out to this special couple and personally thank them for ALL they do! They are truly a blessing!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

July 22, 2020

This week on the 929 Daily Word, it is Christmas in July, and I am loving every minute of it! No, I didn’t recently endure a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie marathon. Yes, I realize it is July and not December. In my opinion, it is always appropriate to look at the account of the incarnation from Gospel writers Matthew and Luke, whether there is snow on the ground, and we are cold, or there are people in swimming pools, and we are sweating! The truth of the birth of Jesus NEVER gets old and is certainly NOT a seasonal sensation!

 

In preparation for this week, I spent a lot of time in Matthew chapters 1 and 2 and Luke chapters 1 and 2, as well as the Old Testament books of Isaiah and Micah. If I was really good, we might even look at Revelation, chapter 12, although I’ll save that for one of our Christmas sermons this December. When I read these accounts, especially Matthew and Luke, several phrases jump out at me, and each are relevant 12 months a year! Consider some of the quotes of Christmas biblically speaking:

 

#1 – All over the Christmas narrative is this encouragement from angels: Do Not Be Afraid. Probably most memorable of all is this encouragement the Shepherds receive from the Angels as they were watching their flocks on a night they would never forget! But so many others in this narrative receive the same encouragement! Zechariah is told to not be afraid. Mary is told to not be afraid. Joseph is told to not be afraid. It is a constant command of scripture: FEAR NOT. When we study the Christmas account, we can’t miss this: Do Not Be Afraid! What a great reminder during the season of COVID-19 to Fear Not!

 

#2 – On Tuesday this week during the 929 Daily Word, Stephanie shared with us from the encounter Mary had with the angel Gabriel when she receives this unforgettable truth that is another “quote” of Christmas: Nothing is Impossible with God! I think it is pretty easy in 2020 to lose sight of this promise from God’s Word. Each morning in my office, I am reminded of this truth, that nothing is impossible with God, thanks to a small sign on my desk bearing this message. Let’s never find ourselves attempting to put God in a box. Let’s remind ourselves regularly of the GREATNESS of our God!

 

#3 – Possibly the most famous word quote of the Christmas from the Bible is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” We first see this word from the prophet Isaiah in chapters 7 and 8, but it is Matthew’s gospel and his reference to Isaiah 7:14 that sticks with most of us. I can still hear Amy Grant singing “Emmanuel.” (I guess that is a good thing.) This quote reminds us of the gift of God’s presence in our lives. The last word of Jesus according to the gospel of Matthew is a promise of presence: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The incarnation (“Immanuel, God with us”) should always remind us of the uniqueness of Christianity and the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

 

#4 – The final quote of Christmas I will share about this week also comes from Matthew 1 and involves the instruction Joseph receives related to the naming of his soon to be born son. “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Right there in the birth narrative, before Jesus is even born in a manger in the city of David, we learn the “why” of the incarnation. What is another way of saying this? Christ was born to SAVE!

 

Here’s the point from my perspective: You cannot see the cradle of the Christmas narrative without also seeing the cross of Calvary. Jesus didn’t come to simply share some cool stories and perform some great miracles. Jesus Christ was born to save! “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

So there you have it, my friends, (some of the quotes of Christmas). Great promises of hope anytime of the year. Merry Christmas in July, Second Church!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday July 26, Kiley Garrison will conclude our short three-week series entitled The  Letdown. I hope you will join us!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about Christmas in July. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we interview Bean Hohn from Hohn’s Tank Wash in Danville and Second Church staff members Dale DeNeal and Darrell Paddock share about their recent experiences with COVID-19. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

july 14, 2020

Sunday’s worship service was personally so encouraging for me on multiple levels. After a two-week absence due to a Covid-19 reality within our staff, we were back “live” on Sunday morning for our online gathering. It also marked the first worship service in our main auditorium in over four months (March 8). I had very little to do personally for the service on Sunday, and it was great to sit back and sing songs of worship and be encouraged by the words of Kiley Garrison during the sermon and Terry Goodwin during the communion devotion. It was just what the good Doctor ordered for my soul!

 

Sunday was the first of three weeks looking at the reality of disappointment and discouragement in the life of Christ followers. I think, in so many ways, 2020 has proved to be just that: a year of disappointment and discouragement. We invited the families of those involved in the worship service Sunday to join us and it was emotional and impacting for me.

 

I looked around and saw Abbey and Becca Garrison, two recent high-school graduates who lost out on so much of their senior year and are attempting to navigate what going to college is like in the season of COVID-19. I looked around and saw the Goodwin family, special friends who are heartbroken as they watch cousins they love so much deal with the terrible reality of brain cancer. Disappointment. Discouragement. The title of our series is The Letdown, and 2020 has certainly lived up to this billing!

 

Stephanie Spangler, Adam Singley, and our worship team (Justin Silver, Madi Goodwin, and Teagyn Goodwin) did a great job on Sunday leading us in songs that spoke to this reality. I guess I wasn’t paying attention much growing up, but I don’t think I ever remember singing the hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

 

This song that was written way back in 1905 was so fitting for 2020, and I loved the social media images Steph complemented the song with during our service, but maybe most touching and impacting of all for me was the song Blessings by Laura Story we sang following Kiley’s sermon. Here are the lyrics of the song Blessings by Laura Story:

 

We pray for blessings. We pray for peace.

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.

We pray for healing, for prosperity.

We pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

All the while, you hear each spoken need.

Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

 

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near?

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

 

We pray for wisdom and your voice to hear.

We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near.

We doubt your goodness, and we doubt your love.

As if every promise from your Word is not enough.

All the while you hear each desperate plea.
And long that we'd have faith to believe.

 

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?

What if your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near?

What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

 

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win

We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home!

 

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life

is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?

What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights

Are your mercies in disguise?

 

What powerful and meaningful lyrics that remind us this world is broken and full of disappointment and discouragement, but our God is still on the throne! When you dig deeper and learn the “why” behind this song, it brings an even richer meaning. Laura Story and her husband Martin had been married for two years when they learned he had brain cancer, and they prayed fervently that healing would ensue, and it simply didn’t happen. Laura Story shares about this tough reality:

 

“What does it look like when I spend years praying for healing for my husband that never comes? I feel like we’ve gotten to a place of having to make a choice. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don’t understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we hold to be true of God? I’m learning that every morning when I wake up, to choose to trust God, and that’s what ‘Blessings’ is about. It’s just considering … MAYBE THE BLESSING IS ACTUALLY FOUND IN THE ABSENCE OF THE THING THAT I’M PRAYING FOR.

"Behind The Album "Blessings" With Laura Story"FreeCCM. March 18, 2011.

 

Laura Story also talks about the importance and impact of the church during seasons of disappointment and discouragement:

 

Sometimes people think church is a place you have to show up having everything together, but that's the very reason we go to church. Because it's the one place in life we can let our hair down and say, ‘No, I don't have it all together. I need Jesus, and I need Jesus in the form of the body of Christ.   I need Jesus' hands and feet to come around me, love me, and really help me through this.” That's one of the things we were reminded of so clearly through Martin's diagnosis—that we were never created to walk through life alone.”

"Laura Story on the Healing Power of Community"Today's Christian Woman. December 1, 2013.

 

“What if the trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the darkest nights, are God’s mercies in disguise?” A reminder once again that for followers of Jesus this world is not our home; we are just passing through! I pray these next five and a half months of 2020 are full of joy and happiness and gatherings! But regardless, let us never forget what ultimately matters most: saving faith in Jesus Christ, no matter the circumstance. Let us never forget how much we need each other and the difference Christian community makes!

 

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

 

Blessings, Second Church, in a “Laura Story” kind of way!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, I am blessed to share a message on the reality of discouragement and disappointment in the life of Elijah the prophet from 1 Kings 19 as we continue a short three-week series entitled The  Letdown. I hope you will join us!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the book of 1 Peter. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we interview Deanna Witzel from Vermilion County McDonalds and several folks from the leadership of The Vermilion County Step Up Initiative. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please! 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

JULY 9, 2020

One of the blessings of my first year of ministry at Second Church has been the weekly radio show Direct Line. I’m so thankful for the leadership of Second Church and their willingness to launch this show that looks at the events of our world and our community through the lens of faith. I have been blessed to have several great partners in this journey each week.

 

Stephanie Spangler agreed to serve as show co-host early on and has been an excellent partner in this venture. I cannot imagine doing DL without Steph! Ben Smith has served as our audio technician in recording the show weekly since the beginning of Covid-19, and Darrell Paddock has also been invaluable on the tech side of the show.

 

Understand, without Ben and Darrell, there would be no Direct Line at this point week in and week out. I am so thankful for their help in everything! Dale DeNeal embraced the role of securing sponsors for Direct Line and simply excelled from the very beginning in assuring we have a full lineup of sponsors! To say I am thankful for these four would be an understatement!

 

This week brought show #19 (that is hard to believe) and the first two author interviews for Steph and me. Tyler Smith from Crawfordsville, Indiana recently wrote a book entitled Searching for Seven: The Journey of Seeking God Seven Days a Week and Granda Lea Chambers from Veedersburg, Indiana, wrote a book entitled Together We Cried. I highly recommend both of these books, and I want to share briefly this week about each author.

 

I first met Tyler Smith back in 2004 when I was serving as Director of Admissions at Lincoln Christian College (now University) and Tyler enrolled as a student from Crawfordsville. I had the opportunity to lead a Spiritual Formation Group Tyler was a part of that first semester, and it is a reminder to me of the many students who are serving God today in meaningful and powerful ways from that era at LCC!

 

Tyler is currently the Youth Minister at New Hope Christian Church in Crawfordsville and also is blessed to spend time both coaching basketball in the area and writing about the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Hoosiers for indysportslegends.com. Tyler’s book tackles the challenge every Christ follower faces: following Jesus each and every day. Far too many fall in the trap of trying to simply “DO” church. I highly recommend this book, and it was so good to reconnect with Tyler this week on Direct Line!

 

Granda Lea Chambers wrote about the journey her son Bryan Chambers endured after being severely injured as a United State Marine in 2007 during the Iraqi surge. I read this book on Friday and Saturday (the 4th of July) last week and found myself crying tears of sadness during much of the first part of the book and then fighting back the emotion of anger during much of the second part.

 

I am so thankful for the men and women who have and do serve our country in the Armed Forces. Freedom isn’t free, and this book was a personal reminder of how precious each and every life is and how much collateral damage unfolds when a soldier is injured. It was heartbreaking to read about the intense heartbreak this family endured as their son struggled to survive and also frustrating beyond words at the obstacles they faced during his recovery at three different hospitals that exist to serve our injured heroes. This book was also so good for soul, full of so much spiritual encouragement from Granda, her husband Craig, and their daughter Holly via Caring Bridge entries shared during the darkest of days. I highly recommend Together We Cried!

 

Both books can be found on Amazon, and if you need assistance finding these books, just reach out to Stephanie or me and we will get you pointed in the right direction. Don’t forget to listen to Direct Line each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 WDAN (or catch the livestream) or catch the replay at the Direct Line link on vermilioncountyfirstcom. Steph and I also link articles and resources for DL on the Direct Line Facebook page. We would love to hear any feedback about the show!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, we are blessed to have Kiley Garrison share a message on the sad reality of discouragement and disappointment in the life of a Christ follower as we begin a short three-week series entitled The  Letdown. I hope you will join us!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a ten-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the book of 2 Corinthians. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, we interview two authors from the state of Indiana, Tyler Smith from Crawfordsville and Granda Lea Chambers from Covington. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

 

july 1, 2020

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

On this week 244 years ago, these words written by Thomas Jefferson were agreed to by 57 men from the 13 American colonies and changed the course of history forever. These beginning lines of the Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776, two days after a 12-0-1 vote for the resolution for independence (New York abstained) by the Continental Congress, set in motion a seven-year war that resulted in a new country: the United States Of America. I am so thankful for our founding fathers and their willingness to risk everything for the cause of freedom.

 

In fact, this is the final long sentence of the Declaration of Independence: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Commitment. Courage. A Calling. Reading this document still gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes. Every. Single. Time.

 

I realize in 2020, it is not “cool” or “fashionable” to write about patriotism or love of country. I absolutely acknowledge that in 2020 we are a deeply divided nation in many ways. That said, I am so incredibly thankful to be an American. I still believe without question America is a great country, and I’m thankful for the men and women, both past and present, who have worked and labored and even died for the blessing of freedom. I have traveled to other countries and each time I am away from the USA I am reminded how truly blessed we are in America!

 

The question then must be asked, “What is a healthy balance for a follower of Jesus who lives in the United States of America when it comes to issues of patriotism and faith?” I have thought a lot about this question lately, and I would like to share three answers I have arrived at. I would also like to recommend an article by Ed Stetzer from Wheaton College entitled The Patriotism and the Church. https://influencemagazine.com/theory/patriotism-and-the-church

 

GT’s Three thoughts:

 

First, I am proud to be an American, but my primary citizenship is in heaven. The apostle Paul said exactly this to the Christians at Philippi: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) I will never cease to be thankful for those who have gone before me for the cause of freedom, but I am, and always will be, first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ.

 

Secondly, I am proud to be an American, but my first and most important commitment is to the Kingdom of God. One of the troubling aspects of the Ed Stetzer article mentioned above involved the results of a LifeWay research study of 1,000 Protestant clergy in the USA. Pastors were asked to either agree or disagree with this statement: “Our congregation sometimes seems to love America more than God.” Results showed 53 percent of those surveyed agreed with this statement. If you are a follower of Jesus, understand this reality is unacceptable. Jesus was crystal clear: No one can serve two masters.

 

The apostle Peter put it like this in 1 Peter 2:9-10 when writing to Christ followers: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Amen!

 

Finally, I am proud to be an American, but will never grow tired of proclaiming that ultimate freedom is found ONLY in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so thankful we live in the land of the free. I am thankful for the blessings of religious freedom and liberty. Even when I personally disagree with certain actions, like kneeling for the national anthem or burning the American flag, I am thankful we live in a country where freedom allows such behavior.

 

But I believe the ultimate and enduring freedom in this life (and the next) is found only in Jesus Christ. This spiritual freedom from the sting and stain of SIN and spiritual DEATH is an eternal blessing for anyone and everyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! The apostle Paul articulated this truth well in the last verse of 2 Corinthians 5: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

Have a great week, and by all means, please celebrate the 4th of July! I certainly will, but never lose sight of our highest calling and great blessing as followers of Jesus!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, I am blessed to share a message entitled “Let Freedom Reign.” I hope you will join us!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a six- to seven-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, our good friend and fellow staff member Terry Goodwin joins us for all four segments, as we look at patriotism and the church, as well as Serve Together 2020. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

June, 25 2020

It is really hard to believe one week from today begins the second half of 2020! What a year 2020 has proved to be thus far! Dare I predict that the final six months of 2020 will be an improvement over the craziness of the first six? Or maybe not?

 

This week I want to write about law enforcement and share my personal perspective and also leave you with some spiritual encouragement to ponder. Understand I have never been involved in the world of law enforcement, but I was blessed and considered it an honor to serve as chaplain for the DeWitt County Sheriff’s department my final three years at Clinton FCC.

 

My perspective: I am personally so very thankful for the men and women who have committed to serving in law enforcement. Sadly, we live in a world that is broken and troubled in so many ways, and it is both humbling and encouraging to think we have people who make a career of running toward trouble and not away from it. My son was contemplating a career in law enforcement for a time, and I must confess my heart was truly conflicted. In my opinion, we are a better community, state, and country as a result of the vast majority of the men and women in law enforcement!

 

One more reality that defines my perspective: I have never had a bad experience with law enforcement. Ever. Even when I have found myself encountering law enforcement because of speeding or otherwise, I have always been at fault and I have always been treated fairly. That is my experience. I realize this has not been the perspective of everyone.

 

In no way am I attempting to minimize or dismiss the experiences others have had. In no way am I saying there have not been mistakes or even worse made by men or women in law enforcement. I am sure there are law enforcement personnel who do not do justice to their profession and have behaved unacceptably.

 

I know that is true for my profession and my wife Marla’s profession, but here is a reality for you to consider: Most people do not say we should do away with preachers or teachers because of the moral failure or criminal activity of a preacher or teacher (thankfully). It literally sickens my stomach when I learn about the bad behavior of a fellow preacher or teacher, but never once have I thought the answer to this bad behavior is to simply eliminate an entire ministry staff or an entire teaching faculty. From my perspective, this seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak.

 

Spiritual encouragement: What is the answer for people of faith? What are we called to do during our present reality? Let me suggest three action steps:

 

First, we MUST PRAY for our law-enforcement professionals. Especially during times like we are experiencing in America in 2020, we must make this a matter of prayer. If you are reading this blog and you are frustrated with law-enforcement professionals for whatever reason, I encourage you to pray.  If you are heartbroken over the difficult reality law-enforcement professionals are facing, I encourage you to pray. If you personally know law-enforcement professionals, please pray for them by name and let them know you are praying for them.

 

Second, we need to ENGAGE RELATIONALLY in the name of Jesus with law-enforcement professionals. This is pretty easy for me to share because I have never had a negative experience. Here is the thing. A law-enforcement professional is a person. They are a son or a daughter, and in many cases, they are a husband or a wife and a father or a mother. One reality of a majority of law enforcement is that they regularly see people at their very worst, one way or another. We should encourage the men and women in law enforcement in our communities in the name of Jesus!

 

Finally, when needed, SPEAK TRUTH in LOVE. It is important as Christ followers when we hear of gross infractions and bad behavior to speak truthfully about bad behavior. Last fall, as I prepared to share a video illustration during a sermon on forgiveness and mercy that showed a black man forgive the white female former police officer who killed his brother in an unacceptable manner, I reached out to a local law-enforcement leader to let him know of my intentions. I expected him to ask me to not amplify the reality that the shooter was an off-duty police officer. I was somewhat surprise, and very thankful, for his response: “Please don’t soft-sell it! What she did was completely unacceptable and makes all police look terrible. I don’t know anyone who would support such terrible behavior.” Speak the truth in love.

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, we conclude a month -ong look at the church, with a message from Philippians 2 and the power of OUR ATTITUDES. I am very excited to hear Kiley Garrison share with our church this Sunday!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the book of Colossians. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Jim Russell from 708 Mental Health Board in Danville as well as Daniel Chappell from Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

June 17, 2020

The past several days have brought a diversity of experiences, and I have been blessed by each and every one! Much of the time, routine wins the day for those of us in ministry. The past four days proved to be anything but routine! Let me share with you my perspective on Saturday through Tuesday.

  • Last Saturday evening, Marla and I were blessed to attend the RISE UP worship gathering at the Community Church of God, organized by LeStan and Jennifer Hoskins. It was estimated over 300 gathered in the backyard of the church, and I was so thankful to be asked to share a message on UNITY among churches in our community. The answer to the problems facing our country and our community can be summarized in one word: JESUS! My hope and prayer are that many more RISE UP worship gatherings will take place in the months ahead!
  • The Second Church Sunday morning live stream included an important sermon from our Junior High minister Jake Weece on the problem of DIVISION in the church. To say Jake did a good job would be a massive understatement! If you missed his sermon, I strongly encourage you to listen to the podcast on our website or on the Second Church App. Also, I was personally so moved by the worship song Is He Worthy? This worship song by Andrew Peterson was the perfect culmination and a wonderful morning of worship! Great job, Stephanie Spangler, on planning the service and plugging in so many of our worship team! It was great to see a full stage once again
  • Sunday evening brought our long-awaited Covington Worship Night and to say it was a blessing would be an understatement. I was overwhelmed by the turnout and so thankful for our staff. Many have inquired about how many were in attendance. My official answer is 249, of course, but what do preachers know about counting? Adam Singley, Stephanie Spangler, Matt Goodner, Denton Hird, and Jason Landis did a great job leading us in a six-song worship set and I appreciate so much the words from Kiley Garrison! Great night! Many have also asked, “When is the next worship night?” Stay tuned. I want to say a huge thank you to good folks in Covington and especially the leadership of the Covington Park for their willingness to welcome us, and it would not have been possible without the hard work of Darrell Paddock, Ben Smith, Tim Holycross, Terry Goodwin and Billy Fares!
  • On Monday morning I made the drive back to Clinton, IL to share the funeral sermon for my friend Norman Emery who died much too soon at the age of 52 of brain cancer. A true American hero who served our country in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Norman is a great example of what a hungry Christ follower looks like! Norman’s life was transformed specifically by these words of Jesus in Matthew 16 and Luke 9: “What good does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose or forfeit his very self?” Through the tears of sorrow and sadness on Monday morning, I was reminded in a poignant way what a true disciple of Jesus looks like and how a Christ follower approaches and embraces their impending death with kingdom lenses. Thank you, Norman, for your example to all of us!
  • On Monday night we were blessed to host the online Forum on Race and the Church here at the Second Church building. Terry Goodwin moderated the hour-long conversation on social media and said we had about 200 folks online at peak times between Facebook Live and the Second Church YouTube channel. I’m very encouraged by those numbers, especially for a Monday night in the summer! I’m even more encouraged by the dialogue that happened between important leaders of the Christian faith in our community! Thank you to Miles Clark from Crossroads Christian Church, LeStan Hoskins from the Hope Center, Randy Robinson from St. James United Methodist Church, Thomas Miller from New Life Church of Faith, and Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff Communications. The Forum will be rebroadcast on 1490AM at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, and is available in podcast form at vermilioncountyfirst.com
  • Thank you so much to Darrell Paddock, Ben Smith, Jason Landis, Erik Cisney, Dale DeNeal, Brandon Clapp, Tonya Ward, Stephanie Spangler, and Marla Taylor for helping make Monday evening a reality! I am blessed by each of you and your love for our church and the kingdom!
  • Finally, on Tuesday morning several of us delivered almost 250 boxes of food to five food pantries throughout the Vermilion Valley. Thank you, Second Church, for your generosity with food donations, and thank you to Kiley Garrison for organizing all of the logistics of the Second Church Food Drive 2020! We were blessed to bless five food pantries: The Antioch Baptist Church food pantry, the Holy Family food pantry, the Danville township food pantry, the Georgetown township food pantry and the Covington Community food pantry. Thank you to Nathan Campbell for providing your truck and equipment for delivery, and thank you to Kiley and Stephen Garrison, Jake Weece, Tim Holycross, and Nathan Campbell for delivering the boxes of food! 

A busy four days without a doubt! But very much a blessed four days! God is so good!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, we continue a month-long look at the church, with a message from James 3 and the power of OUR WORDS. I am very excited to share with our church this Sunday!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the book of Philippians. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Sam George from Mad Goat Coffee in Danville as well as Laura Williams from Danville Area Community College. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

June 10, 2020

June 9 has been a pretty important date for my family the past couple of years. In 2018, we were blessed on June 9 as our daughter Jordan married the love of her life, Jacob Vangen. This blessed day was the culmination of over 20 years of prayer! From the moment Jordan was born in Springfield, IL, in March of 1996, we prayed for this day! We prayed for Jacob. We are so thankful and proud and blessed. Today, Jacob and Jordan serve the Bridge Point Christian Church in East Providence, Rhode Island, serving the Lord in the world of student ministry. What a great day!

 

Last year, June 9 was also an important day. On that warm Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach for Second Church for the very first time. I still remember so much about that morning. It was only the second time in my life I was asked to bring a “trial” sermon, and I was full of so much energy. You might even say I found myself battling nerves.

 

If one word were to describe that morning, it might be KINDNESS. Our staff at Second Church went above and beyond to love on Marla and me that day. The leadership of Second Church blessed us with words and expressions of kindness. What about the church at large? So many expressions of love and kindness throughout the morning! From RJ exhorting me to “PREACH” to dozens and dozens of handshakes, hugs, and kind words, our morning was full of so much affirmation and acceptance in the name of Jesus! What a blessed day!

 

So what is the point of all of this, you might be asking? Shouldn’t I be writing about COVID or the CRISIS our country is facing? Possibly, but instead this week, I want to share my perspective on a very special day and leave you with a couple of encouragements:

 

First, never lose sight of the power of PRAYER. If you are a parent or grandparent, never stop praying for your children and grandchildren, no matter the circumstance. I look back over the past 24 years, and I give God all the glory for blessing my family and our daughter, but I’m also reminded of some tough days and nights, some questions I struggled to answer, and the tension we can live in as people of faith. PRAY, no matter what!

 

Second, never forget the difference LOVE and KINDNESS will make! I’m reminded of the words of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:8: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” How different might our country be RIGHT NOW if we adopted the wisdom of Peter? How impacting will our community and our church be RIGHT NOW and MOVING FORWARD if we lived out 1 Peter 4:8? Love and kindness! Let’s live it out in the name of Jesus!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, we continue a month-long look at the church, with a message from our Junior High Minister, Jake Weece, on the problem of DIVISION in the church from John 17.
  • Special opportunities over the next 6 days:
  • RISE UP gathering at the Community Church of God on Saturday, June 13, from 6:00-7:30pm. I have been asked to be one of the speakers, and I cannot wait to share about UNITY in the body of Christ! I hope you will join Marla and me this Saturday evening for RISE UP. 
  • COVINGTON Park Worship Night on Sunday, June 14, at 5:00 p.m. Illinois time/6:00 p.m. Indiana time at the city park in Covington. PLEASE practice social distancing! Please be respectful of others and their wishes related to masks and contact. Please make sure we treat the park property with respect and care.
  • Livestream Forum on Race and the Church on Monday, June 15, at 7:00 p.m. I am so excited Second Church is hosting this important evening of conversation, and I am thankful that Miles Clark from Crossroads, LeStan Hoskins from the Hope Center, Thomas Miller from New Life Church of Faith, and Randy Robinson from St. James United Methodist Church will join me and Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff Communications. You can catch this on Facebook Live or the Second Church YouTube Channel or catch the replay on radio (1490AM) on Wednesday, June 17, at 5:00 p.m.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from the book of Ephesians. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Minister LeStan Hoskins from The Hope Center in Danville as well as area school leaders Phil Cox from Salt Fork and Seth Miller from Westville. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

June 3, 2020

We are living in unprecedented times! How often have you heard this phrase over the past almost three months? Just a guess here, but I think unprecedented is the runaway winner for word of the year in 2020! COVID-19 has really had an impact!

 

But over the past 10 days, the focus has seemingly left all things coronavirus and landed squarely in the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minnesota and the aftermath of events that are heartbreaking and ever changing. My hometown of Champaign and other communities in central Illinois have seen widespread rioting and looting that is unfolding literally all over our country.

 

So what is the answer? What are people of faith able to do? Speaking honestly as a white man who follows Jesus, what should I do when so many people of color are hurting and angry and troubled? What is my call? What is your call?

 

Most Monday afternoons recently, I have been blessed to be a panelist for a weekly webinar led by Dr. Jody Owens from Johnson University, along with Dr. Carlos Gupton from Harding School of Religion in Memphis and Pastor Jeff Noel from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I am certainly the weak link in the chain! During our webinar this week, Jody Owens shared three recommendations for followers of Jesus for such a time as this, and I want to pass these on this week.

 

First of all, Christ followers need to begin with a time of SELF-EXAMINATION. Honestly ask yourself, “Where is my heart?” Truly assess the condition of your soul. Are there racist tendencies at play in your life? There is power when we are willing to humble ourselves and examine our minds, our hearts, and our lives. It reminds me of the lyrics of that 80s/90s chorus: “Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like you!”

 

Secondly, followers of Jesus should keep OUR MINDS and OUR HEARTS UPON GOD. For some of us, that might mean turning off cable news or taking a sabbatical from social media and spending time in God’s Word strategically. Just speaking honestly, too much Facebook/Twitter and too much Fox News/MSNBC/CNN is NOT good for my soul! Last week, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t have access to cable or satellite TV most of the week. At first, I was pretty disappointed with this reality. It ended up being one of the greatest blessings of my week!

 

This Friday during our 929 Daily Word, Stephanie Spangler will be looking at two single verses of Scripture in the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. Verse 11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Verse 105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Let’s commit to live the contemplative life! Let’s keep our minds and our hearts focused upon what really matters most!

 

Thirdly and finally, LISTEN TO THOSE WITH DIFFERENT LIFE EXPERIENCES. Like so many of you, I have truly lived a blessed life up to this point. I have never had an unpleasant experience with someone from law enforcement specifically as a result of the color of my skin. I have never been the victim of racial profiling. I want to believe because it hasn’t happened to me, then it hasn’t happened at all.

 

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Please understand, I believe MANY in law enforcement are really good men and women who protect and serve in the most honorable ways. I am so thankful for the leadership of Danville Chief of Police Chris Yates and his heartfelt statement this weekend, but to ignore the reality and experience of others is simply wrong.

 

On Sunday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours hiking at Kennekuk and listening to podcasts, and I was especially moved by Ed Stetzer’s weekly show featuring fellow Wheaton professor and New Testament scholar Dr. Esau McCaulley. It was both informative and anguishing to listen to the very different perspective of a fellow Christ follower on the issue of race in our country. I am a better Christ follower when I am willing to listen. James 1:19 states it like this: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

 

(The link to article from Ed Stetzer with Esau McCaulley is here:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/june/race-in-america-interview-with-esau-mccaulley-part-two.html.)

 

Maybe one of the most important things YOU can do right now is listen to others. Another much used phrase over the past couple of months is, “We are all in this together.” (Cue the song from High School Musical.) If this can be our reality because of COVID-19 craziness, it should be our reality for all things in life! Thanks for listening and considering. Blessings to you.

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, we begin a month-long look at the church with a message from Acts 2:42-47.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing from one of the Psalms. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Pastor Thomas Miller from New Life Church of Faith and Danville City Councilwoman Brenda Brown as well as Joyce Bruett from the Danville YMCA. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

MAY 20, 2020

Sunday’s worship gathering via the livestream was such a blessing for me personally! I was able to have more of a behind-the-scenes roll and was really thankful for all aspects of the morning from Kiley Garrison’s sermon to the video submittals to our live worship with Adam and Steph along with Justin Silver and Darrell Paddock.

 

The highlight of the morning for me was the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” by Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888). Simply put, this is my personal favorite hymn for so many reasons and a song that touches my soul each time I hear it! Do you know the story behind this beautiful hymn? If not, you probably will not believe what you are about to read!

 

Horatio Spafford was a lawyer and real estate investor from Chicago who enjoyed much success in life with his wife Anna and their five children (one son and four daughters). The storms of life began to visit in 1871 when the Spafford family lost their 4-year-old son to scarlet fever just months before losing the majority of their property holdings in the great Chicago Fire.

 

Then, two years later, the unthinkable happened. The Spafford family planned a trip to Europe, but business kept Horatio behind for several days. Just Anna and the four daughters made the voyage on the Ville du Harve. In the early morning hours of November 22, 1873, the ship the Spaffords were traveling on was struck by another vessel and began to sink rapidly.

 

Two-hundred and twenty-six people died in the shipwreck. Only Anna survived. She sent word to her husband of the tragedy with a two-word telegram: “Saved. Alone.” I personally cannot imagine the grief Horatio Spafford must have felt. I cannot fathom the thoughts he must have wrestled with. What heartbreak! What pain! What agony!

 

On his own voyage to meet his dear Anna in Europe, he was notified as his ship approached the location of the great tragedy. In the midst of his grief and sorrow, Horatio put into words the meditation of his heart:

 

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrow like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought

My sin not in part but the whole

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!

 

 

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend

Even so, it is well with my soul.

 

It is well, it is well

With my soul, with my soul

It is well, it is well, with my soul

 

I’m thankful for men and women of faith like Horatio Spafford who in the midst of the darkest and deepest of valleys are able to cling to faith in Jesus. May we have faith like that, a faith that proclaims NO MATTER the circumstance, it is well with my soul!

 

We are in week four of our Dangerous Prayers series. Hopefully you have secured your copy of the book Dangerous Prayers and are in the process of reading it this month. Connect with our Dangerous Prayers daily prayer calendar. You can find this resource on both the Second Church APP and also on our website under the “RESOURCES” tab.

 

Please continue to send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s stay faithful in our giving, 2CC! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 10 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, I am blessed and honored to bring Part 5 of our Dangerous Prayers sermon study based on the prayer MAKE ME BOLD from Daniel 6 and Acts 4.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph) from the book of Genesis. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Bill and Mary Lou Knight from Lakewood Insurance in Danville (DL sponsors!) and Pastor Paul Rebert from First Baptist Church in Danville. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please. 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

May 13, 2020

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and despite the reality of COVID-19 so many found new and creative ways to make sure Mom felt loved and was honored. Social media was full of pictures and videos with tributes and celebrations. I’m thankful for my mother, Dorothy, my mother-in-law, Lavina, and my wife, Marla, the mother of my children. I can’t imagine what life would be like without these women of faith in my world!

 

I’m also aware that Mother’s Day is a difficult day for some in our communities. I had the chance to interact early Sunday morning with a church member who lost her mother just a couple of months ago and was not excited about the day. There are others who don’t enjoy this day due to the difficulty of becoming pregnant or the sad reality that their earthly mother fell far short of what was hoped for and expected.

 

This contrast is a great reminder for Christ followers to step outside our context and comfort and look for the hurting and struggling in our midst. One of the downsides of social media in my opinion is we see everyone’s “best” much of the time. Frankly, that is not life! No one is “UP” all the time, despite what Facebook or Instagram might seem to project.

 

Bottom line? Life is downright difficult sometimes, so let us be people of faith with our eyes and ears wide open, looking and listening for opportunities to encourage and comfort those in our life who are struggling or hurting. Let us truly bear one another’s burdens in the name of Jesus Christ for the glory of God!

 

We are in week 3 of our Dangerous Prayers series. Make sure you get a copy of the book Dangerous Prayers and read it this month. Connect with our Dangerous Prayers daily prayer calendar. You can find this resource on both the Second Church APP and also on our website under the “RESOURCES” tab. Please continue to send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so thankful for everyone at Second Church and amazed by your continued generosity! Let’s keep it rolling, Second Church! Don’t forget there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

 

2. Online giving – We have seen over 100 people begin giving online in the last 9 weeks!

 

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, Kiley Garrison will be preaching part 4 of our Dangerous Prayers sermons on the prayer STRETCH ME from Philippians 3.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about a key passage of Scripture from the New Testament book of Galatians. One way you can help more and more people connect with this Daily Word is to SHARE the video on your personal Facebook page!
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Gary Baker from Hanging Rock Christian Camp and Ben Smith from our staff at Second Church. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

We have made the decision to suspend the Recovery Connect livestream on Tuesday evenings at this time and instead are encouraging our Celebrate Recovery family to tune in each night at 8:00 p.m. Illinois time to the CR Facebook page. In addition, we are hopeful that some CR small groups can meet at some point in the not-so-distant future via Zoom or other platforms. We miss you, CR! Keep the faith!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

May 6, 2020

Blessings, Second Church, on this first Wednesday of May! I hope you are doing well and are having a great week. I so look forward to the time when we will be able to gather again, but I remain so thankful for the blessing of technology and the ability to connect through our livestream Sundays, our 929 Daily Word Devos and the Thursday morning Direct Line radio program!

 

We are in the middle of a five-week PRAYER journey, so please remember to embrace the following:

  • Get a copy of the book Dangerous Prayers and read it during the month of May. 
  • Tomorrow, May 7, is the National Day of Prayer. While there will be no large in-person gatherings, will you consider carving out time and praying for our community, our state, and our country? Pray also that revival will sweep through our community, our state, and our country during this season of the unknown! 
  • Connect with our Dangerous Prayers daily prayer calendar. You can find this resource on both the Second Church APP and also on our website under the “RESOURCES” tab. This will be updated each week. 
  • Join us in praying through the You Version Daily Bible reading plan on prayer this week through Saturday. 
  • Send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

Let’s make the most of this month, Second Church! Let us make sure we are truly a “house of prayer” and have the courage and conviction to pray dangerous prayers!


I wanted to give a huge shout out to Bethany Hager and the Women’s Care Clinic on the success of their recent fundraiser in late April. They have raised over $130,000.00 and IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO GIVE! I’m so thankful for this ministry that values and fights for LIFE­ - every LIFE! Let’s all continue to support the WCC and their ministry!

 

Speaking of giving, thank you, Second Church, for your continued faithfulness in stewardship during the COVID-19 season. I am so honored to serve at Second, and I’m reminded regularly what a special church we are blessed to be a part of! Don’t forget, there are three ways to continue to give:

 

1. Snail mail – 3350 E. Voorhees Street, Danville, IL 61834.

2. Online giving – We have seen over 80 people begin giving online in the last seven weeks!

3. The drive-by giving box found on the brick pillar near Door 2.

 

Thank you again for your faithfulness in stewardship!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This Sunday, Jake Weece will be preaching Part 3 of our Dangerous Prayers series on the prayer BREAK ME from Mark 14.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about a key moment in the life of King David from 1-2 Samuel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Eldon and Geri Wright from Wright Motors (one of the wonderful sponsors of Direct Line Danville), and Erik Cisney from Two Roads Wellness Center (and one of the elders of Second Church). Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!


 GT


April 29, 2020

Blessings, Second Church! It is hard to believe the month of May is just a couple of days away. During this season of our new normal, I’m excited we have begun a new study on Sunday mornings based on the book Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel. Kiley Garrison did a great job launching our study on Sunday, and I am excited to share part two this week, a message based on the prayer SEARCH ME from Psalm 139:23-24.

 

My hope is we will grow together as a church in the discipline of PRAYER and allow this time to move us and shape us both individually and as a church. Here are a couple of opportunities you have to make the most of this month:

  • Get a copy of the book Dangerous Prayers and read it during the month of May. 
  • Tune in to the 929 Daily Word this week as we look at different New Testament teachings on PRAYER. We are blessed to have a great staff at Second Church, and you will hear from a different ministry staff member each day this week! 
  • Connect with our Dangerous Prayers daily prayer calendar. You can find this resource on both the Second Church APP and also on our website under the “RESOURCES” tab. This will be updated each week. 
  • Join us in praying through the You Version Daily Bible reading plan on prayer beginning this Sunday, May 3. 
  • Begin or continue the daily rhythm of focused prayer either individually or as a family during this season of COVID. Find a time each day and dedicate that time to the habit of daily prayer.
  • Send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

Let’s make the most of this month, Second Church! Let us make sure we are truly a “house of prayer” and have the courage and conviction to pray Dangerous Prayers!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about teachings on prayer from the New Testament. 
  • Recovery Connect. Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. you can join Stephanie Spangler and others for a 25- to 30-minute livestream video that speaks to the process of recovery and offers both biblical encouragement and worship song recommendations. You can find Recovery Connect on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live or the Second Church YouTube channel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Chris and Daysha Robinson from Robinson Chiropractic (one of the wonderful sponsors of Direct Line Danville), and Dale DeNeal from Second Church speaking about plans for the 2020 GLS in the season of COVID. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

APRIL 22, 2020

I am so thankful for Second Church and its 121-year legacy of making a difference in the name of Jesus! I am so honored and blessed to serve at Second, and I’m thankful for each and every person in our leadership. I am so encouraged by the outpouring of love and support from our church during this season of COVID 19. This week I want to share several reasons for my thankfulness and appreciation . . .

 

  • I’m thankful for Elders who take seriously the call to lead our church but refuse to micro-manage or overstep! Sadly, some church leadership structures view staff as mere “hired hands.” Second Church is blessed to be led by leaders like Dean Crandall, Erik Cisney, Bill Knight, Alan Thompson, Tim Thornsbrough, and Steve Walter
  • I’m thankful for a Staff that loves Jesus first and embraces team-first ministry at Second Church! I barely even knew most of our staff one year ago today, and yet it is amazing how close I have become to so many of our staff in such a short amount of time! If you are thankful for our staff, select one or two from our team and reach out with words of encouragement and blessing!
  • I’m thankful for a Church that has embraced our new normal and adjusted to our new realities! Thank you for joining us in our Sunday morning livestream at 9:20 a.m. and telling others about this weekly opportunity to worship online. Thank you for embracing the 929 Daily Word! It is really wonderful to hear each of our ministry staff lead and also receive so much encouragement!
  • I’m thankful for the blessing of Technology and teammates who are able to figure out the tech side of things so we can livestream, continue to do Direct Line radio, and bring Recovery Connect and HSM live.
  • I’m thankful for the blessing of Generosity and Provision we continue to experience at Second Church! God is good all the time! All the time God is good! I am truly “blown away” by how God continues to bless our church!
  • I’m thankful for Communities that look for opportunities to be a blessing to others during times like this. My hope is we will have brand new opportunities during and following COVID-19 to be beacons of light in our communities in the name of Jesus Christ!
  • I’m thankful MOST of all for Jesus Christ and the difference He makes for everyone who is in relationship with Him! It’s ALL about Jesus!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6 to 7- minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing about a key teaching of Jesus. 
  • Recovery Connect. Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m., you can join Stephanie Spangler and others for a 25 to 30-minute livestream video that speaks to the process of recovery and offers both biblical encouragement and worship song recommendations. You can find Recovery Connect on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live or the Second Church YouTube channel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Deanna Witzel from Vermilion County McDonald’s (one of the wonderful sponsors of Direct Line Danville), and Tyler Russell from Second Church speaking about ministry to teens and mental health realities, especially during the season of COVID-19. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

 

We continue to invite you to send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! We’ve got this Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

APRIL 15, 2020

I want to begin this week by saying, “Thank you,” to everyone who was involved in Holy Week services and devotions at Second Church. I appreciated so much the message Jake Weece shared on Good Friday evening, and Kiley Garrison brought a wonderful sermon on PEACE during Easter Sunday morning. As usual, Adam Singley and Stephanie Spangler blessed us greatly with their worship, and I loved the video teaching by Kenna Osborne.

 

None of this is possible without our great tech team made up of Darrell Paddock, Tyler Russell, Ben Smith, Jason Landis, and other key volunteers. I’m so thankful for each of member of our team! Much of our focus on Easter Sunday was from John 20, the account of the Resurrection from John the apostle.

 

This Sunday during our Sunday morning live stream, we will look at the “rest of the story” according to John in the events that took place following the resurrection in the lives of the disciples, especially Simon Peter. If there is one word to describe and define Peter and his choices on Good Friday, it is probably the word FAILURE. Peter denied Jesus three times after being warned by Jesus this would happen. Peter was on the run and hiding behind locked doors when men like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus the Pharisee are making sure Jesus is given a proper burial. Not good to say the least.

 

How do you overcome FAILURE, especially this kind of failure? What do you say when you find yourself alone with Jesus? And most important of all, what do you do with the rest of your life? Where do you go from here? John 21 gives us the answers to these questions, and I would be honored if you would join us this Sunday at Second via Facebook Live or the Second Church YouTube channel.

 

Also, this Sunday at Second we have an extended message from our elders, and you will NOT want to miss it! Please make sure you stay on the livestream until the very end for this word from the elders of Second Church! I am so thankful to serve a church led by these men of faith, and I cannot wait for YOU to hear this word they have for our church!

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being live-streamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m.
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a quick announcement and a short devotional. This week, a different ministry staff member is sharing one of the scriptures of the Roman Road from the book of Romans. 
  • Recovery Connect. Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. you can join Stephanie Spangler and others for a 25- to 30-minute livestream video that speaks to the process of recovery and offers both biblical encouragement and worship song recommendations. You can find Recovery Connect on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live or the Second Church YouTube channel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Ryan Ferrero sharing about his passion for community gardens, and Terry and Molly Goodwin from Second Church speaking about Serve Together, FCA, and the Danville Rescue Mission. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

 

We continue to invite you to send us your prayer needs! You can email them to info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church during this time! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

April 8, 2020

Blessings to each of you during this Holy week. My prayer is we are each able to connect with the reality of this week through the reading of God’s Word and time alone in prayer. This week we will remember the events of Good Friday, an awful yet victorious day for every follower of Jesus.  Too often in the Christian life, we struggle to allow the tragedy of the Crucifixion to impact us personally or corporately. We struggle to cease for a day to “rejoice” and “celebrate” and somberly and soberly focus on what it really means when we sing “Jesus paid it all.”  My hope and prayer for you this week, and especially this Friday, involves somberly and soberly remembering that horrific day we call good.

 

Below are some of the significant happenings on Good Friday:

 

1:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. – Six different trials before various leaders. The first three trials were before Jewish religious leaders and the final three before Pilate and Herod.

 

Trial 1 – before the former high priest Annas

Trial 2 – before Caiaphas, the current high priest

Trial 3 – before all the Jewish leaders

Trial 4 – before Pilate

Trial 5 – before Herod

Trial 6 – before Pilate

 

8:30 a.m. – Jesus was taken from the final trial before Pilate where the mockery and torture at the hands of Pilate’s Roman soldiers commence. It was during this time that a crown of thorns was driven into his skull.

 

9:00 a.m. – Jesus carries his own cross toward Calvary, and the actual crucifixion takes place during this hour (the third hour).  As the nails are driven into his hands and feet and they begin the process of placing this huge piece of wood in the ground, a sign is placed above Jesus’ head, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  According to Luke, sometime before noon Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  It was also during this first three hours on the cross that Jesus told one of the two criminals hanging with him “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

12:00 noon – The final three hours on the cross begin around noon (the 6th hour) with three hours of agonizing pain and suffering. It is during this time according to Mark that darkness comes over the whole land for three hours in the middle of the day.  It was during his time on the cross that Jesus shared with his mother, Mary, and his disciple, John, these words:  “Dear woman, here is your son… (John), here is your mother.”

 

3:00 p.m. – At the ninth hour, Jesus was near death, and just prior to breathing his last breath, he uttered “I am thirsty.” (John); “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew); “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke) and finally, “It is finished.” (John) At the moment of his death, Matthew records the following:

 

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.  The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life… When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happening, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’”  

 

Surely – He WAS and IS the Son of God!

 

Late afternoon and into the evening, Joseph of Arimathea and the Pharisee Nicodemus ask for the body of Jesus and are given permission to bury him. Jesus is buried in a new tomb where no one had ever been laid in a garden near the crucifixion sight. I pray this Friday will be a day of worship for you. As you go through the day, remember the words of that beautiful hymn, “Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.”

 

Please make note of the following opportunities for worship and connection and please help spread the word to others:

 

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being live streamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. For Easter Sunday this week, Kiley Garrison and I will share the message from John 20! 
  • Good Friday service this Friday night April 10 at 6:30 p.m. Jake Weece will bring the message, and Adam Singley and Stephanie Spangler will lead us in worship during this somewhat brief Good Friday gathering. 
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a couple of important announcements and a short devotional. This week, each day a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the cries from the cross that Jesus made on Good Friday.
  • Recovery Connect. Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m., you can join Stephanie Spangler and others for a 25- to 30-minute live stream video that speaks to the process of recovery and offers both biblical encouragement and worship song recommendations. You can find Recovery Connect on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live or the Second Church YouTube channel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Linda Darby Dowers and Aunt Bea from Sunset Funeral Home and Bethany Hager from the Women’s Care Clinic. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

 

We continue to invite you to send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church during this time! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

APRIL 1, 2020

I begin this week with an apology. My last blog post was the week of March 9 -13, and that was, of course, the week everything began to change in our world! I am sorry I have been absent from the blog! I make a commitment to you that each week on Wednesday afternoon my written blog will upload to the Second Church website, and I will link to both the church and my personal Facebook pages.

 

The leadership of Second Church made the difficult decision on Friday, March 13, to close our building and suspend our services, programs, and events at 3350 E. Voorhees until further notice. This was an incredibly tough decision to make, but we believe without a doubt it was the correct one.

 

Since that decision, much has changed in our day-to-day activities as a church, but one thing remains the same: We are still the church! We are still FULL of LIFE and there is still ROOM for YOU, even in this new normal. To steal a phrase from Sunday’s sermon, “We are not called to simply DO church; we are called to BE the church!” This rings true more than ever as a new month begins and the fight against COVID-19 carries on.

 

We have strategically put together multiple online opportunities for you to stay connected to Second Church. Please make note of these and please help spread the word.

 

  • The Second Church Sunday morning worship service is being livestreamed on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live and on YouTube at the Second Church YouTube channel at 9:20 a.m. This week is Palm Sunday, and Kiley Garrison will bring the message!
  • 929 Daily Word. Each morning at 9:29 a.m., except Sunday, you can catch the Daily Word on the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live, a 6- to 7-minute video that shares a couple of important announcements and a short devotional. This week, each day a different ministry staff member is sharing about one of the “I Am” statements of Jesus from the gospel of John. 
  • Recovery Connect. Each Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. you can join Stephanie Spangler and others for a 25- to 30-minute livestream video that speaks to the process of recovery and offers both biblical encouragement and worship song recommendations. You can find Recovery Connect on both the Second Church Facebook page via Facebook live or the Second Church YouTube channel.
  • Direct Line Danville Radio show. Each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. on 1490 AM WDAN, join Stephanie Spangler and me for an hour of radio that looks at the events of this world and our community through the lens of faith. This week, special guests to DLD include Rev. Randy Robinson and Carol Olson from St. James United Methodist Church, Chris Lawler from Catlin Church of Christ and our own Darrell Paddock. Steph and I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions from you at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Sermon on local radio. We are broadcasting our Sunday morning sermon on two different radio stations each week for the time being. You can catch it on 1490AM WDAN at 10:30 a.m. and on 980AM WITY at 11:10 a.m. Spread the word for folks without computer access, please!

 

We continue to invite you to send us your prayer needs! You can email them at info@secondchurch.com. Each and every prayer request is prayed over, and our entire staff is praying! Let’s lean on the power of prayer more than ever during this unique time in the life of our church!

 

Please remain faithful in your stewardship during COVID-19. There are three ways for you to give your tithes and offerings. First option: Snail Mail. Drop your check in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and mail it to 3350 E. Voorhees St., Danville, IL, 61834. We check the mail each day. Second option: Online Giving. You can set up one-time or recurring gifts on both the Second Church APP or on our website. If you need assistance with this, just reach out! Third option: Drop-box Giving. We have installed a giving drop-box on the brick pillar near Door 2, and it is emptied each day. Thanks in advance for your continued commitment to being faithful stewards!

 

Last Sunday, we looked at the art of neighboring and challenged our church to step outside our comfort and context and look for new opportunities to meet needs in the name of Jesus. How are you doing, Second Church? What are you doing to take this new obstacle and find opportunities to shake and shine in the name of Jesus? Let’s excel in the art of neighboring!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church during this unprecedented time! We’ve got this, Second Church! Let’s be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world for the glory of God!

 

GT

March 10, 2020

Spring is just 10 days away according to the calendar, and the time change yesterday translates into more daylight later each day. Don’t you just love it? Before long, baseball games and outdoor activities will become the norm once again. Anytime I think about spring, I begin to think about EASTER, and guess what! Easter at the Arena 2020 is less than five weeks away on Sunday, April 12!

 

We will once again need between 150-200 volunteers over the course of Easter weekend 2020. We have sign-up tables in the Commons, or you can sign up on the church app or website under “Events.” Here are few of the areas where you can serve for Easter 2020:

 

  • Kid’s World
  • Communion Preparation and/or Communion Servers
  • Ushers
  • Food Crew
  • Bulletin Greeters
  • Medical
  • Parking
  • Set up and/or Tear Down

 

As of Monday morning, the Easter Choir has 83 signed up! 83 choir members!!!! There is still room for you, so sign up on the app or website and see Stephanie Spangler to get your music! The choir will practice on Wednesday evenings March 25, April 1 and April 8 at 6:15 p.m., as well as Saturday April 11, time to be determined.

 

We will once again do baptisms at the Arena during Easter 2020, and we are hosting two identical baptism classes leading up to April 12. The classes will happen on Sundays, March 22 and April 5 at noon in Hallelujah Hall. Lunch will be provided, so please sign up on our website at www.secondchurch.com/easter so we make sure to have enough food.

 

One thing everyone connected with Second Church can do is help us promote Easter 2020. This Sunday, March 15, Easter promotional materials will be available, so grab a poster, some business cards, some postcards, and a yard sign and help us get the word out! You can even buy your own Easter at the Arena T-Shirt for just $10 and wear your advertisement!

 

So much is happening in the life of Second Church. Here is just a taste of what we are doing and where we are headed . . .

 

  • GriefShare began again this past Thursday evening, and 25 were in attendance! Led by Linda Abbott and Marsha Wilkinson, GriefShare is open to anyone working through the death of someone they love and will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall. 
  • The Direct Line radio show debuted on March 5 on AM1490, WDAN, and will air each Thursday morning for 60 minutes. Direct Line featuring Greg Taylor and Stephanie Spangler will look at the events of our world and our community through the lens of faith. If you are unable to catch the live broadcast each week, the podcast of each show will be available at www.vermilioncountyfirst.com by noon the same day. Week two (March 12) of Direct Line will feature special guests Seth Miller from Westville schools and Jim Owens from Potomac schools. I hope you will tune in to AM1490 WDAN each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. and also spread the word about Direct Line!
  • By the way, Stephanie and I would love to hear your feedback, suggestions, or recommendations for future programs and guests. You can contact us at directlinedanville@gmail.com!
  • Celebrate Recovery meets each Tuesday evening at Second Church from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., helping people just like you deal with their hurts, hang-ups and habits. CR offers programming for all ages! Join me on Tuesdays at Second for Celebrate Recovery! If you have never been to CR, come on out tonight where there is always room for you!
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis is currently studying through the book of James, and I would love to see you join us on Tuesday mornings for Oasis!
  • This Sunday at Second, we continue our journey through the Parables of Jesus, as we look at possibly the most famous parable of all: The Parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37, and a message entitled The Art of Neighboring. I hope you will join us Sunday at Second Church at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m. or 10:45 a.m. in Main Auditorium, or check out Next Gen services in the Next Gen Auditorium at 9:20 a.m. or 10:45 a.m.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT

march 3, 2020

It is always good to get away, and Marla and I were really blessed to spend the weekend in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa area and watch our son Peyton compete with his SIU teammates at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field meet. We ate way too much food (no Daniel Plan this weekend), traveled almost 800 miles, and were blessed to connect with Peyton multiple times on Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed worshipping with a four-year-old church in downtown Waterloo on Sunday morning. Hope City Church is doing some really good things in the name of Jesus, and I was thankful for the message from Pastor Q on JOY. Good stuff!

 

I have heard multiple reports from Sunday at Second, and every single one raved about the message from David Upchurch of Lincoln Christian University. I had the opportunity to listen to his message Monday afternoon from Luke 18:9-14 and the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, and I’m so thankful for the truth that was proclaimed! What a great reminder to choose humility in our walk with Jesus and to realize we are all sinners blessed and redeemed by Jesus our Savior and Lord, nothing more! Thank you also to Stephanie Spangler for once again planning a wonderful worship experience and carving out some time for us as a church to experience focused prayer. I am praying for opportunities to let the love of Jesus shine in my life this week!

 

So much is happening in the life of Second Church. Here is just a taste of what we are doing and where we are headed . . .

 

  • GriefShare will begin again this Thursday! Led by Linda Abbott and Marsha Wilkinson, GriefShare is open to anyone working through the death of someone they love and will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall. Plan now to be at the first GriefShare on Thursday evening, March 5, at 6:00 p.m.
  • The Direct Line radio show will begin this Thursday morning, March 5, at 8:00 a.m. on AM1490, WDAN, and will air each Thursday morning for 60 minutes. Direct Line featuring Greg Taylor and Stephanie Spangler will look at the events of our world and our community through the lens of faith. If you are unable to catch the live broadcast each week, the podcast of each show will be available at www.vermilioncountyfirst.com by noon the same day. Week one of Direct Line will feature special guests Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff Media and Linda Abbott from GriefShare. I hope you will tune in to 1490AM WDAN each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. and also spread the word about Direct Line!
  • Baptism Class: Do you wonder what Second Church believes and teaches about baptism? Are you considering making this important faith decision? Easter 2020 is just around the corner, and once again we will do baptisms at the Arena. If you are interested in knowing more, join me on one of two Sundays, March 22 or April 5, at noon in Hallelujah Hall. Lunch will be provided so please sign up on the app or call the church office to RSVP.
  • Celebrate Recovery meets each Tuesday evening at Second Church from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., helping people just like you deal with their hurts, hang-ups and habits. CR offers programming for all ages! Join me on Tuesdays at Second for Celebrate Recovery! If you have never been to CR, come on out tonight where there is always room for you!
  • Easter at the Arena 2020 is less than six weeks away, and that means it is time for many of you to sign up for the Easter choir! Hear this: Stephanie Spangler wants you! You can sign up on the church app and plan to be a be a part of a very special day on Sunday, April 12, 2020. Speaking of Easter at the Arena…
  • Kenna Osborne is beginning to recruit volunteers for Nursery and Preschool programming on Sunday, April 12, for Easter 2020. This is such an important area of need and ministry impact! Will you prayerfully consider serving in the name of Jesus at Easter 2020? Please reach out to Kenna or me if you have questions.
  • Still more Easter 2020: Stephanie Spangler continues to recruit choir members for Easter 2020! There is room for you! If you are interested in being a part of the choir for Easter this year, please sign up on the website or on the app, and if you are signed up already, Stephanie has the music and CD ready for pickup.
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis is currently studying through the book of James, and I would love to see you join us on Tuesday mornings for Oasis!
  • This Sunday is time change Sunday: We will “spring forward,” so set your clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night!

 

Finally, today please be in prayer for multiple families connected to our church who have lost loved ones in the past couple of days. Remember and pray for the families of Maxine McElhaney, Jack Picklap, and Margaret Murphy during this really difficult season. Last evening, our longest serving staff member, Tim Holycross, lost his father Jack Holycross, and we ask that you pray for Tim and his family during this time as well. The Bible says God is close to the broken-hearted. May we be a church made up of women and men who embody God’s peace and comfort to those mourning and hurting during seasons of loss!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT

february 25, 2020

On Sunday morning, we announced a new ministry that is launching in early March in partnership with Neuhoff Media. The Direct Line radio show will begin on Thursday morning, March 5, at 8:00 a.m. on AM1490, WDAN, and will air each Thursday morning for 60 minutes. Direct Line featuring Greg Taylor and Stephanie Spangler will look at the events of our world and our community through the lens of faith.

 

On the first Sunday of 2020, I shared four areas of strategic involvement, influence, and improvement for Second Church this year, and one was an increased media and online presence. Direct Line will provide us an opportunity to connect with an audience that is not aware of all that is happening in our community and surrounding communities in the name of Jesus. DL will help us continue to tell the story of Jesus and Second Church in a unique format. Simply put, we are venturing into uncharted territory!

 

If you are unable to catch the live broadcast each week, the podcast of each show will be available at www.vermilioncountyfirst.com by noon the same day. Week one of Direct Line will feature special guests Mike Hulvey from Neuhoff Media and Linda Abbott from GriefShare. I hope you will tune in to 1490AM WDAN each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. and also spread the word about Direct Line!

 

So much is happening in the life of Second Church. Don’t you just love it? Here is just a taste of what we are doing . . .

 

  • GriefShare will begin again on Thursday evenings the first week of March! Led by Linda Abbott and Marsha Wilkinson, GriefShare is open to anyone working through the death of someone they love and will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall. Plan now to be at the first GriefShare on Thursday evening, March 5, at 6:00 p.m. 
  • Celebrate Recovery meets each Tuesday evening at Second Church from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., helping people just like you deal with their hurts, hang-ups and habits. CR offers programming for all ages! Join me on Tuesdays at Second for Celebrate Recovery! I am honored to have the opportunity to speak tonight at CR on the topic of FORGIVENESS. If you have never been to CR, come on out tonight where there is always room for you! 
  • Easter at the Arena 2020 is less than eight weeks away, and that means it is time for many of you to sign up for the Easter choir! Hear this: Stephanie Spangler wants you! You can sign up on the church app and plan to be a be a part of a very special day on Sunday, April 12, 2020.
  • Speaking of Easter at the Arena 2020: Kenna Osborne is beginning to recruit volunteers for Nursery and Preschool programming on Sunday, April 12, for Easter 2020. This is such an important area of need and ministry impact! Will you prayerfully consider serving in the name of Jesus at Easter 2020? Please reach out to Kenna or me if you have questions.
  • Still more Easter 2020: Stephanie Spangler continues to recruit choir members for Easter 2020! There is room for you! If you are interested in being a part of the choir for Easter this year, please sign up on the website or on the app, and if you are signed up already, Stephanie has the music and CD ready for pickup.
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis is currently studying through the book of James, and I would love to see you join us on Tuesday mornings for Oasis! 
  • Propel Women is a monthly gathering that empowers women to learn how they can best use their influence for God’s glory. Propel Women meets next on Monday March 2 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall. Please connect with Chel Garrison if you have questions or need more information. All women are invited to attend Propel Women. 
  • This Sunday morning, Marla and I will be in Iowa with our son, Peyton, as he competes in the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field meet at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls. I’m excited to share that my friend David Upchurch from Lincoln Christian University will be preaching in the Main Auditorium worship services. Simply put, David is one of the very best preachers around in my opinion, and you will be blessed this week by his message as we begin a six-week series on the Parables of Jesus. Don’t miss worship this week!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT

FEBRUARY 18, 2020

It is early Monday morning, February 17, as I type this week’s blog entry, and I’m on a Southwest Airlines flight from Indianapolis to San Diego. Dale DeNeal and I are traveling to beautiful southern California to participate in the launch event for the 2020 Global Leadership Summit. By the way, SAVE THE DATE! Second Church will once again be a host site for the 2020 GLS on Thursday and Friday August 6-7, 2020! I would love to tell you more about this incredible leadership event coming once again to Danville! Plan now to be a part of the 2020 GLS!

 

Today is a special day for me personally. It was exactly one day ago this evening that a seemingly innocent conversation with my good friend and former 2CC preacher Randy Kirk changed my course in life! On Sunday evening, February 17, 2019, I arrived at the Wooded Glen retreat center near Henryville, Indiana with ministry friends Ryan Baker, Les Evans, Jeff Mayfield, Casey McCormick and Cody Monkman for the first annual Small Town Ministry Summit (By the way, the 2nd annual Small Town Ministry Summit is happening right now at Country Lake Retreat Center in Southern Indiana.). I was excited about connecting again with several ministry friends, including Randy, but had no idea what would unfold in the weeks and months that would follow.

 

Randy saw me walking in and said very quickly, “Hello, Greg Taylor. I just finished talking to a church about you!” I asked about the church and the location, and he responded that the church was Second Church of Christ in Danville, Illinois. I remember thinking to myself, “Randy, don’t you know any churches looking for preachers in Colorado or New Hampshire or Tennessee?” I responded with a quick word of thanks and kind of dismissed his announcement, moving on with the events of the evening. Marla and I had not even discussed the possibility of leaving Clinton FCC, a place we loved (and still love) so very much!

 

But Randy would not let it go and connected with me privately later that same evening at Wooded Glen. Randy was pretty passionate that Second Church was a special place and Marla and I might just be a really good fit. “Give it a serious look. You won’t regret it.” Randy Kirk was spot on! Second Church is a very special place, and Marla and I are so honored and blessed to be serving in ministry here in Vermilion County. What a difference one year makes! Thank you so much, Second Church, for welcoming the Taylors with open arms and hearts!

 

The year 2020 is just getting started and yet so much is happening in the life of our church! Here is just a taste of what Second Church is doing . . .

 

  • GriefShare will begin again on Thursday evenings the first week of March! Led by Linda Abbott and Marsha Wilkinson, GriefShare is open to anyone working through the death of someone they love and will meet on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall. Plan now to be at the first GriefShare on Thursday evening, March 5, at 6:00 p.m. 
  • Celebrate Recovery meets each Tuesday evening at Second Church from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., helping people just like you deal with their hurts, hang-ups and habits. CR offers programming for all ages! Join me on Tuesdays at Second for Celebrate Recovery! 
  • Easter at the Arena 2020 is less than eight weeks away, and that means it is time for many of you to sign up for the Easter choir! Hear this: Stephanie Spangler wants you! You can sign up on the church app and plan to be a be a part of a very special day on Sunday, April 12, 2020.
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis is studying through the book of James, and this Tuesday will be blessed by guest teacher Kiley Garrison. I would love to see you join us on Tuesday mornings for Oasis!
  • At the end of January, we shared an update on the REACH Generosity Initiative, and here are some facts and figures from that update:
  • In the fall of 2018, Second Church committed $1,960,293.00 over a three-year period of time for the RGI! Praise the Lord! 
  • As of 12-31-19, $1,241,433.00 has been received toward the RGI! Praise the Lord! 
  • The remaining unfunded amount for RGI is $927,969.00 as of today.

 

Special thanks to Phil Cox for sharing via video testimony on Sunday, February 16, about his thankfulness for the REACH Generosity Initiative and his family’s commitment to this campaign! On Sunday morning January 26, I announced that Marla and I are making a 21-month commitment to the Reach Generosity Initiative, and I am inviting you to consider doing likewise if you are new to our church in the past 16 months (like we are) or if you never made a REACH pledge for whatever reason. If you have questions about REACH, please feel free to reach out to me or to any leader at Second Church! We are asking for all pledge cards to be returned by this Sunday, February 23.

 

Finally, I am excited to announce a new ministry that is launching in early March in partnership with Neuhoff Media. The Direct Line radio show will begin on Thursday morning, March 5, at 8:00 a.m. on AM1490, WDAN, and will air each Thursday morning for 60 minutes. Direct Line featuring Greg Taylor and Stephanie Spangler will look at the events of our world and our community through the lens of faith.

 

If you are unable to catch the live broadcast each week, the podcast of each show will be available at www.vermilioncountyfirst.com by noon the same day. Week one of Direct Line will feature special guests Mike Hulvey and Linda Abbott. I hope you will tune in to 1490AM WDAN each Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m. and also spread the word about Direct Line!

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT


February 11, 2019

This Friday is Valentine’s Day, and for the 32nd straight year, I will be blessed to spend it with Marla Taylor! I am so thankful for this very special woman I get to do life with! Marla juggles many hats week-in and week-out, and I am better because of life with her! I love her passion for children and teens, and I’m thankful for her commitment to be a public-school teacher and fourth-grade Bible school teacher. I am excited for her worship team debut in less than two week, and I appreciate her unconditional love and support for me even when I make it difficult! My cup truly overflows! Happy Valentine’s Day, Marla! I love you!

 

Thanks to Terry Goodwin for wrapping up our two-week look at the book of Ruth and a Bethlehem Love Story. Terry did a great job reminding us that REDEMPTION is possible for each of us because of Jesus, and this reality was reinforced when another three made the decision to follow Jesus and be baptized on Sunday at Second! Praise the Lord!

 

This Sunday, our month-long look at LOVE continues in the Main Auditorium as we look at the Love of God and a famous passage of scripture in John 3. Almost everyone recognizes John 3:16, and on Sunday we will look at the conversation Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus that led to this most famous Bible verse. We will look at a statement from Jesus that stumped this educated Pharisee and how this spiritual reality is still playing out in 2020! I cannot wait for Sunday to arrive!

 

This week I want to share about several things happening at 2CC:

 

  • Tuesday nights at Second Church mean Celebrate Recovery! Remember, there is always room for YOU at CR, as we together face and deal with our hurts, hang-ups, and habits! ALL are invited and welcome to come and check out CR at Second beginning with the meal at 5:30 p.m. and the large group gathering in the Main Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. I am excited to have the opportunity to teach tonight on AMENDS. Join us tonight!
  • Great job, Tyler Russell, teaching on Sunday evening on a very tough topic. I’m so thankful for our staff at 2CC and the passion they bring to their respective ministries. It was encouraging to hear Tyler share his heart for our high-school students and the choices they make and the importance of the truth of God’s Word in our life choices. Thanks, Tyler! Just a reminder that HSM meets each Sunday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the student ministry building and ALL high-school students are welcome!
  • Great job, Sandra Lathrop, with the Safety and Security Seminar at church last Saturday! I’m so thankful for the 150 women and men from our church who gathered to learn how to make 2CC both safe and secure. Thank you to Bradley Grissom for the excellent medical overview and condensed CPR course! Thank you to Scott Rew, Ed Sanow, Dave Rand, Gary Gray, Bill West, Mike Brash, Brian Sitz, Corey Shurr, Russell Hillman, and many others for taking time to plan out the security safety meeting and role-playing scenarios!
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis just began a study through the book of James, and I would love to see you join us!
  • Please remember to let the office know about Pastoral Care needs in the life of our church. Please don’t ever assume we know about hospital, nursing home, or funeral updates. Thank you in advance for helping us minister to our church!
  • At the end of January, we shared an update on the REACH Generosity Initiative, and here are some facts and figures from that update:
  • In the fall of 2018, Second Church committed $1,960,293.00 over a three-year period of time for the RGI! Praise the Lord!
  • As of 12-31-19, $1,241,433.00 has been received toward the RGI! Praise the Lord!
  • The remaining unfunded amount for RGI is $927,969.00 as of today.

 

Also on January 26, I announced that Marla and I are making a 21-month commitment to the Reach Generosity Initiative, and I am inviting you to consider doing likewise if you are new to our church in the past 16 months (like we are) or if you never made a REACH pledge for whatever reason. If you have questions about REACH, please feel free to reach out to me or to any leader at Second Church! We are asking for all pledge cards to be returned by the end of February.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT

february 4, 2020

Sunday was the annual Super Bowl, and at least one staff member at Second Church is smiling from ear to ear following the Kansas City Chiefs comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Marla and I had several friends over to watch the big game, and I made a comment with about 7 ½ minutes to go in the game that it was just about over, and the 49ers were in a great position to win. Kansas City promptly outscored San Francisco 21-0 following my prophecy and won the game 31-20. My career as a football prophet was short lived! (Somewhere Tyler Russell and Gage Lyons are STILL basking in the glow of victory!)

 

Sunday reminded me the game isn’t over until the clock hits triple zeros. Fans from Kansas City are sure thankful the Chiefs fought until the very end and finished well. Fans from San Francisco will play Monday morning quarterback all year long wondering, “What if?” and “What could have been?” The game isn’t over until it’s over.

 

I’m reminded this principle is certainly true in our spiritual lives and on our journey with Jesus. I’m so thankful that in the past several weeks I have had to chance to watch multiple people in the later seasons of life make the decision to follow Jesus. It is NEVER too late to become a Christ follower . . . until it is truly too late! This Sunday at Second, multiple people are planning to be baptized! Praise the Lord!

 

I’m also reminded how important it is for followers of Jesus to finish well in the faith. It is very easy to fall into the trap of spiritual complacency, and many have struggled with this problem late in their walk with Jesus. One of the things I really love about our church are the multiple opportunities to grow in the Christian faith with fellow Christ followers on a weekly and monthly basis. If you find yourself struggling with spiritual complacency, please don’t settle for it! Do not ever hesitate to reach out to myself or other leaders and staff at Second!

 

Here are a couple of reminders and highlights about what is happening at 2CC:

 

  • Tuesday nights at Second Church mean Celebrate Recovery! God is doing some pretty incredible things in the lives of people through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery at 2CC! Remember, there is always room for YOU at CR, as we together face and deal with our hurts, hang-ups and habits! ALL are invited and welcome to come and check out CR at Second, beginning with the meal at 5:30 p.m. and the large group gathering in Main Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. 
  • Great job, Tyler Russell and team, with the annual All-Nighter HSM trip to Indy for basketball, Skyzone, bowling and breakfast. Almost 100 jumped on two charter busses and had a great time! Wow! Just a reminder, HSM meets each Sunday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the student ministry building and ALL High School students are welcome
  • Great job, Jake and Jamie Weece and team, with the JHM Super Bowl party! There were 148 Junior High students gathered on Sunday evening for the Super Bowl in the new Student Ministry building! Wow! Just a reminder that large group JHM meets each Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. in the student ministry building and ALL Junior High students are welcome!
  • Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. bring a weekly Bible study at Second Church in Hallelujah Hall that all are welcome to attend! Oasis just began a study through the book of James, and I would love to see you join us!
  • At the end of January, we shared an update on the REACH Generosity Initiative, and here are some facts and figures from that update:
  • In the fall of 2018, Second Church committed $1,960,293.00 over a three-year period of time for the RGI! Praise the Lord! 
  • As of 12-31-19, $1,241,433.00 has been received toward the RGI! Praise the Lord! 
  • The remaining unfunded amount for RGI is $927,969.00 as of today.

 

Also on January 26, I announced that Marla and I are making a 21-month commitment to the Reach Generosity Initiative, and I am inviting you to consider doing likewise if you are new to our church in the past 16 months (like we are) or if you never made a REACH pledge for whatever reason. If you have questions about REACH, please feel free to reach out to me or to anyone who is a leader at Second Church! We are asking for all pledge cards to be returned by the end of February.

 

This Sunday, Kiley Garrison has given me the opportunity to share in Next Gen on the importance of Discipleship and specifically the 4 Chair Discipleship reality in the life of our church, and every church. Terry Goodwin will be preaching in Main Auditorium part two of our Bethlehem Love Story series from the book of Ruth.

 

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church.

 

GT

January 28, 2020

Blessings to you, Second Church! I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! I am so excited to see how God is working in the lives of so many at our church. Let’s get rolling with the weekly update:

 

On the first Sunday of the New Year, I shared with Main Auditorium worship services four areas of strategic improvement I dream of becoming reality in 2020:

 

  • Discipleship
  • Increased Community Impact and Influence
  • Intentional All-Church Family Ministry
  • Expanded Online Influence

 

Each Tuesday this month, I’ll share about one of these important areas of emphasis. So far this month, I have shared about Discipleship, Increased Community Impact and Influence, and Intentional All-Church Family Ministry. This week, I will share briefly about what an Expanded Online Influence might look like.

 

Second Church has been making a difference in Vermilion County and beyond for well over 120 years, and yet more than once in the past six months I have heard this phrase uttered: “Second Church is one of the best kept secrets around!” How can this be, you might be wondering? The answer is really simple. So many people live the crazy-busy life and are not aware of what is unfolding outside their context. Another factor at play is the unfortunate reality that people spend significant amounts of time on their phones, tablets and computers.

 

My hope for 2020 and beyond is for our church to begin to increase our online presence and influence. I do not have any grand announcements to share this week, but my hope and prayer is that the blessings of Second Church will become more known in our communities and area through the blessing of social media and our online presence.

 

Last week was a special week for me personally as I witnessed God on the move in many different ways! Here is just a sample of my week last week:

 

  • I was blessed to participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day worship service on Monday at St. James United Methodist Church! It was such a great gathering! I was especially blessed to hear Ricky Williams, the mayor of Danville, share his belief in Jesus Christ as the hope for our city and our world! 
  • Tuesday night brought a record night at Celebrate Recovery as at least 249 attended and were encouraged by the guest testimony from Joe Rodts from Normal, IL. It was so encouraging to see a young man give his life to Jesus and be buried with Christ in the waters of baptism! Praise the Lord! God is doing so much good through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery at 2CC! Remember, there is always room for YOU at CR, as we together face and deal with our hurts, hang-ups and habits! CR meets at Second each Tuesday evening!
  •  Wednesday night concluded our Membership Class at Second and 27 made the decision on Wednesday to sign the membership covenant! Praise the Lord! In addition, two baptisms happened on Wednesday evening flowing from our Membership Class and many more are being talked about and scheduled this week! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
  • On Thursday, Dean Crandall, Dale DeNeal and I were blessed to spend a couple of hours at Danville Correctional Center along with several inmates as we watched a teaching session from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit. It was so encouraging to break up into groups and hear firsthand how God is moving in the lives of many at DCC. By the way, the 2020 GLS at 2CC will be Thursday and Friday August 6-7! I hope you will join us for the 2020 GLS!
  • Friday and Saturday brought a quick trip to Carbondale to watch our son Peyton throw the weight and the shot put at the SIU indoor track meet. Both Marla and I miss our kids so much, and it is always wonderful to reconnect with them even if the visit is short! Both Jordan, my daughter, and Peyton, my son, and my bonus son, Jacob, are such bright lights in a dark world, and I treasure and value the time we get to spend with them!
  • Sunday morning was REACH Generosity Initiative update Sunday, and we shared some exciting information and were blessed by another Phil Gojia video production! Here are some facts and figures:

 

  • In the fall of 2018, Second Church committed $1,960,293.00 over a three-year period of time for the RGI! Praise the Lord
  • As of 12-31-19, $1,241,433.00 has been received toward the RGI! Praise the Lord! 
  • The remaining unfunded amount for RGI is $927,969.00 as of today.

 

On Sunday, I announced that Marla and I are making a 21-month commitment to the Reach Generosity Initiative, and I am inviting you to consider doing likewise if you are new to our church in the past 16 months (like we are) or if you never made a REACH pledge for whatever reason. If you have questions about REACH, please feel free to reach out to me or anyone who is a leader at Second Church! We are asking for all pledge cards to be returned by the end of February.

 

  • Sunday afternoon brought both the REACH Open House for our new buildings and the Parent/Child dedication service at 4:00 p.m. I am thankful for everyone who attended the Open House! The Parent/Child dedication service was extra special for me, seeing so many parents and grandparents as well as aunts and uncles gathering together to state without hesitation that these most precious gifts, their children, are blessings from the Lord! Kenna Osborne put together a wonderful interactive event that gave parents and others the tools necessary to lead their children to saving faith in Jesus Christ! Praise the Lord.

This week brought a sober reminder for me of how fragile life truly is. In our own community, three lives were senselessly lost to violence in an awful display of the very worst of human actions. Each of these men deserved better! Tragic!

 

Then this weekend, two unexpected deaths in the world of basketball rocked so many fans. On Friday, former Illinois center Robert Archibald passed away on Friday at the age of 39, and on Sunday, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday at the age of 41. Both men brought happiness to so many as they played the game of basketball, and I am heartbroken for their families, friends and fans who continue to mourn, but these deaths remind us of an important reality: no one is promised tomorrow.


I’m reminded Jesus is the answer to the most important and difficult of life’s questions. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! Jesus brings HOPE to the hopeless! Jesus is the REMEDY!

 

See you this Sunday at Second Church as we begin a month of messages in Main Auditorium on LOVE, looking this week at a Bethlehem Love story from the book of Ruth.

 

GT

January 21, 2020

Blessings to you, Second Church! On the first Sunday of the New Year, I shared with Main Auditorium worship services four areas of strategic improvement I dream of becoming reality in 2020:

 

  • Discipleship
  • Increased Community Impact and Influence
  • Intentional All-Church Family Ministry
  • Expanded Online Influence

 

Each Tuesday this month, I’ll share about one of these important areas of emphasis. So far this month, I have shared about Discipleship and Increased Community Impact and Influence. This week, I want to share about the vision of Intentional All-Church Family Ministry.

 

Second Church has been making a difference in Vermilion County and beyond for well over 120 years, and a major focus over the past four decades has involved intentional and excellent ministry to children and students. I’m so thankful for the women and men who have served our church and led these ministries in past seasons, and I love doing ministry week in and week out with Kenna Osborne, Tyler Russell, and Jake Weece.

 

It is pure joy when I am able to watch Kid’s World, JHM and HSM in action! If I were to do a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of our church, Kid’s World, JHM, and HSM would each be “strengths” in my book! With our new building spaces as a result of the REACH Generosity Initiative, our student ministry and children’s ministry building are cutting edge and allow us to take dreams and make them ministry realities! Praise the Lord!

 

So why mess with something that is working, you might ask? What does All-Church Family Ministry even look like, you might be wondering? The answers to these questions are simple: We want to help moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas become and/or excel as primary spiritual leaders for their families.

 

We want families at Second Church to have more and more opportunities to worship and grow together AS families. I want to hear more and more testimonies like this: “I love Kenna Osborne! She is awesome, but my mom is my children’s minister!” Or maybe: “I’m so thankful for Jake Weece and/or Tyler Russell. Those guys rock, but my dad is my student minister.”

 

Will you take time right now to lift up Kenna Osborne, Jake Weece, and Tyler Russell in prayer as they lead these important life-changing ministries? Please pray for the many ministry team members in Kid’s World, JHM, and HSM. We couldn’t do what we do week in and week out without this army of servant leaders! The year 2020 is going to be a great year at Second Church!

 

Sunday was another special day at Second Church as we observed Sanctity of Human Life Sunday! Thank you to Stephanie Spangler for planning a service that encompassed two important elements when looking at issues of LIFE: the reality that Every Life Matters and the biblical promise that God’s grace is greater than all our sin! 

 

Special thanks to Bethany Hager from the Women’s Care Clinic for sharing in all five services at Second on Sunday and for your excellent encouragement on how Christ followers can and should respond to issues of LIFE! Thank you to each of our 42 candle lighters! What a touching visual end to our services to go and be LIGHT in a world that is DARK!

 

You are the LIGHT of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden! Let us light up our world in the name of Jesus Christ, Second Church!

 

Here are six reminders related to the life of our church:

 

  • Membership Class – Part two of our class is this Wednesday evening, January 22, from 6:15 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. We had 47 who attended week one last Wednesday! Kiley Garrison and I will help you better understand the DNA of Second Church and how to become a member. I hope to see all 47 of you again this Wednesday!

 

  • Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word! Last week, 232 were in attendance at CR, and our excellent teaching came from our own Terry Goodwin! What a great night!

 

  • Parent/Child Dedication – This Sunday, January 26, at 4:00 p.m. in Kid’s World. If you are interested in participating, please sign up on the app or contact the office. Kenna Osborne is planning a wonderful event you won’t want to miss!

 

  • REACH Open House – This Sunday, January 26, from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., you are welcome to attend an Open House and see up close the Student Ministry building, Kid’s world, and the new Family Ministry lobby. Don’t miss this chance to see the blessing of REACH!

 

  • Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!

 

  • Security at Second Church – We live in a fallen and broken world, and sadly, even the church is no longer immune to the reality of threats and violence. Please know we are blessed at Second Church to have a great security team comprised of active or former military and law enforcement who are trained and ready on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, as well as special events and unique gatherings. If you have any questions about security at Second Church, please reach out to Dale DeNeal.

 

I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you this Sunday at Second Church as we update the church on the REACH Generosity Initiative!

 

GT

JANUARY 14, 2020

Greetings, Second Church! A week ago, on the first Sunday of the New Year, I shared with Main Auditorium worship services four areas of strategic improvement I dream of becoming reality in 2020:

 

  • Discipleship
  • Increased Community Impact and Influence
  • Intentional All-Church Family Ministry
  • Expanded Online Influence

 

Each Tuesday this month, I’ll share about one of these important areas of emphasis. Last week I shared about Discipleship,and this week I want to speak to Increased Community Impact and Influence.

 

Second Church is a special place, and from my very first introduction to 2CC back in late February 2019, it was obvious our church is making a difference in Danville, Vermilion County, and literally communities all over east central Illinois and west central Indiana. I’m thankful for the impact and influence of the Global Leadership Summit (both at 2CC, the Danville prison, and in East Africa), Step Up Vermilion County, the many monthly missions partnerships we are blessed with, and so much more.

 

In the past couple of months, area Church of Christ ministry staff has begun sharing lunch together each month. Last week, over 20 were present for the January lunch! Back in November, our church was one of several that gathered on a Saturday evening at Crossroads Christian Church for a community worship night. Much good is happening!

 

Yet my hope for 2020 is to increase our footprint in the name of Jesus. I am thankful for doors that appear to be opening with area schools. I am hopeful for us to live out the heartbeat of Jesus in John 17 for Christians to embrace UNITY in order to tell the world about Jesus! I’m constantly reminded that a majority of our community and surrounding communities are un-churched and living outside the grace of God.

 

I continue to believe we are called to be a HOSPITAL for the Spiritually Sick, not a COUNTRY CLUB for Spiritually Secure. I love this quote from Sam Allberry: “Your church should look more like the waiting room of a doctor’s office than the waiting room for a job interview.” I pray 2020 brings increased Impact and Influence in the name of Jesus!

 

Sunday was such a special day at Second Church, as we hosted Celebrate Recovery Sunday! Thank you to Stephanie for once again planning a service that spoke to so many! Special thanks to Brandon Allen, William Bales, Toni Shepherd, and Stephanie Spangler for being so transparent and sharing about the impact of CR on your lives! Thank you, Abby Manning and Sandra Rogers, for leading the 8 Principles, and thanks to everyone who was part of the worship team or response time. I’m guessing over 100 came forward and took a blue chip, a sign of surrender! Praise the Lord! I hope many will give CR a look on an upcoming Tuesday evening!

 

This Sunday is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and we are blessed to have Bethany Hager from the Women’s Care Clinic sharing in our Main Auditorium worship services. The issue of LIFE is so personal for me and I’ll share exactly why! I truly hope you will join us Sunday at Second in Main!

 

God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! Blessings Second Church!

 

Here are six reminders related to the life of our church:

 

  • Membership Class – Second Church is hosting a Membership Class the next two Wednesday evenings, January 15 and 22, from 6:15 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Kiley Garrison and I will help you better understand the DNA of Second Church and how to become a member. If you are interested in attending, you can sign up on the app or call the church office.

 

  • Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!

 

  • Parent/Child Dedication – Sunday, January 26, at 4:00 p.m. in Kid’s World. If you are interested in participating, please sign up on the app or contact the office. Kenna Osborne is planning a wonderful event you won’t want to miss!

 

  • REACH Open House – Sunday January 26 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., you are welcome to attend an Open House and see up close the Student Ministry building, Kid’s world, and the new Family Ministry lobby. Don’t miss this chance to see the blessing of REACH!

 

  • Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!

 

  • Security at Second Church – We live in a fallen and broken world, and sadly, even the church is no longer immune to the reality of threats and violence. Please know we are blessed at Second Church to have a great security team comprised of active or former military and law enforcement who are trained and ready on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, as well as special events and unique gatherings. If you have any questions about security at Second Church, please reach out to Dale DeNeal.

 

I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you this Sunday as we consider the value of every life at Sanctity of Life Sunday!

 

GT

January 7, 2020

Happy New Year, Second Church! Another year and another decade are upon us! On Sunday in Main Auditorium worship services, I had the opportunity to share with our church four areas of emphasis I would like to see at Second Church:


1. Discipleship

2. Increased Community Impact and Influence

3. Intentional All-Church Family Ministry

4. Expanded Online Influence


Each Tuesday this month, I’ll share about one of these important areas of emphasis, and today I want to write about Discipleship. The mission statement of Second Church of Christ is “to make Christ-centered disciples.” For as long as anyone can remember, our church has been about following the call of the Great Commission in Matthew 28 from Jesus to “Go and Make Disciples.”


This is nothing new, but this is crucially important. From the very first interview I was a part of back in early March of last year, the leadership of Second Church communicated how discipleship must be a priority. As we move into 2020, we want to see more and more people connected with our church accept the call to become a disciple-maker.


Yesterday, I shared about the book, 4 Chair Discipling, by Dann Spader and the case made by Spader that every person connected to our church is in one of four chairs:


The Seeker chair – someone considering a relationship with Jesus Christ


The Believer chair – someone who has faith with Jesus Christ as Savior


The Worker chair – someone who has an active faith in Jesus Christ as Lord


The Disciple-Maker chair – someone who because of their active faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord is compelled to tell others about Jesus.


Our hope for 2020 is that more and more Second Church women, men, teens, and children will “move chairs” and grow intentionally and strategically in their walk with Jesus. Stephanie Spangler, Brandon Allen, and Tonya Ward did a great job giving us a visual we won’t forget with the four chairs, and we invited YOU to come forward and take a corresponding card connected to the chair you desire to be in. The response was incredible as hundreds stepped out of their comfort zone and came forward! We ran out of cards for Chair 3 and Chair 4!


God is good all the time! If you missed Sunday, I would love for you to either take 30 minutes and listen to the message on our website and/or come and take a card or all four cards and begin to intentionally pray about what chair God is calling you to. You will see the visual of the four chairs in Main Auditorium for at least the rest of January, and you can find four cards at both Guest Connection and in the church office.


The year 2020 is going to be a great year at Second Church! My prayer is this year brings more and more Christ-centered disciples willing to live out the call of Jesus to “Go and Make Disciples!” Let’s do this, Second!


Here are six reminders related to the life of our church:


• Impact Women's Conference at Second – This Saturday, January 11, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., our church is hosting a women’s conference on the power of impacting others. The cost is just $20 and includes lunch. You can sign up online at the 2CC website or call the church office for more information.


• Membership Class – Second Church is hosting a Membership Class on Wednesday evenings, January 15 and 22, from 6:15 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Kiley Garrison and I will help you better understand the DNA of Second Church and how to become a member. If you are interested in attending, you can sign up on the app or call the church office.


• Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word! By the way, this Sunday, January 12, is CR Sunday in Main Auditorium, so make sure to wear your CR gear!


• Weekly Prayer List is Available – Each week during services, we give you the opportunity to submit in writing prayer requests and praises, and typically we receive 25-30 or more prayer requests. By noon on most Mondays, this list is compiled and shared with the leadership at 2CC. This list is also available for you and is placed in different locations throughout our building. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to pray for your Second Church family each week!


• Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!


• Security at Second Church – We live in a fallen and broken world, and sadly, even the church is no longer immune to the reality of threats and violence. Please know we are blessed at Second Church to have a great security team comprised of active or former military and law enforcement who are trained and ready on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, as well as special events and unique gatherings. If you have any questions about security at Second Church, please reach out to Dale DeNeal.


I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you this Sunday at Second for CR Sunday!


GT


december 17, 2019

As I sit in my office early on this Tuesday, my cup truly overflows. I would never have dreamed about all of the change God would bring to our lives in 2019, and yet I’m so thankful and blessed! Reflecting on the past week I have been privileged to be a part of some really special gatherings! Here is just a taste of my past six days . . .


On Wednesday, I was blessed to join several area Church of Christ/Christian Church ministry staff for a monthly fellowship lunch. As we shared Mexican food, I was able to hear about all that God is doing in ministries in Georgetown, Westville, Bismarck, Rossville, West Liberty, Lincoln and, of course, Danville. I am better as both a minister and a Christ follower when I get to spend time with others who labor and strive for the gospel like Robbie, Brian, Kevin, David, Terry, Phil, Jim, John and Kurt! I’m so thankful for these men who serve the Lord vocationally!


Thursday brought my first visit to Schultz House for 4:00 p.m. worship and Bible study. I heard Drew talk about the personal blessing of visiting and sharing at Schultz House, but I had no idea. Thanks to Bean Hohn for the invite! What a joy to worship with Judy, Tasha, Ray, Buddy, Donna, Linda, and Tara! I shared part of my Christmas Eve sermon with my new friends at Schultz House and left encouraged and blessed!


Friday morning, at the invitation of Jamie Skovran, I had the opportunity to meet with several in leadership at the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy in Danville to see and hear firsthand all that KDBA is doing for junior high and high school students. I loved hearing stories of growth, redemption, and achievement! It reminded me of a truth I’ve seen play out most of my adult life: teachers and school administrators have the chance to change lives and help students overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I’m thankful for everyone I met at KDBA and love what they are doing for Danville!


Saturday brought the Angel Tree party at 2CC and the chance to bless children who have parents incarcerated with the joy of Christmas. Thank you to Adam Singley for all you do to make this event happen! Angel Tree is such a great program and is a constant reminder of how redemption is possible for everyone! The late Chuck Colson’s life was changed by Jesus in prison following the shame of Watergate. He eventually founded Prison Fellowship and today Angel Tree is just one piece of its ministry. Will you take a moment this week and pray for families facing the prospect of Christmas without a parent due to the reality of prison?


Sunday at Second was week three of five in our Songs of Christmas series, and we looked at the traditional spiritual, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” This song, of course, is a reminder to make the most of every opportunity, especially at Christmas, to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and tell the story of Jesus. Who are you inviting to Christmas Eve at Second this year? This Sunday, we will look at the Christmas hymn, “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” my personal favorite! I cannot wait to share about JOY and the CALL to REJOICE!


Last night (Monday) was the annual Second Church of Christ STAFF Christmas party. The food was fabulous, the fellowship was sweet, the trivia was challenging (my team fell just one answer short of victory, but who is counting?), and the white elephant gift exchange was a blast (Brandon’s life is changed forever). Special shout out to Erica Burke, the 2CC Staff “Rock-Paper-Scissors” champion! I am so thankful for the women and men I get to serve alongside day in and day out at 2CC. I hope you know how blessed we are at Second Church with our staff! We have a great team, and I look forward to many years of doing ministry with our crew!


Merry Christmas Second Church!


Here are six reminders related to the life of our church:


Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – Plan now to join us at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. in either the Main Auditorium or the Next Gen Auditorium for Christmas Eve services at Second! Who are you bringing with you this year?


End of the year giving – Second Church is so blessed by your generosity, and I am personally thankful for the obvious passion to practice stewardship! Just a reminder, any end of the year giving must be received by noon on December 31 when our office closes for 2019.


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


Weekly Prayer List is Available – Each week during services, we give you the opportunity to submit in writing prayer requests and praises, and typically we receive 25-30 or more prayer requests. By noon on most Mondays, this list is compiled and shared with the leadership at 2CC. This list is also available for you and is placed in different locations throughout our building. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to pray for your Second Church family each week!


Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!


CIY date change for summer 2020 – HSM will head to CIY MOVE July 19-23.


I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


December 11, 2019

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere I go! My neighborhood is now full of homes with decorations and light displays, and I love every minute of it! Our church looks so beautiful, and I especially love the four “picture booths” available in The Commons in conjunction with our sermon series in the Main Auditorium, The Songs of Christmas. Even my office has a small, white Christmas tree, decorated with ornaments of my favorite sports teams: the Illini, the Cubs, the Bears, and the Blackhawks. All I need to make it complete are White Sox and Saluki representations! I love Christmas time and hope you do as well.


This past Sunday, we considered the various reactions to the birth of Christ in the first-century world as well as modern-day perspectives on Jesus. Today, some people really ABHOR Jesus, and we see persecution alive and well all over the world. Even more people today simply IGNORE Jesus and live life each December with a Christ-less Christmas. Followers of Jesus are, of course, called to ADORE Jesus, our newborn King. “Oh, come let us adore him, Christ the Lord,” should not simply be ritualistic words we sign each December but, instead, both the meditation of our heart and the marching order for our lives. Our call is simple: make sure this December and every Christmas season is a time we truly ADORE Jesus the Christ in all we do!


This Sunday, we will study the traditional spiritual song “Go, Tell it on the Mountain,” and the message this song imparts. Written down by John Wesley Work Jr., this song has its roots during a very dark time in the history of our country. As the evil of slavery played out in the land of the free, this song was one of many that could be heard regularly from plantation to plantation and is a favorite today in both the Christian and secular world. Inspired by Luke 2:8-20, and the message of the angels to the shepherds, it reminds us we cannot keep the good news of Jesus Christ to ourselves! We are called to GO and TELL!


One great opportunity to GO and TELL others will happen two weeks from today on December 24. Christmas Eve at Second will bring four worship opportunities at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. in both the Main Auditorium and the Next Gen Auditorium. Christmas Eve at Second will bring a worship event you will NOT want to miss! I literally cannot wait for December 24!


Christmas Eve continues to be a time when many living outside the grace of God make their way to worship services. Many only attend a church service one or two times a year, and Christmas Eve is typically that gathering. As a staff, we are praying Christmas Eve 2019 will plant seeds of faith and become the catalyst for many Jesus conversations.


My hope for our church is simple. First, let’s invite others to join us this Christmas and hear the good news of Jesus! Second, let’s embrace the spirit of hospitality and joy more than ever on Christmas Eve! Finally, let’s live out the reality of 1 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” This Christmas, will you plant seeds of faith? This Christmas, will you water seeds of faith? I cannot wait to see what Christmas Eve 2019 brings!


Here are six events or requests related to the life of our church:


Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – Plan now to join us at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. in either the Main Auditorium or the Next Gen Auditorium for Christmas Eve services at Second! Who are you bringing with you this year?


Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – We need your help for Christmas Eve 2019! Could you, your family, or even your connect group assist Kenna Osborne in Kid’s World at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.? As of today, no one has volunteered to help at 6:00 p.m. Anyone?


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


Weekly Prayer List is Available – Each week during services, we give you the opportunity to submit in writing prayer requests and praises, and typically we receive 25-30 or more prayer requests. By noon on most Mondays, this list is compiled and shared with the leadership at 2CC. This list is also available for you and is placed in different locations throughout our building. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to pray for your Second Church family each week!


Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!


CIY date change for summer 2020 – HSM will head to CIY MOVE July 19-23.


I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


December 3, 2019

Last Wednesday, well over 300 gathered in the Main Auditorium for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service. The worship gathering was a collaborative effort, with Stephanie Spangler and Adam Singley working together on our No Matter What service, inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. The late Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message, translates this text as follows: “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.


Terry Goodwin, Dale DeNeal, and I each shared briefly on the importance of JOY, PRAYER and THANKFULNESS in the life of the Christ follower! I’m really thankful for our team at 2CC and truly enjoyed working with so many on our Thanksgiving Eve service!


Sunday began Christmas at Second 2019, and this year our series is entitled the Songs of Christmas. Each Sunday in Main Auditorium services we will consider the message behind one of the songs/hymns of Christmas. Week one brought a message on anticipation and the power of learning to WAIT well on the Lord, inspired by the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” As someone that rarely “waits well,” just writing this message brought all sorts of struggle and conviction! I loved how our service ended, with the reading of Isaiah 40:31, and the song Everlasting God!


This Sunday, December 8, our hymn is “What Child is This,” taken from a poem written by William Dix in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. Dix struggled with illness and severe depression and found himself bedridden for much of that year. While out of commission, he devoted his life to the reading of God’s Word and experienced a spiritual renewal.


After reading Matthew 2:1-12, he penned the words to The Manger Throne, which in 1871 was put to the traditional English melody of “Greensleeves” and became one of our most treasured Christmas hymns. Listen to these words:


“What Child is this who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the son of Mary.”


Dix asks the question, “What child is this?” and many in 2019 are still struggling with the question of Jesus. This Sunday we will consider reactions to Jesus in the first century and reactions to Jesus today. See you Sunday at Second!


This week, the office will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Second Church of Christ staff retreat. We have a really good team at 2CC, and I’m looking forward to studying, dreaming, and praying together as a team this week. Will you join me in praying for our church and especially our staff this week? Thanks in advance!


Here are five events or requests related to the life of our church:


Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – Plan now to join us at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. in either the Main Auditorium or the Next Gen Auditorium for Christmas Eve services at Second! People not connected to a local church are more likely to attend a Christmas Eve service than any other service during the year, so who are YOU inviting this year?


• Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – We need your help for Christmas Eve 2019! Could you, your family, or even your connect group assist Kenna Osborne in Kid’s World at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.?


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word! I am excited to be able to teach at CR tonight, December 3 on CONFESS. I can’t wait! If you have never attended CR, consider this your personal invitation!


Angel Tree – All 250 tags were claimed! PTL! Prison Fellowship makes an enormous impact on the families of incarcerated loved ones, and we are excited to partner with them for Angel Tree 2019. Please make sure if you took a tag to return the presents by this Sunday, December 8! Please connect with Adam Singley if you have questions or if you can help with the December 14 Angel Tree event at 2CC.


Pastoral Care – We need your help. We want to provide pastoral care to those who are in need. If you know anyone who is currently in the hospital or becomes ill or has passed away, please let us know. You can call Tonya Ward in the church office at (217) 442-7306 or reach out to me!


I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


november 26, 2019

We are just a couple of days away from Thanksgiving Day 2019, and I have truly been blessed this Thanksgiving season at Second! Yesterday brought a pulpit swap as Kiley Garrison spoke in Main Auditorium services and I had the blessing of speaking in Next Gen services. I was reminded once again what a good preacher Kiley is and how personally thankful I was for his message about choosing gratitude in our lives.


Kiley’s text from Luke 17:11-19 and the healing of the 10 lepers is considered one of the classic Thanksgiving passages in the New Testament, and it was a blessing to study it! I won’t soon forget the challenge to be a hummingbird and not a vulture, especially this week! I also LOVED the drama. Well done to everyone involved! And to think I was surprised that Tim Holycross had thespian skills! Thank you, Stephanie Spangler, for making the skit happen!


I spent most of Sunday in Next Gen and had the blessing of sharing the Jar of Mercy message from Luke 7:36-50. Both Next Gen services were full, and it was a true joy to stand in the back and watch so many worship the Lord without reservation. Adam Singley does a really good job planning and leading worship in Next Gen, and I am thankful he is a part of the team at 2CC! I love the DNA of our church and also look forward to opportunities to share in our Next Gen services!


Saturday night at Second brought the All For Love coffee house/fundraiser, and the evening was really special. High School students Rebecca Garrison and Emily Skovran were given a challenge at CIY this year to raise money for foster care, and Saturday evening was the culmination of this vision. $1,200.00 was raised through the auction of 45 homemade pies and donations, and everyone who attended was blessed by our HSM worship band! I’m thankful for Tyler Russell and the impact HSM is making in the lives of so many! And thank you, Tyler, for teaching at Oasis today so I could attend a family funeral in Missouri!


This Sunday begins Christmas at Second 2019, and each Sunday in Main Auditorium we will consider the message behind one of the songs of Christmas. What is your favorite Christmas song? Why is music so deeply connected to Christmas? This week our song is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, a hymn with roots all the way back to the ninth century, articulating the anticipation of the Messiah by God’s people. Listen to these words:


“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel. Shall come to thee, O Israel!”


Christmas is a season of anticipation, and I can’t wait for Christmas at Second 2019 to launch this Sunday! Enjoy this Thanksgiving week, and we will see you Sunday at Second!


Here are five reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


• Thanksgiving Eve Service 2019 – Join us in the Main Auditorium THIS Wednesday evening, November 27, for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:15 p.m. and find out what NO MATTER LIVING is all about! Spread the word that all are welcome (regardless of church affiliation) as we thank God for all that He has done!


• Thanksgiving Offering 2019 – This past Sunday, November 24, we collected our annual Thanksgiving Offering, and this year the offering is designated for both the Women’s Care Clinic and the Danville Rescue Mission. Our goal for this offering is at least $15,000.00. Your generous giving allowed us to surpass that goal with a total of $16,685.95! It is NOT too late to give toward this special offering if you missed worship on Sunday!


• Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. If you have never attended CR, consider this your personal invitation! All are welcome, so please spread the word!


• Angel Tree – Did you take a tag on Sunday? If not, there is still time for you to grab a tag and bless a family this Christmas season. Prison Fellowship makes an enormous impact on the families of incarcerated loved ones, and we are excited to partner with them for Angel Tree 2019. Please connect with Adam Singley if you have questions or if you can help with the December 14 Angel Tree event.


• Christmas Eve 2019 at Second – Plan now to join us at either 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. in either the Main Auditorium or the Next Gen Auditorium for Christmas Eve services at Second!


I love Second Church of Christ, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Don’t stop telling others about Second! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


NOVEMBER 19, 2019

Sunday brought week two of our three-week study in Thanksgiving, and it was encouraging on so many different levels! I had the chance to share about the late Wade Lowery of Ozark Christian College and his final, four-word Facebook post from May of 2012, where he simply shared that he was “THANKFUL FOR THE DAY.” This simple post from seven and a half years ago continues to have a positive ripple effect all over the USA. Although I didn’t know Wade well, the few personal encounters I had with him always made a mark, and his lasting legacy of being thankful has both endured the test of time and inspired so many to always be Thankful for the Day! So this week, I want to share my heart of Thanksgiving . . .


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the HSM Worship team led by Miranda Prichard that led worship in Main Auditorium on Sunday! I’m excited to see what God will do in the lives of these high-school students in the years to come.


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the impact of the JHM fall retreat at Hanging Rock Christian Camp this past weekend! 102 Junior High students from 2CC, along with several sponsors, studied all weekend long about Jesus and how Jesus is always worth it!


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the ministry of GriefShare, and the special one-time gathering last Thursday evening Surviving the Holidays. There were 27 who participated in the two-hour gathering. Special thanks to Linda Abbott and Marsha Wilkinson for leading this important ministry!


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of Step Up Vermilion County and the impact this growing group of women and men continue to make on our community! Step Up was recently awarded Honorable Mention for the Governor’s Hometown Award – Way to go Step Up!


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the many monthly Mission partnerships our church is blessed with! Each mission and organization is making a difference for Jesus, and our mission team does a great job encouraging and supporting! This past weekend was ICOM – the International Convention on Missions – in Kansas City and several from our church were in attendance. ICOM 2020 will take place in nearby Indianapolis.


• I’m Thankful for the Day because Second Church has a heart for those in need of prayer and facing Nursing Home or Hospital stays. Friendly reminder: Please contact Tonya Ward in our office and let us know about pastoral care needs so we can both pray and make pastoral visits.


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the impact of our 2019 Food Drive! 518 boxes were donated and promptly given to ten different churches and/or organizations in our area that feed the hungry! Last Thursday, led by Kiley Garrison, 50-55 boxes were donated to each of the following groups: Community food pantries in Hoopeston, Oakwood, Georgetown and Covington, Salvation Army, Danville township, Crossroads Christian Church, Antioch Baptist Church, St. James United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. Welldone, Second Church! Thanks to Nathan Campbell for providing the truck and thanks to Tim Holycross, Marv Johnson, and Tyler Russell for assisting in delivery!


• I’m Thankful for the Day because of the staff and leadership at Second Church. Everything rises and falls on leadership, and I’m blessed beyond what I deserve with the team here at 2CC! Thank you, Second Church, for welcoming the Taylor’s with open arms!


Here are five reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


• Thanksgiving Offering 2019: – THIS Sunday, November 24, we will collect our annual Thanksgiving Offering, and this year the offering is designated for both the Women’s Care Clinic and the Danville Rescue Mission. Our goal for this offering is at least $15,000.00. Please plan now an “above and beyond regular giving” generous gift for our Thanksgiving Offering 2019!


All For Love – Coffee House is THIS Saturday, November 23, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. right here at Second Church. This special evening is being organized by several of our high school students to raise money for Foster Care ministries and organizations. Plan to join me for an evening of music from our students and delicious coffee, sweets and conversation with others. Come with your friends or come by yourself. All are welcome!


• Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


• Operation Christmas Child –This Sunday, November 24, is the final day we can collect boxes. Call the Second Church office if you have questions.

• Thanksgiving Eve Service – What is “No Matter What” living? Join us in the Main Auditorium on Wednesday evening, November 27, for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:15 p.m. and find out! Spread the word that all are welcome as we thank God for all that He has done!


I love Second Church, a place that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! Spread the word. Invite your friends. See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


November 13, 2019

Walking in a winter wonderland . . . on Veterans Day? It was not exactly my idea of ideal mid-November weather, but that is the great thing about Illinois: if you don’t like the weather, just wait a day or two and it will probably change! Unfortunately, this week we were forced to cancel both Tiny Tots Tuesdays and the Oasis Bible Study due to extremely cold weather and ice-covered roads. My hope is the bad weather stays away on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays moving forward! If you are ever wondering if a Second Church service or event will be cancelled due to bad weather, one very easy step to take is to check out the Second Church of Christ Facebook page.


We are right in the middle of Thanksgiving at Second 2019, and last Sunday’s service on Mercy is still fresh in my mind. I was thankful for Bean Hohn and his unique but powerful way of honoring our veterans at Second while connecting the choice of mercy. I was so thankful for worship songs that reminded of our call to choose mercy. I was so thankful for Scriptures that revealed the merciful heart of Jesus. I was so thankful for the powerful living illustration of Brandt Jean and his choice of love and forgiveness instead of anger and judgment. I am reminded of my call to be a Messenger of Mercy each day when I see my Jar of Mercy.


• “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” - Matthew 5:7


This Sunday, November 17, the Main Auditorium worship services will study Psalm 100 and 1 Chronicles 16 as we continue our Thanksgiving series at Second. I am super excited that our HSM Worship team led by Miranda Prichard and featuring several of our high school students will be leading worship! I can’t wait! We have SO much to be thankful for, and I cannot wait to share the sermon, “Thankful for the Day.” I hope you can join us this week as we look at ALL of the ways the Lord has blessed our church!


On Sunday, November 24, we will collect our annual Thanksgiving Offering, and this year the offering is designated for both the Women’s Care Clinic and the Danville Rescue Mission. Our goal for this offering is at least $15,000.00. Please plan now an “above and beyond regular giving” generous gift for our Thanksgiving Offering 2019!


Tomorrow, several of us led by Kiley Garrison will be delivering the food boxes that were given during our Food Drive to multiple different ministries and organizations in our area that serve the hungry. Thank you, Second Church, for donating over 500 food boxes this year!


Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


• GriefShare Surviving the Holidays: – Tomorrow night, Thursday, November 14, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in Hallelujah Hall, GriefShare is providing a one-evening seminar to help you handle this time of the year while grieving the loss of a loved one. You do not need to be enrolled in the GriefShare program to attend. Everyone is welcome, and you can enter our building through Door 3.


• Young at Heart is next Friday, November 22, and will feature the music of the New Jerusalem Singers from Auburn, IL. This will be the final gathering of Young at Heart for 2019, and all are welcome! Reservations for the catered meal ($5) are due this Sunday, November 17, to Sue Gibson at (217) 442-7555.


• All For Love – Coffee House is scheduled for next Saturday, November 23, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. right here at Second Church. This special evening is being organized by several of our high school students to raise money for Foster Care ministries and organizations. Plan to join me for an evening of music from our students and delicious coffee, sweets and conversation with others. Come with your friends or come by yourself. All are welcome!


• Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


• Operation Christmas Child – If you are looking for a great way to try and help bless a child in need in another part of the world, OCC is for you! If you would be interested in filling a shoebox for a child this year, come to the table in the Commons this Sunday to get a box to fill and all of the appropriate details. This Sunday, November 17, is the final day we can collect boxes.


• Thanksgiving Eve Service – What is “No Matter What” living? Join us in the Main Auditorium on Wednesday evening, November 27, for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:15 p.m. and find out! Spread the word that all are welcome!


What a true joy to be connected to a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


NOVEMBER 5, 2019

This weekend at Second Church was one to remember as we celebrated Drew, Judy, and Dee Mentzer and their 22-½ years of ministry at our church. I have felt for quite some time that you have an exceptional staff at 2CC, and that was evident both Saturday and Sunday. Special thanks to Stephanie Spangler for tapping into her creative juices and planning a service that was perfect for the occasion! She has been working on this service for over two months. Great job, Stephanie! Darrell Paddock and Ben Smith handled the tech side of things with excellence, as usual, and allowed for an overflow viewing area in Next Gen that was used during both 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services. Sunday brought a worship gathering that gave honor to whom honor is due but ultimately glorified God first and foremost! I was honored to be handed the baton (literally) from Drew Mentzer and appreciated so much his heart for our church and his confidence in all of us. I look forward to serving Second Church for years to come!


Even though I have only been on staff for three months, I had the opportunity to speak about the Mentzer family at the end of the service. I was thankful to be able to share about Drew’s passion for the Word of God, his character relationally, his availability to one and all, his prioritizing of the ministry of Celebrate Recovery, and his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for 2019 in many different ways but at the top of the list is the opportunity to meet and work alongside Drew Mentzer!


I’m also thankful for Judy and Dee Mentzer and their lasting impact on our church. Judy’s impact on 2CC truly came to light during the song, “Tell Me the Story” on Sunday, as dozens of children and adults ascended to the stage to say, “Thank you, Miss Judy, for telling ME the story.” What a legacy Judy leaves us through her passion and involvement in children’s ministry. That is only a fraction of her impact on our church.


And what can I say about Dee? She was always a bright light on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the office. I’ll miss hearing her shouting out, “Gregory Edward,” and I’ll miss her jokes that always made me laugh. I’ll miss her M&M’s and Hot Tamales, but most of all I will miss her joy!


I asked several long-time staff at Second to share a paragraph about Drew and the Mentzer family this week. Enjoy!


Executive Minister Dale DeNeal: “The first time I met Drew Mentzer was at a Christmas Eve Service in 1998. At that time, Donna and I were serving at a church in Lancaster, OH, and we were in Illinois visiting family for the holidays. I remember how impressed I was with Drew at our first meeting. There was an instant connection. A few months later, Drew reached out to me and we began a conversation about the possibility of me joining the staff at Second Church. I was intrigued by the idea; however, the timing wasn’t good. About a year later, my situation changed and I started thinking about the possibility of working with Drew at Second Church. I reached out to Drew and we began again the conversation of joining the Second Church staff. In July of 2000, I arrived Second Church as the Executive Minister to help Drew with the administration, staff, and strategic development. The past 19 years of working with Drew have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years in my 36 years of fulltime Christian ministry. Drew is one of the finest men I’ve had the privilege of working with. His work ethic, character, faith, wisdom, and humility have profoundly impacted my life and the lives of so many people at Second Church of Christ. When you think of Drew, you also have to think of Judy! She too is an incredible phenom. The familiar saying, “behind every good man is a great woman,” was written about the Mentzers. Now, add Deedra Kay’s warmth, vitality, laughter, and hugs to the equation, and you have what I call the Mentzer phenomenon—a special, one of a kind ethos that Second Church of Christ has had the unique honor, privilege and blessing to experience! Thank you, Drew, Judy, and Dee! Our lives have forever been changed by your leadership, faith, and love!”


Next Gen Minister Kiley Garrison: “There is so much I could say about Drew and Judy’s impact on my life through their faith, humility, encouragement, wisdom and friendship, but one of the greatest gifts Drew and Judy gave to me and Chel in our first year at Second was permission to be parents who were present. As a minister, it’s easy to burn the candle at both ends in church-world. When we moved here in 2003, our girls were less than 2 years old. Drew and Judy both admonished us to always prioritize our family first, teaching us, if we led other people to Jesus but made our kids resentful toward God and the church in the process, we would have failed. For a guy who felt the pressure to prove myself in a new job, that was incredibly freeing. It made me a better husband and father, and I’m forever grateful. It has been a tremendous honor to do Kingdom work alongside the Mentzers for the past 16 years.”


Worship Minister Stephanie Spangler: “My work with Drew and Judy began in 2002 when my husband became a staff member here at Second and I volunteered with children’s choir and adult choir and led worship occasionally on a volunteer basis. I have witnessed Drew’s consistency in all those years. Since working on staff since 2014, I have grown to rely on his rhythm in his preaching as well as his rhythm in how he interacts with the staff. It is almost like an old familiar song. In my most difficult of days over the past few years, Drew has been a steady and loyal friend who knew details about my life that I would not ever truly want to share with anyone, but I knew I could trust him. Many times, he sat across from my desk while I sobbed. He did not offer advice. He just listened and then promised to pray, and I know he did.


I have always admired and still do admire Judy’s work ethic. She is a beast, and I mean that as a compliment! I have so enjoyed our work together on the various ladies’ events over the years. Her sense of humor is unmatched! It is dry and wickedly funny! Her soft-spoken voice has told many a humorous story at those events and brought laughter to many women over the years. It truly is good for the heart to be around Judy Mentzer.


Deedra’s beautiful personality touched my heart just like she touched yours. Her jokes and her music will be missed around here for years to come. She was a light to everyone she communicated with. Sunday, November 10, will certainly be different. As I look out on the congregation, I’ll miss Drew sitting in his seat on the right with his Bible and his notes. I’ll miss seeing Judy sitting beside him during second hour and Deedra Kay sitting with her special friend, Karen. There are three spots that will be empty and will probably bring a lump to my throat for a few weeks as we all adjust to life without the Mentzers. The lyrics from “For Good,” from the musical Wicked, appropriately apply to how I feel about Drew, Judy, and Deedra: ‘Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.’”


Children’s Minister Kenna Osborne: “When I think about what the Mentzer family has meant to me, I find myself with a huge smile on my face and a heart filled with gratitude. I have always been amazed, humbled, and grateful for the love they shared, the confidence they had in me, and the friendship that was more like family they gave to me. When I hired in as Second’s new Children’s Minister in February of 1998, the outpour of support and encouragement given to me by the Mentzer family was unconditional and unending. I will forever be grateful for the love they shared with Matt and me but especially for the love and support they have given to our sons, Corey & Cole. Thank you for showing our family what Christian ministry, family, and grace look like.”


Facilities Director Tim Holycross: “As I reflect on the 22-½ years I’ve spent working with Drew as he has ministered here at Second Church, I realize he has taught me so much about being humble and being available to others. His work ethic has been impeccable. He is highly respected by people within the church and in the community, but he is down to earth and never makes you feel he is any way superior to you. He always makes you feel comfortable when you talk to him. His advice and words are evident that he relies on God. He is very community oriented and is always willing to help in whatever way he can whether that is through prayer, talking to someone, or helping someone do something. No job is ever too menial for him. He has changed my life for the good, and it has been a privilege to have been able to have spent all this time working with such an upstanding man. Drew said from the start of his ministry that he and Judy were a team, and words cannot express how I feel about that sweet lady and their awesome daughter, Dee. We are friends for life, and I love them all!”


Connections Minister Terry Goodwin: “Drew, Judy, and Deedra have been such a blessing to us here at Second Church. Some of my favorite memories are kind of unusual, though. I had the opportunity to play basketball with Drew for many years, and there is nothing like driving to the basket and kicking the ball to Drew to hit a 3. This is a lot like things have been here at church too. Drew was the finisher. We would prepare things. We would get things ready, and then Drew would step in and take care of the rest. He was so reliable. We could always count on him. Judy and Dee, the love that you showed while working in the office or lining up meals for people who had a need meant so much. You had a way of knowing what each person needed at just the right time. I have to say that my favorite thing about the Mentzers, though, is a little different. As they have prepared to leave Second Church and move to Tennessee, they have prepared us to continue making Christ-centered disciples. Their work will not be in vain if we continue to move forward in the mission Jesus Christ gave us. Thank you for investing in us!”


Audio/Visual Director Darrell Paddock: I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be a part of the Mentzer’s ministry at Second Church. Such amazing examples of what it means to serve and love people. Thank you for leaving an amazing impact in so many lives, including mine.


Honor to whom honor is due! Thank you Drew, Judy, and Dee! You are loved! You will be missed! Blessings to the three of you on life in Tennessee!

And blessings to you, Second Church of Christ! Thank you for truly being a Grace Place! Marla and I are so thankful to be a part of the 2CC team!


Here are five reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


• 14th Annual Food Drive – We are in the home stretch of the Food Drive and will be collecting food one final Sunday morning – this week, November 10. You may drop off your boxes at the container in the front parking lot this Sunday between 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


• Community-wide Worship Night is scheduled for THIS Saturday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church. Multiple churches, including both staff and ministry team members from 2CC, will be leading this 90-minute time of worship, bringing Christ followers from all over our area together to celebrate what we have in common: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


• Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


• Operation Christmas Child – If you are looking for a great way to try and help bless a child in need in another part of the world, OCC is for you! If you would be interested in filling a shoebox for a child this year, come to the table in the Commons this Sunday to get a box to fill and all of the appropriate details. The last day we can collect boxes is Sunday, November 17.


• Thanksgiving Eve Service – Join us in the Next Gen Auditorium on Wednesday evening, November 27, for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:15 p.m. and spread the word that all are welcome!


What a true joy to be connected to a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! See you on Sunday at Second!


GT


OCTOBER 29, 2019

Time change weekend is upon us, and if you are like me, you enjoy the opportunity to “fall back” and gain an extra hour of sleep once a year! I don’t really enjoy less sunlight in the afternoon, but such is life. Don’t forget to set your clocks back before going to bed on Saturday evening, November 2, and get ready for the dreaded sunset before 6:00 p.m. as our new normal. 


We have a huge weekend planned at Second Church, and I really hope you will make the most of it to thank and encourage Drew, Judy, and Dee Mentzer for their 22 years of ministry at 2CC! Please make sure to attend the Mentzer Farewell Open House, if at all possible, from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. this Saturday, November 2, here at the Second building. I personally could not be more thankful for how Drew and Judy have blessed my family and helped make this transition process smooth and encouraging for Marla and me!


Do not forget about our Service Time Change for this Sunday, November 3. The Mentzer family’s final Sunday at Second Church will be this Sunday, November 3, and due to all that will be happening that morning, we are changing our services times for Sunday, November 3 ONLY. On November 3 only, Next Gen will join with Main Service in the Main Auditorium, and the service times will be 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Kid’s World, JHM, HSM and ABF will not meet on Sunday morning, November 3. Only nursery and preschool will be available on Sunday morning, November 3.


I was really blessed on Sunday to spend the morning with our Junior High Ministry team and share with over 70 Junior High students as guest teacher. Jake and Jamie Weece are doing a great job, and I am so thankful to have them as part of our ministry team here at 2CC! Jake announced yesterday that 73 JHM students are signed up for the JHM fall retreat at Hanging Rock Camp on November 15-17, and this Sunday is the final day for students to sign up. Please make sure your Junior High student does not miss out on this great growth opportunity!


Please be in prayer for faculty, staff and students at Cincinnati Christian University following the news of their upcoming closure. CCU announced on Monday that they will cease to offer accredited degree programs following the Fall 2019 semester. Dozens of faculty and staff are losing their ministry positions, and hundreds of students are in the difficult position of trying to find another school to attend. This is heartbreaking news for so many connected to this longtime Restoration Movement educational institution.


Finally, Brandon Allen and Sandra Lathrop from our staff have blessed us with the opportunity to purchase our own Second Church t-shirts, sweatshirts, and stocking caps. I have taken advantage of 2CC clothing and caps. Have you? Check out the online store at https://www.2ccstore.org.

Blessings, Second Church of Christ! I am so thankful to be a part of the 2CC team and look forward to where the Lord leads us in the months and years ahead!


Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


• 14th Annual Food Drive – Hopefully, you have taken a box or two from The Commons and are in the process of filling the box(es) with non-perishable food items and returning the box(es) to Second over the next two weeks. We will be collecting food on Sunday mornings through November 10. You may drop off your boxes at the container in the front parking lot on Sunday mornings between 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Community-wide Worship Night is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church. Multiple churches including both staff and ministry team members from 2CC will be leading this 90-minute time of worship bringing Christ followers from all over our area together to celebrate what we have in common: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering. All are welcome, so please spread the word!


Operation Christmas Child – If you are looking for a great way to try and help bless a child in need in another part of the world, OCC is for you! If you would be interested in fill a shoebox for a child this year, come to the table in The Commons this Sunday to get a box to fill and all the appropriate details. The last day we can collect boxes is Sunday, November 17.


HSM Parent Preview Night – This Sunday evening, November 3, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Student Ministry building all parents are invited and encouraged to come out and see all that is happening with the 2CC High School Ministry! Talk to Tyler Russell if you have questions.


Thanksgiving Eve Service – Join us in the Next Gen Auditorium on Wednesday evening, November 27, for our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:15 p.m. and spread the word. All are welcome!


What a true joy to be connected to a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! See you Saturday and Sunday at Second!


GT


October 23, 2019

Fall Break 2019 is over, and our area schools are back in session. Hopefully, this past week was a blessing for you! Marla and I certainly enjoyed our time away, especially the time spent with our son, Peyton. As October draws to a close, I am reminded our church is entering into a very important season. Let me share four quick suggestions this week for all of us at Second Church:


First, make the most of the next two weeks to thank and encourage Drew, Judy and Dee Mentzer for their 22 years of ministry at 2CC! This Sunday, October 27 will be Drew’s final “full” sermon, and I would love to see the Main Auditorium full to encourage the Mentzer family. Please make sure to attend the Mentzer Farewell Open House if at all possible from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2 here at the Second building. I personally could not be more thankful for how Drew has blessed me and helped make this transition process wonderful for Marla and myself!


Second, please remain faithful in both worship attendance and study group attendance and also in your financial giving. We live in a busy society and it is easy to get out of the habit of worship, study, and stewardship. These are exciting days at 2CC, so don’t miss out on all God is doing at and through our church!


Third, remember to invite those in your life who are not currently connected with a local church or are living outside the grace of God to join you at 2CC. There is always room for one more! We are entering a really difficult season of the year for people living through the storms of life. Make sure your eyes and ears are wide open to those who are hurting or seeking. Who’s your ONE?


Finally, PRAY! Pray for your church. Pray for the leadership of your church. Pray for the staff and ministry team leaders of your church. Pray for our monthly mission partnerships. Pray for our community and for continued opportunities to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world in east central Illinois and west central Indiana!


Blessings, Second Church of Christ! God is good all the time. Let us make sure we live our lives each day with this perspective in both our minds and our hearts!


Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


JHM Family Night – This Friday night October 25 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ALL families with Junior High students are welcome to join Jake and Jamie Weece on the new patio of the Student Ministry building for fun games, delicious snacks and great fellowship. You don’t need to sign up, just show up!


• 14th Annual Food Drive – Grab a box or two from The Commons, fill it with non-perishable food items, and return the box to Second over the next several weeks. We will be collecting food four consecutive Sunday mornings through November 10. Over 625 boxes were picked up on Sundays October 13 and October 20 – way to go 2CC! You may drop off your boxes at the container in the front parking lot on Sunday mornings between 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Community-wide Worship Night is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church. Multiple churches, including both staff and ministry team members from 2CC, will be leading this 90-minute time of worship bringing Christ followers from all over our area together to celebrate what we have in common: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering – all are welcome so please spread the word!


Operation Christmas Child – If you are looking for a great way to try and help bless a child in need in another part of the world, OCC is for you! If you would be interested in filling a shoebox for a child this year, come to the table in The Commons this Sunday to get a box to fill and all the appropriate details. The last day we can collect boxes is Sunday, November 17.


Service Time Change for Sunday, November 3 – The Mentzer family’s final Sunday at Second Church will be Sunday, November 3, and due to all that will be happening that morning, we are changing our services times for Sunday, November 3 ONLY. On November 3 only, Next Gen will join with Main Service in the Main Auditorium, and the service times will be 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Kid’s World, JHM, HSM and ABF will not meet on Sunday morning November 3 (although HSM family night WILL happen on Sunday evening November 3 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) Only nursery and preschool will be available on November 3.


What a blessing to be part of a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You! See you Sunday!


GT


OCTOBER 16, 2019

It is always good to get away with the one you love, and that is exactly what this week has brought for Marla and I: a short trip to beautiful Giant City State Park near Carbondale. For the first time in her teaching career, Marla has a fall break, and we made the decision to get away for three nights and enjoy places like Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock Trail, Cave in Rock State Park, Bald Knob Cross and much more. Of course, the highlight of the week has been spending time with our son, Peyton, who is in his sophomore year at SIU-C. As a result of this trip, the blog this week will be shorter and is hitting the website a little later than usual. Thanks for your grace!

 

It was a blessing on Sunday to teach all three Adult Bible Fellowship classes! What a special and unique group each ABF has proved to be. Each ABF meets in Hallelujah Hall at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. respectively. Here is the best part of each class/group: there is room for more, so if you are not currently a part of a Bible Study class/group, why not give an ABF a chance? I am pretty sure you will be blessed!

 

Although I was never blessed to meet him, my family and I offer heartfelt condolences to the family of Gary Morning, former Senior Minister of our church, who passed away in Indiana on Friday, October 11, at the age of 81. Gary led our church during the time when the decision was made to sell the Bowman Avenue building and move to a somewhat remote location at the corner of Lynch and Voorhees, and what an impact our church has had in the almost 40 years since! I’m so thankful for men and women of vision who were unwilling to settle for the status quo 40 years ago! We are blessed because of their sacrifice and commitment!

 

Mark your calendars now: A Community-Wide Worship Night is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church. Multiple churches, including both staff and ministry team members from 2CC, will be leading this 90 minute time of worship, bringing Christ followers from all over our area together to celebrate what we have in common: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Join us on November 9th! I cannot wait!

 

Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:

 

  • Mentzer Farewell Open House – The leadership of 2CC will be hosting an open house celebration for the Mentzer family from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2. Please take advantage of this opportunity to thank Drew, Judy and Dee for 22 years of ministry at 2CC!


  • 14th Annual Food Drive – Grab a box or two from The Commons, fill it with non-perishable food items, and return the box to Second over the next several weeks. We will be collecting food four consecutive Sunday mornings from October 20 through November 10. Over 450 boxes were picked up on Sunday October 13 – way to go 2CC! You may drop off your boxes at the container in the front parking lot on Sunday mornings between 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


  • Little Galilee Christian Camp’s Senior Saints Day is Wednesday, October 23, and I would love to have you join us! I am part of the planning team along with Hank Sanford from CU Church and Jeff Mayfield from Le Roy Christian Church. Our keynote speaker for the day is our own Drew Mentzer! YOU are invited to join us for this all day gathering that features great preaching, really good gospel worship, and a delicious lunch!


  • Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering – all are welcome so please spread the word!


  •  SCC benevolence ministry - We are looking for women and men to join our benevolence ministry team and assist once or twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. If you are interested, please use the bulletin tear off. If you would like more information, please see Dale DeNeal, Kiley Garrison or myself.


  •  Service Time Change for Sunday, November 3 – The Mentzer family’s final Sunday at Second Church will be Sunday, November 3, and due to all that will be happening that morning, we are changing our services times for Sunday, November 3 ONLY. On November 3 only, Next Gen will join with Main Service in the Main Auditorium, and the service times will be 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Kid’s World, JHM, HSM and ABF will not meet on November 3. Only nursery and preschool will be available on November 3.

 

That’s all for this week my friends but never grow tired of spreading the word about 2CC! Invite your friends! What a joy to be part of a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!

 

GT

OCTOBER 8, 2019

Sunday was a rare day for me, as I had no preaching or teaching responsibilities and had the opportunity to spend the morning floating around the 2CC building, and what a great morning it was! I was blessed to hear not one but two really good sermons as we began our series Rich Toward God. Kiley Garrison preached in the Main Auditorium, and Drew Mentzer preached in Next Gen services, and both men helped us better understand how to Trust God with all we have been blessed with.


A major takeaway from the study on Sunday morning was the idea of what stewardship really is and what it means to be a good steward with all God has provided. So many of us are so very blessed, and the temptation is to buy the lie that it is all about our individual greatness and our individual efforts. Notice how many times in the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:13-21 he speaks of all HE has and what HE is planning to do with HIS good fortune. It is truly a case where in his worldview it is all about HIM and HIS grain. Don’t miss the point: It is HIS stuff.


What if instead we looked at everything we have been blessed with, our money and material possessions, as direct blessings from God? What if we seriously considered how we might use these blessings from God for his glory and for his kingdom? What if we committed to truly trusting God as our provider? Augustine said it like this: “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.” Well done, Kiley and Drew! Don’t forget to read chapter 2 of the book Rich Toward God this week prior to worship on Sunday! If you didn’t get a copy of the book, you can still get your free copy in the church office or at the welcome center.


One of the things about Second Church of Christ that I love is the number of ministry service opportunities in the life of our church. This month, we are excited about a new area of ministry impact we are currently reinventing: the SCC benevolence ministry. We are looking for women and men to join our benevolence ministry team and assist once or twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. If you are interested, please sign up on the bulletin Connect Form this Sunday. If you would like more information, please see Dale DeNeal, Kiley Garrison or myself.


Let me share several “quick hits” this week:


- Great job to everyone involved in the Hope Heals Expo Thursday night at the Second building featuring Kevin Hines! 540 were in attendance and it was truly a great team effort. Special kudos to Ashton Greer from OSF and Jim Russell from the 708 Board! And great job Phil Goija on the video! Well done!


- Kid’s World is open as of Sunday and so much work took place to make this happen! Thank you to everyone involved! I’m thankful for Kenna Osborne and her team of children’s ministry servants that never tire of telling the future generation of our church about Jesus on Sunday mornings, Tuesday mornings, Tuesday evenings and Wednesday evenings!


- Congratulations to Dr. Silas McCormick on his appointment as the 8th President of my alma mater, Lincoln Christian University beginning June 1, 2020. Current President Dr. Don Green has been a great blessing to LCU and I’m thankful for his almost six years of ministry as President at LCU and his lifetime of service at Lincoln!


- My final assignment with Little Galilee Christian Camp near Clinton, IL involves their Senior Saints day on Wednesday October 23. I am part of the planning team along with Hank Sanford from CU Church and Jeff Mayfield from Le Roy Christian Church. Our keynote speaker for the day is our own Drew Mentzer! YOU are invited to join us for this all day gathering that features great preaching, really good Gospel worship and a delicious lunch!


Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


Mentzer Farewell Open House – The leadership of 2CC will be hosting an open house celebration for the Mentzer family from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2. Please take advantage of this opportunity to thank Drew, Judy and Dee for 22 years of ministry at 2CC!


14th Annual Food Drive – Grab a box or two from The Commons, fill it with non-perishable food items, and return the box to Second over the next several weeks. We will be collecting food four consecutive Sunday mornings from October 20 through November 10. You may drop off your boxes at the container in the front parking lot on Sunday mornings between 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Celebrate Recovery – CR meets each Tuesday evening at 2CC from 5:30 p.m. until around 8:00 p.m. Join us as we look at how to overcome our hurts, hang-ups and habits. This is NOT just a Second Church gathering – all are welcome so please spread the word!


Oasis – Each Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m., dozens gather in Hallelujah Hall for a one-hour Bible Study, usually led by Drew Mentzer. This group is currently studying the book of 2 Timothy, and EVERYONE is welcome! Just show up on Tuesday’s at 10:00 a.m. We would love to see you at Oasis!


Junior High Fall Retreat at Hanging Rock Christian Camp – Jake Weece and his team are planning another great retreat weekend November 15-17. If you have Junior High students, take advantage of this great opportunity! Sign up your Junior Higher on the church app or on the church website under “Events.”


Service Time Change for Sunday, November 3 – The Mentzer family’s final Sunday at Second Church will be Sunday, November 3, and due to all that will be happening that morning, we are changing our services times for Sunday, November 3 ONLY. On November 3 only, Next Gen will join with Main Service in the Main Auditorium, and the service times will be 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Kid’s World, JHM, HSM and ABF will not meet on November 3. Only nursery and preschool will be available on November 3.


May God bless each of you! It is a great season for Second Church of Christ! Spread the word. Invite your friends. What a joy to be part of a church that is Full of Life and where there is always Room for You!


GT


OCTOBER 1, 2019

Today we begin the final quarter of 2019. We have just three months left before the New Year! Early on this Tuesday, I had the opportunity to walk through our building and reflect on all that God is doing through the ministries of our church – God is certainly good!


Here are a couple of things to celebrate and give God the glory for:


This Sunday morning Kid’s World will be meeting in their brand new Children’s Ministry building! There is still a lot to do over the next five days (right Kenna Osborne?), but it is exciting to see the new carpet and new paint and to begin to envision young girls and boys learning about Jesus! Shortly, dozens of preschool children will arrive for week 2 of Tiny Tots Tuesdays! So much good is happening through our Kid’s World ministry!


Not far from the new Children’s Ministry building is the new Student Ministry building, and we have much to celebrate in Student Ministry at 2CC! On Sunday, Jake Weece hosted a worship team from Lincoln Christian University for both the 9:20 a.m. small group meetings and the 10:45 a.m. JHM worship service. I personally love seeing Bible College students connecting with our students at Second, and I hope more and more Second students will end up as students at places like Lincoln Christian University and Johnson University and Ozark Christian College! One more thing: JHM students – don’t forget to sign up soon for the fall retreat in mid-November at nearby Hanging Rock camp!


Last Sunday evening, HSM had a record attendance for Sunday evening worship! Praise the Lord! I am thankful for Tyler Russell and his commitment to our High School students at Second and look forward to seeing God move in HSM. I asked Tyler why the numbers are so strong, and his answer was simple: more and more students are inviting their friends to attend HSM on Sunday night from 5-7 p.m.


I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the dozens of women and men who serve as ministry leaders in Kid’s World, JHM and HSM. We literally could not do what we are able to do without this army of servants who are pouring into the future generations! Thank you to each and every one of you!

Later on my morning walk, I found myself in the Next Gen auditorium, our most used space at Second. Tonight in the Next Gen auditorium, Celebrate Recovery will meet beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a time of worship led by Stephanie Spangler, and tonight a testimony will be shared and everyone will recite together important steps and my favorite part of the evening, the Serenity Prayer. If you have never been to CR, come on out tonight for the large group worship service, you will be blessed!


My last stop this morning was the Main Auditorium, where this Thursday evening, October 3, we are hosting the Hope Heals Expo featuring Kevin Hines from 6-8 p.m. Kevin is one of just 35 survivors of a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and is using his second chance at life to share a message of hope! Kevin will literally be all over our county on Thursday in local schools, and you will NOT want to miss Thursday evening at Second! Huge thanks go out to OSF and Step Up for making this event become a reality!

There is so much to be excited about at Second Church of Christ! God is so good; let’s make sure to give Him ALL the glory! Have a great week and we will see you Sunday at Second!


Here are six reminders of what is happening in the life of our church:


     • Rich Toward God – We begin a new sermon study in both Main Auditorium and Next Gen this week and we have a special gift for each family (or

       individual) at Second. Dr. Kregg Hood wrote a really good but short book entitled Rich Toward God where he looks at the parable of the Rich Fool in

       Luke 12:13-21 and helps us tackle important Christian life principles such as Trusting God, Giving Generously, Building God’s Kin