Monthly Archives: April 2009

Benedictions

For the last few days I had the privilege of attending the Gospel Coalition Conference at the Rosemont Convention Center. The Gospel Coalition is a group of pastors and church leaders that hold to the conviction that the gospel of Jesus Christ must stay at the center of life and ministry, and at this conference I had the opportunity to hear messages from many widely-respected pastors. It has been a refreshing week, and my heart and mind are full!

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Something that Ligon Duncan said in his message on 2 Timothy 4:6-22 really made me think. He said, “People often treat benedictions like the emergency instructions you hear on an airplane. They zone out and think they don’t need to listen because they’ve heard them a million times. But I guarantee you, those passengers on Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River were wishing they would’ve listened a little better to those instructions!”

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The word benediction comes from the Latin word meaning “to bless.” Benedictions in scripture, such as the one in 2 Timothy 4:22, “The Lord be with your spirit – grace be with you” are not just a formal part of the letter that the author was required to throw in. It’s the same with our benedictions at the close of our services here at ACC. They are not just a nice way to end the service. They are meant to send people out with hope by speaking about the truth of who God is. They are designed to equip us for the battles we will face in the week ahead, until we can gather again as a church.

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So how do you treat benedictions? Do you zone out and start thinking about what’s for lunch? Or do you soak in every word and think about it so you can bring it to memory again later in the week when you are exhausted and need a spiritual “pick me up”?
?Scott

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Creed – not Apollo

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Last Sunday Scott and the ACC worship team did a great job with this awesome Rich Mullins tune. Enjoy the original music video by him! (I think we need to find someone who plays the hammer dulcimer!)
?And remember – it?s the Apostle?s Creed, NOT Apollo Creed!
?Peace,
?Dave

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Close Call

Thursday, I experienced fear unlike I’ve ever felt before. I’ll get to that in a second, but let me first brag on the Middle School Ministry Team for a minute.

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Before Pit Stop, the team met for prayer. Pavan organized the first of hopefully many prayer meetings. We met at 6pm and planned to pray until students began arriving around 6:45pm. Although not a required meeting, the entire team showed up – a huge testament to their commitment to the ministry and their desire to see our students grow in their faith. About 6:30pm, I got an emergency phone call and had to leave (Pit Stop starts at 7pm). The team took charge; getting things started for the night, welcoming students, and leading the game. They did an outstanding job! Steve, Chris, Pavan, Kristen, and Jana, you guys are awesome!

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So, the emergency is where the fear comes in. Lisa called frantic. Rachel had stopped breathing for a second and then began breathing sporadically (almost gasping for air). She’s never done anything like that before. Lisa called me, then 911. While on the phone with 911, Rachel began breathing regularly and actually started smiling at Lisa! They had already dispatched EMS, so they came and checked her out to make sure everything was ok. I got home just as EMS was leaving. Apart from two emotionally exhausted parents, everything was fine. We prayed together as a family before I headed back to the church, and Lisa and I were reminded to trust God. We may be the ones holding Rachel in our arms, but God is the author and sustainer of life who holds all of us in His arms. Matthew 6:25-34 has something to teach us in that regard. A verse I memorized long ago has been on my mind since this incident. Philippians 4:6-7 “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.”

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Grace,

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Chris

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Chris & Rachel

The Creed

As a kid I was in church every Sunday. And every Sunday we stood and together as a congregation recited the Apostle’s Creed. I suppose I had it memorized by the time I was 7 or 8 (we didn’t have any children’s programming during the church service – us rug rats were in with the adults every week!). As I grew older I began to actually understand more of what we were reciting but most Sundays it was just a mindless/ thoughtless chant. It was pretty boring – pretty meaningless.
?So why in the world would we at ACC begin this Sunday, April 19 on an 11 week teaching series on the Apostle’s Creed? Great question! Let me share a few reasons why we are embarking on this series and why I am excited about it:

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1.?It is a great summary of Christian belief. In an elders meeting a few months back we were brainstorming Sunday teaching topics for 2009. We recognized the need to teach on the basics of Christian belief – a sort of Christianity 101. But what would be part of the syllabus? Boom! That’s the beauty of the Apostle’s Creed – it serves as a summary, a PowerPoint presentation, biblical beliefs in a summary form. Each week we’ll look directly into our bibles to see the basis for this creed.
?2.?It connects us to our roots. Written sometime in the mid – 2nd century, this creed stands as a testimony to historic, orthodox Christianity. It has been recited for almost 2,000 years by believers all over the world. We are part of a faith family much larger than ourselves!
?3.?It reminds us of what is important. Faith involves content – substance – the church is not a doctrinal “free for all” but a community of faith that is united by what the bible teaches. The creed is about the major things – not minor things. The creed is distinctly Trinitarian, distinctly Christian.
?4.?It leads us to right living. Conduct springs out of belief. Theology in that sense is always very practical – what we believe will determine how we live. Wrong thoughts about God inevitably lead to wrong lifestyle choices. In an increasingly relativistic, morally compromised culture we need to think Christianly in order to live Christianly.

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As an adult I now truly understand and appreciate the truth espoused in the Apostle’s creed. I hope you’ll be joining us as we together rediscover the basic tenets of historic Christianity!

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Peace,
?Dave

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I?m Just A Beggar

Dare2Share

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I’ve had something on my mind lately. Last weekend, we took a group of students to the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for the Dare 2 Share Conference. You can find out more about the ministry of Dare 2 Share here. They’ve got lots of great, and free, resources about sharing your faith. The thing that’s been on my mind is how much of a wimp I am when it comes to sharing my faith. To be completely honest, this is an area of my spiritual life that needs some serious development. I’ve realized this week that evangelism is something that I have (subconsciously) always put in a different category. I’ve believed (again, subconsciously) that I can be “spiritually mature” in other areas and it will make up for my lack of evangelism. I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have allowed this kind of thinking. He tells his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). He doesn’t suggest it, He commands it. Jesus also tells his disciples, “if you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). This is the realization that I’ve come to this week: my lack of evangelism is plain and simple disobedience. God has commanded it and I’m not doing it. Time to make a change!

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I love the way Greg Stier described evangelism, “It’s just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” I know he’s not the first to say it, but it was profound for me. If I was a hungry beggar who found a source of bread, I wouldn’t keep it a secret. Out of love and compassion, I would tell others. How much more should I be doing that with the Gospel?! The Gospel is the “power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

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So, I’m committing to grow in this area. Here’s the way they taught us to share the Gospel. I wonder if you know someone you can share it with.

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God created us to be with him
?Our sin separates us from God
?Sins cannot be removed by good deeds
?Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again
?Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life
?Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever

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Grace,
?Chris

Seder Dinner Thoughts…

What a fantastic Sunday night it was in our gym! Over 160 people gathered for our Seder dinner. The rich symbolism of the Jewish customs in their celebration of Passover and the rich depth of meaning it gives to Christianity, and specifically communion, was very interesting and inspiring. Justin Kron, from Chosen People Ministries was our presenter – he was very engaging and insightful. One of his most important assertions was that the most Jewish thing a Jew can do is to believe on Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

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The multi-course meal was delicious; a big thanks to the staff and elders for functioning as servers! Even bigger thanks have got to go to Mark and Cathy Elfstrand – they volunteered to do all the cooking – they basically lived at the church for a few days! Great job Elfstrands – you two rock! Hats off as well to their hard working kitchen crew: Amy Ballee, Judy Kristan, Theresa Forgue and Mason Forgue. Many other volunteers helped with everything for set-up to tear-down. Carol Rech coordinated the table set up and dining details, Chris and Kristen Ide managed all the ticket sales, and Scott Williams helped pull it all together.

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It was just great to be together to focus on the rich heritage of our faith and the great love of our Messiah – Savior Jesus Christ as he was our sacrificial lamb. I hope in this Holy Week you are able to center your thoughts and prayers on our crucified and risen Lord! I hope to see you Friday at 7PM as we view The Passion of the Christ and then for our celebration services on Easter Sunday.

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Peace,
?Dave

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