Monthly Archives: August 2009

Thoughts at a Panera

Old personal friends graciously allowed us the use of their condo in Delavan, Wisconsin so Scott, Jim, Chris and I are on a 48 hour get-away. This is a strategic time to pray, read, rest, and have fun on the cusp of the new ministry year.

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A few thoughts dominate me right now:

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•?It is such a privilege for me to serve as a pastor at ACC. I love our church. Though far from perfect – our church is filled with grace and compassion and wonder. Our people are unpretentious and developing a greater heart for God and his will.

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•?I love doing life and ministry with our staff. These guys are the real deal and they have an unmatched work ethic and integrity. I also think it’s cute the way they always try to beat me at disc golf! Old and wily beats young and energetic every time!

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•?Sometimes (maybe “often” is more accurate) I am overwhelmed with the task set before us. I feel my own flaws and inadequacies as a leader and wish I were better.

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•?I want what God wants for ACC. I want Him to lead us into our exciting future.
?Please pray for us this week.

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Thanks,
?Dave

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Event or a Process?

As a staff, we just finished reading The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George C Hunter III. Here?s a couple quotes that stuck out to me:

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“For most people, ?belonging comes before believing.?”
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?Recent studies indicate “that most people experience the faith [Christianity] through relationships, that they encounter the gospel through a community of faith, [and] that becoming a Christian involves a process that takes time.”

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I really resonate with these thoughts. I?ve experienced them to be true in my own spiritual journey and in what I?ve seen of others. More and more it seems like the more effective way of introducing people to Christ is to introduce them into a loving Christian community where they can learn alongside others and ask questions as they arise. This makes me hopeful for my own evangelistic efforts. I?m not a presentation, decision, prayer kind of evangelist. But inviting people into community, helping them find a place to belong, and helping them learn more about God…I?m all about that!

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Grace,
?Chris

Burning Bears Tickets

It was a classic prank.

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At Sportsapalooza, ACC’s annual men’s cook-out and sports night, last Thursday night we were all highly anticipating the evening’s biggest raffle prize – two tickets to see the Chicago Bears play the Philadelphia Eagles on a Sunday in November. I was literally praying that I would win; I think a lot of guys were praying that prayer! Adrin drew a ticket stub – called out the winning number – and Ray Demich stepped forward as the lucky winner. Ray – the rabid Green Bay Packers fan. Ray – the Chicago Bears hater. It was a travesty of justice!!

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Ray came forward to claim his prize. Then, in front of many jealous, envious eyes – he threw them into the bonfire. The silence and shock was so thick that you could have cut it with a knife. Then the murmuring began… “What was he thinking?” and “How could he do that?” and even a “Has he lost his mind?”

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Let me be honest though. I didn’t believe it – even for a second. Even though I watched him do it just a few feet right in front of me. It had to be staged – a hoax. Why did I think that? Because I know Ray. Yes, he hates the Bears. Yes, he loves his Packers. But Ray is not stupid. Ray is not crazy. He would give them away to a friend (Me?) or at least sell them and take the cash to buy a new Packers jersey. But throw those tickets in the fire – never. I was sure of it.

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Sure enough. A few minutes later my faith was rewarded as Adrin revealed that it was a joke! (The real winner ended up being Chris Piagari.) Even though I wasn’t sure what was going on – I knew Ray would never do that – because I know Ray.

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I was thinking (I really was!) – that is why it is so important to know God – to know Him personally. So that when circumstances in our life don’t make sense and life seems cruel and unfair – we can still believe that God is good and just and still in control. If we don’t really know God it will be easy to jump to the conclusions that he is mean or capricious or recklessly random. Knowing Him will make all the difference in how we interpret our circumstances.

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Ray burning the tickets? No way.

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God being unkind. God being uncaring. No way.

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Peace,
?Dave

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Youth Ministry Team Retreat

A while ago, I got some great advice from someone much older and wiser than me – Pastor Dave ;). He encouraged me to do a Youth Ministry Team Retreat before the Fall schedule starts. It didn?t work out to do one last year, but we?re doing it this year. We leave tonight (Friday) for a 24 hour retreat. Our goal? To do some team-building, to pray with and for each other, to do a little bit of planning for the coming ministry year, and to have fun. I?ve been looking forward to this weekend all summer. We?ve got a great ministry team again this year and I?m eager to jump back into regularly scheduled youth group. I?d really appreciate your prayers for our time this weekend and for the start of the new ministry year.

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Grace,
?Chris

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The Sounds of Silence

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
? and discerning if he holds his tongue.” Proverbs 17:28

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Abraham Lincoln borrowed the thought and was quoted as saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

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Don?t speak unless you can improve on the silence. ~Spanish Proverb

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Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. ~Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain

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The thought for today? Perhaps the reason God gave us two ears and one mouth is because we should listen twice as much as we talk.

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You think?

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Peace,
?Dave

Generosity

I?ve been thinking quite a bit recently about how generous the people of ACC are. I really believe that we have some people in our church that excel at giving. A few things that come to mind

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-Lisa and I have been so blessed by the countless gifts we?ve received for Rachel.

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-A family in our church recently had their second child and a number of women volunteered to bring them meals. They didn?t do the bare minimum either…these women went all out!

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-Several families loaned their personal vehicles to the High School Mission Team to help keep the trip affordable. We even had a family drive 9 hours (1 way) to bring out some students who needed to stay back for the end of Day Camp.

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-Just this past week a family invited my men?s soul purpose group up to their lake house for a cookout and some boating (for the 2nd time this summer!)

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-A family offered to let the youth ministry leadership team use their vacation home for our 1st Annual Ministry Team Retreat.

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I?m sure there are so many more examples that I could have listed. A huge thank you to the generous people of ACC. Your generosity is an encouragement and a challenge to me.

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Grace,
?Chris

No, Mr. President

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The fact that abortion is legal in our country makes me mad. The fact that it is held up as a woman?s right is ridiculous.

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Join me in praying for our President to change his position. He is wrong on this – dead wrong.

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Peace,
?Dave

How (and what) Do You Read?

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Summer is always a great time to read some great books. Hopefully many of you have had a chance to read some books this summer that have entertained, challenged, educated, and inspired you. Lately I have been reading books about the letters Paul wrote in the New Testament for a class I was in at Trinity, and it has forced me to think about HOW I read. In fact, just this morning Michelle and myself had an interesting conversation in the office about how we read. I underline, and she likes highlighting. We both like writing notes in the margins to help remember what we read.

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So it got me thinking … what are some of the characteristics of how YOU read? Do you write down quotes in the back of the book? Do you have an elaborate note-taking system? Maybe you stop and pause after each section or chapter to process? Or maybe you just have a photographic memory and remember everything you read? Whatever you do or don?t do, feel free to leave a comment about your reading style.

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It would also be interesting to know what books people in our church have been reading this summer. Besides my class reading, one book I have really enjoyed is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This book has been challenging and convicting me bigtime about how I live out my faith.

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So what books have you read this summer? Leave a comment and let us know!

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~Scott

Grooves = Rumble Strips!

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Are you accepting the challenge to read through the book of Proverbs with us this month??

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Today was chapter 3. An old friend of mine is within the text:

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5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
? and lean not on your own understanding;

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6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
? and he will make your paths straight.

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When I was a freshmen in high school a friend of mine wrote me a note of encouragement. At the bottom of the page she wrote the reference “Proverbs 3:5-6″. I immediately grabbed my bible and looked it up. The words sprang to life and enveloped my heart and my mind. I was motivated to memorize it. It has been with me ever since – an old friend.

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How thankful I am for that friend who made the effort to share Scripture with me. She has no idea the impact her little gesture of kindness has made in my life. (Thanks Cindy Smith!) I have recalled those verses repeatedly for guidance and assurance as I walk with Christ.

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As you read in Proverbs in the coming weeks – why not pick out a favorite verse and then share with a friend via email, twitter, facebook or a postcard? You might just end up introducing them to the friend of a lifetime!

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Peace,
?Dave

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P.S. Pretty cool rumble strips by Honda, huh?