Monthly Archives: November 2009

Advent Focus

This is my first day back in the office after thoroughly enjoying a week of vacation. I basically just hung out around the house doing nothing – and enjoying time with my family. It was awesome!

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As I now hit the ground running into the busy Christmas season I am resolute. I refuse to lose focus. I am committed to giving Christ his rightful place in my heart and mind; to meditate on the gift of Christ and the incredible faithfulness of our Heavenly Father in sending us the Messiah.

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To help me achieve this mindset I am contemplating and praying through the traditional lectionary readings for the 2009 Advent season. The Scripture I will be reading this week include:

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•?Jeremiah 33:14-16
?•?Psalm 25:1-10
?•?I Thessalonians 3:9-13
?•?Luke 21:25-36

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I’d invite you to join me. To add to the experience I’ll be reading from a different version of the bible than what I usually do – switching from the NIV to the New Living Translation. Each Monday I will post the readings for that week.

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I pray that each of us has a truly meaningful Christmas – that Christ would come anew in us as we reflect upon the greatest gift ever!

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Peace,
?Dave

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It?s Christmas Time!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying the rest of the holiday weekend. I know for some, the day after Thanksgiving is all about Black Friday…I?ve never really gotten into that. Not that it?s a bad thing, I just never have Christmas gift ideas ready in time, so no sense in going shopping. For me, today is all about Christmas music. I LOVE Christmas music. I?ve been holding off…I know some have been listening to it for weeks already. Not me, I wait until today, but you can bet I?ll be listening to Christmas music pretty much nonstop from here until Christmas. Here?s a video of the first song I listened to this morning. One of my favorites. Enjoy

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Grace,
?Chris

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“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.” Philemon 1:4-5

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Yesterday we were encouraged to be people who provoke thankfulness in others. I was talking to someone after the service yesterday who said that the word “provoke” has always had a negative connotation to him – for example, provoking someone to anger or to disobedience. Dave shared that the definition of provoke is “to arouse to a feeling or action.” As Christ-followers, we have an opportunity to cause those around us to be thankful, through the way we live out our faith and the way we love others.

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What are you doing to provoke thankfulness in others? As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week with family and friends, let?s not only remember to give thanks, but let?s be intentional about being a catalyst for thankfulness in others.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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~Scott

Thanksgiving Traditions

I know Thanksgiving is “late” this year, but I don?t feel ready for it. The first part of November has flown by for me. Ready or not, its just around the corner.

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I?m curious. What kind of Thanksgiving traditions do you have? Besides the obvious, get together with family, eat turkey, and watch football, do you do anything special? I?d love to hear from you (i.e. leave a comment telling about one of your family traditions). One of our family traditions is to gather everyone around the table before the meal, and take turns saying things we are thankful for. A simple tradition, but one that helps set the day apart and remind us of all we have to be thankful for.

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Here?s a cute video I found. Hope you enjoy it.

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Grace,
?Chris

Why Get Hyped for 2010???

I am so very excited! Why? Well, I’m glad you asked!

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In 2010 ACC will be sending teams out on two different exciting mission trips:

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HONDURAS
?From April 24 – May 1 our team will be doing medical work with World Gospel Outreach (www.wgoreach.org) out of the capital city of Tegucigalpa. We will be assisting various doctors, dentists and nurses (both American and Honduran) in serving the poor. Neither medical training nor the ability to speak Spanish is necessary. We will be sharing the good news of Christ with the patients, interacting with their children and visiting an orphanage. In preparation for our trip we will be collecting a wide variety of medical supplies to bring with us. Total cost for this trip will be $1,300. We will be joining with the people of Glenview Evangelical Free Church on this adventure! An important informational meeting for those interested in this trip is scheduled for this Sunday, November22 at 4PM in the Pit.

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NEW ORLEANS
?Though Hurricane Katrina was almost 4 years ago there is still an incredible amount of work to be done. The devastation experienced by the people of New Orleans has brought tremendous opportunities for the church to step in and make a difference. We will be partnering with EFCA Touch Global Crisis Response. (www.efca.org/katrina) Jim and Su Ray will be leading this team as they work to rebuild homes and build relational bridges with those in the neighborhood – culminating with a free BBQ dinner! No particular work skills are necessary – you will be given on the job training (but those of you who are handy will be like rock stars on this trip!). Tentative dates for this trip are July 17-25. Total cost will be about $350-400.

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I am pumped about these opportunities. Each trip requires you to miss only one week of work. Will you consider investing a week of your time to humbly serve Christ and others?

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Peace,
?Dave

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Dealing with Temptation

I spent some time reading Luke 4 this morning. As I read through the first 13 verses (the account of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness) a couple things stuck out to me.

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1.) The connection between Jesus? temptation and the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Jesus is referred to throughout the New Testament as “the second Adam”. Lots of great stuff there. Interesting study idea…read Genesis 3 and Luke 4 and compare and contrast.

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2.) The phrase at the end of verse 13 stuck with me. “…he (satan) left him until an opportune time.” Now, not all sin is a product of the devil tempting us, we do a pretty good job messing up all on our own. But it is so important for us to understand that the Devil seeks “opportune times” to tempt us. He definitely did it with Jesus. Jesus had just finished a 40 day fast, and Satan tells him to turn rocks into bread. Pretty sure I would have taken him up on that one after 40 days of not eating! But Jesus doesn?t! He stands strong. And we can too. The words of 1 Corinthians 10:31 remind us of that…

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No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

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Grace,
?Chris

Hunting Buddies

Bill is my friend and my hunting connection. Without him I’d never go hunting. He knows the places to hunt, he know all the laws and regulations. He has all the gear – guns, ammo, clothing and a plethora of various hunting accessories and gadgets. He has the coolest hunting dog – a well trained, beautiful golden retriever named Chase. Bill has taken me and my son Micah hunting for over 14 years. This past Wednesday we went pheasant hunting. It was so much fun and brought back so many good memories of previous outings: meeting early for breakfast, tromping up and down fields with grass up to our chins, going through the woods and seeing a huge owl, the screech of a hawk, the cry of sand hill cranes noisily flying overhead, the smell of damp autumn leaves, the thrill of watching the dog work back and forth in search of a game bird.

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It was a most excellent morning. And my heart was grateful – overflowing with thankfulness to God. For the incredible beauty of his created world, for a healthy body that allowed me to walk for hours and for long term, loyal, generous friends like Bill. God is good. I know that.

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Peace,
?Dave

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A Lasting Legacy

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Next week is the start of the 40th season of Sesame Street. I know what you are thinking…why on earth is Chris blogging about Sesame Street? There is a reason, I promise. I have very fond memories of Sesame Street from my childhood. I can remember waking up so excited to watch Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, the Count, Grover, Bert and Ernie, Guy Smiley, Luis and Maria and so many more. Now that I?m a Dad, I?ve started watching again…err, I mean, Rachel is watching it…it?s definitely for Rachel, not for me and Lisa. ;) She dances when she hears the theme music and actually sits still for a bit – which is no small feat for her! I love seeing her face light up when she sees Big Bird or Elmo. (Just to be clear, I?m talking about Rachel, not Lisa LOL). I love that we as a family can have those shared memories. Things from my childhood that Rachel is able to enjoy as well. Here comes my point. Sesame Street spans multiple generations, and I pray that is true about my faith as well. I pray that as a Dad, I am able to live out my faith in a way that creates a lasting Christian legacy for my family…not one that is just observed, but one that is entered into. I pray that when Rachel is my age and starting her own family that she will have these same thoughts. And I pray that I will be there to see the fruit of God?s work in all our lives.

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Grace,
?Chris

Hai Karate let down.

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After seeing this commercial I knew what to get my dad for Christmas! As he opened his gift I urged him to splash some on his face – then I expectantly watched my mom to see her reaction. But she just sat there. She did not attack my dad. Not a single karate chop was needed. I was very disappointed to say the least. Perhaps this was my first lesson in life regarding unrealistic expectations!

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Though he never engaged in any false advertising, Jesus often had to deal with the unrealistic expectations that his prospective followers placed on him. It is easily seen as you read John 6. The feeding of the 5,000 was wildly popular. Free food always has been a way to please people! The crowd was pumped about having Free Food Jesus as their king. Jesus resisted their attempts to make him king – Jesus knew that they didn?t understand who he really was or why he was there. At the end of this long day he sends his 12 disciples into the teeth of a wicked storm – all by themselves. 12 men came real close to drowning on the Sea of Galilee that night. But Jesus brought them safely tho the other shore. Those 12 guys needed to realize that Free Food Jesus was Scary Storm Jesus too.

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There in Capernaum his popularity quickly tanked as he spoke some really hard and controversial words (commonly called the Bread of Life Discourse). Jesus claimed to be the bread that came down from heaven. He said that they needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood – a Jewish idiom for accepting him completely for who he really was. (Later rabbinic writings refer to “eating the Messiah”.) John records that at this point many of Jesus? followers left him. Free Food Jesus was cool but their interest and devotion ended there. Scary Storm Jesus, Eat my flesh – Drink my blood Jesus wasn?t so fun. Their expoectations were no longer being met – so they bolted.

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I think people still have unrealistic expectations of Jesus in our day too. Counting on him for things he never promised – projecting their self-centered agenda on him. A few unrealistic expectations I notice that many have:

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** Kids raised in good Christian homes will always turn out good.

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** People of faith shouldn?t get sick.

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** People of faith shouldn?t have financial difficulties.

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** Your moral choices aren?t very important because Jesus will always forgive you anyway.

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** Jesus owes it to us – to be happy and safe always.

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What unrealistic expectations of Jesus have you had or noticed in others??

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Peace,
?Dave